Growing up, dinner gatherings and holidays were a mixture of positive interactions with tense emotional flare-ups. I longed for holiday gatherings that were warm with meaningful learning experiences. As I grew older, I learned that meaningful dinner experiences required just as much, or more, preparation as food and table arrangements.
I grew up in a very close, loving family with two older sisters and two younger brothers. Holiday preparation was a time of bonding and laughter. My mom, my sisters, and I would stay up late to cook, bake, and make a variety of salads while sharing stories, chatting, and laughing about silly things. The preparation was the best part of the holiday!
We always had friends, neighbors, and even strangers join us for our holiday gatherings. It was enjoyably chaotic with abundance of food. We gobbled our food quickly until we were stuffed, served deserts and tea. Often, within an hour it was clean up time. Cleaning and putting the house back in order took longer than the celebration.
I felt disappointed: hours of preparation and cleaning with limited meaningful interaction. I dreamed of gatherings like those I’d seen in American movies where families and friends engage in deep discussions, share ideas and learn from each other.
Make Your Thanksgiving Meaningful
In 1986, my parents moved from Israel to Brooklyn, New York. I was fortunate enough to experience a variety of social and holiday gatherings. After an abundance of dinner gatherings, I realized that the “movie” I had played in my head, was mostly disconnected from the reality. Many dinner gatherings, regardless of whether they were formal or casual, lacked warmth and meaning.
Years later, I got married to a wonderful and caring man. We both share a desire for similar experiences. We have a beautiful 14-year old girl, Sabrina, who inspires us to create memorable experiences. We composed our first family book in 2003 for Rosh Hashanah. We created another one for Passover. After that, we did one for Thanksgiving. We used these books during our holiday gatherings to engage everyone in personal and thought provoking mealtime conversation. We are now publishing a collection of books called “Make Your [Encounter, Holiday] Meaningful!”
Enrich everyone’s experience with “Make Your Thanksgiving Meaningful!”
Engage, Appreciate, Reciprocate