Sunday Dinner: A Tradition Worth Bringing Back

Sunday Dinner: A Tradition Worth Bringing Back

The Sunday dinner used to be ubiquitous in our culture. Even families who weren’t religious would come together once a week to sit down to a big meal and just…be together.  Sometimes extended family members or family friends would join in the fun. No matter what though, parents and kids sat down for one big family meal every week.

We’ve gotten away from that in our increasingly disconnected digital world. With everybody in the family coming and going at different times and engaging in different activities, having a meal with more than one family member at a time is seen as something of a feat.

No more! Bring back the Sunday dinner! Here’s how to do it:

Family Eating Meal Together In Kitchen1. Address Your Dining Area

Has your dining room table become a place for mail, laundry and various summer or school year detritus? Have the dining chairs all been re-appropriated to other areas of the house? Put this space back together. Start by having the family look at dining room sets together and pick out one that everybody loves. It doesn’t have to be overly formal, but it does have to be something everybody feels comfortable sitting at. Make it a house rule that the dining room stays the dining room.

2. The Food

Coming up with food that makes everybody happy can be a challenge. We’ve all become such picky eaters! Address nutrition first and palates second. To cut down on work, come up with one big family dish, like our Mexican Chili Pasta, and then supplement it with several sides that people can choose according to personal taste.

3. Preparing the Meal Itself

Make the meal an event! Have a full dinner and then desert all together at the table. Make it a rule to put away all gaming devices, smart phones, tablets, eReaders, etc. This is a time for conversation and togetherness. A good tradition to start at these meals is High-Low (which, yes, we got from a movie). Have each person talk about the best part and the worst part of their week. The conversation that springs up from these instances can carry you through the whole meal. For extra fun, why not let each person choose a quick game to play after the meal is over. There are lots of great games that are fun for all ages to play (Quirkle, Dixit, Uno, Yahtzee, Apples to Apples, etc).

4. Schedule It

The hardest part of getting the family together for a big family meal is finding a time in the schedule that works with everybody’s social lives and extracurricular activities. No more! Make your weekly family meal a priority. Put it on the schedule and make it a family rule that social time and extracurricular time need to be scheduled around it. It will take some getting used to but within a few months it will feel like second nature.

Your Sunday dinner doesn’t have to happen on Sunday. If Tuesdays work better for you, that’s fine. What’s important is that the family sits down and spend time together over good food and good conversation.




  1. Julie Wood says

    I find that having a special Sunday dinner and getting together once a month with extended family is such a great thing to do because eating together brings the family closer. Also, I get to catch up with everyone and see how they are all doing. With my family that is living with me, we have Sunday dinner every week.

  2. Lyn says

    Having just one child made it easy for us to always have dinner together. Sundays were always special to my family growing up too and I guess I continued that tradition by often inviting family and/or friends to join us that day. The menu always seems to drift to what I consider comfort foods (recipes passed down from family members).

  3. Sandy VanHoey says

    These are such great ideas and I sure remember the days Heather. It was actually something I now miss and we’d have a very large dinner on Sundays as a family. You hit the nail on the head writing this because that is exactly how it has become here and I have talked about that with my daughter. We really need to make it happen at least once a week if not more than that. We actually had a nice dinner together every night at the dinner table when I grew up. Time goes by too quickly and knowing most of my family passed at such early ages makes me realize just how important those days were. Thank you for posting this.

  4. Bekah Kuczenski says

    These are great tips! Right now my family is at a point where we eat almost every dinner together as we find that time together so important! But I’m sure as our kids get older and busier it wont be so easy. And we will have to make a point to have Sunday dinners together!!

  5. I miss Sunday dinners. We moved across the country recently so getting together every Sunday with my mom and brother is impossible now. But hopefully we’ll make friends soon and we can have big Sunday dinners again.

  6. rosie m says

    We try at least once a week to have family dinner my hubby works night shift so he never eats with us only on his days off but my daughter and I eat together. I think its very important to have a meal together just helps us to communicate with one another as a family.

  7. Skye Moyer says

    We have gotten away from this too. We need to bring it back. Thanks for the tips!

  8. Growing up we ate dinner every night at home, but no matter what we made sure to be home for Sunday dinner. My husband works odd hours which makes this impossible so we try our best, we do go to church every Sunday though… and if he is off, we either go out to eat or to a friend’s.

  9. Richard Hicks says

    Very good post and wish more families would do this. When I was growing up we always had dinner together every day of the week

  10. Elisabeth says

    I love this idea! I think kids might think a family meal is cheesy but in the end they’ll love it! 🙂

  11. Danielle says

    Sunday dinner at grandmas is something we looked forward to every week and something we still do as often as possible.

  12. Rosie says

    This is a wonderful idea, for our family growing up, it was Saturday night! It is a great way to try new recipes, invite neighbors, kids’ friends, a lonely single or elderly person. and everyone have a good time helping out!

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