Food just seems to taste better when eaten in a social atmosphere of love and unity. Sometimes the term, 'the good ol' days' holds true, and this is one of those times. There was a time when a Sunday without a family dinner wouldn't feel like a Sunday at all. Families would only skip such events under special or dire circumstances. People would drive for miles across cities just to be with their extended family members and relish a good meal together.

In those hours of love and laughter, all that mattered was one another. Details of everyone's past week would be shared, achievements and disappointments alike. There could be a different location each week or just the one, and everyone would contribute to the food and drinks.

The Sunday dinner table is a place where family bonds are strengthened. The feeling of oneness and a sense of identity is imbibed into the younger generation when everyone regularly comes together. They learn that they can identify with these people at any point in their lives. They learn values and norms, listen to experiences and build their character from the informal interactions at the dinner table.

Today's family dinners

Nowadays, family dinners are mostly organized on special holidays or birthdays (if at all). Everyone is either too busy or too exhausted to get ready and hit the road on a Sunday to meet up with family. I used to be one of those people, lazing around, padding about in my socks, reading Jessica Clare books, and drinking bland coffee. My mother recently had enough of it and brought everyone back to their senses. Life's shorter than we imagine it to be, and we have to make the most of it while we're still together. Long story short, nearly every member of our family in our area has begun to make it a priority to be present at grandma's house on Sundays.

We don't have them every week, but at least twice in a month, we get together to bask in the radiant love of family and enjoy some crazy good food too!

Family dinners are worth it

A recent study carried out by researchers at the University of Texas reports that social interaction improves the mental activity of adults and prolongs lifespan. If that's the case, who better to interact with than your own family?

Many people aren't big on family dinners because they assume it must be planned with so much pomp, flair and style every week. Of course, this does not have to be the case. It shouldn't require so much effort to put together a table if everyone contributes their own quota every week, no matter how little.

Also, be flexible with the day you have dinner. Sunday may be tradition but it doesn't have to be. As long as the family falls into an exciting pattern, it shouldn't matter what day it falls on. It also doesn't have to be held every week, but try for what works, and do it as frequently as everyone feels comfortable.

Here a few tips for having a successful Sunday dinner:

1. Plan ahead

Let everyone know early enough that there's going to be a dinner that week. Discuss details of the location and everyone should know what they can bring along. These requirements should be assigned by everyone's current financial capabilities.

2. Focus on the people, not food

The menu doesn't have to be a smorgasbord of royalty-worthy dishes. Focus on inviting more people over than on the food to be served. With time, everyone would understand the real essence of the get-together.

Also, family doesn't have to be limited to people who are related by blood or adoption. Your friends, neighbors, co-workers, romantic partners and acquaintances can also be family. Sure family is blood, but it's also a mindset above all else.

3. Pay attention to the timing

Choose a time of the day that suits most of the people that would be attending. It doesn't matter if the dinner holds outside or indoors. Whatever the weather permits is fine, as long as everyone sits together happily.

4. Get rid of electronic devices

Tell everyone beforehand to do away with their electronic gadgets and any other sources of distractions. The television should be put off and no phones are allowed at the table, except for taking pictures. Everyone must focus on one another.

The Sunday family dinner is a lot more than tasty food, it's an enjoyable time to bring everyone together. This is definitely 'a good ol' day' activity we all should want back.

This article was originally published on The Hearty Soul and it has been republished with permission from the author.