Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The American Family

I come from a very tight knit family. When we get together, we ARE together. Dinners' are eaten around a large table where we ALL sit, share stories, play games, the kids are as much a part of this as the drunk adults are.

The key moment at Christmas is when we have our goofy gift exchange (you know that game where everybody buys a cheap present then we take turns stealing and swapping them around?) This is THE prime moment of the night every year. It lasts over an hour. The kids have more fun bartering their cheap ass gifts than opening their own expensive ones. Oh and the laughter! There is always that one gift, THE one everybody wants like a used pair of puppy slippers with the big goofy ears... Of course I always hope MY gift will be that one...

Later we may play charades, Cranium or just fall back to jokes, old family albums and good old stories of how I was always crying as a kid... Haaa, fond childhood memories.  Of course by then we've progressed from the cosmo, to the vino, to the Bailey's or Kahlua... We're slurring and my mom is snoozing on the couch. And my nieces (they're in their 20s) are trying to convince me to hit the town with them and keep on partying with their friends.

Every time I am invited to dinner with an American family of friends I am shocked at the differences. There is no unity in the families I visit. The TV is always blaring during mealtimes (a huge NO-NO in my family) and nobody is really talking together other than commenting on whatever show is on. Is this the typical American family? Or is my family the odd one?

My only conclusion is that a family that drinks together, stays together.


  1. Nope you're not weird. There is absolutely no TV during dinner, especially Christmas Eve. My mom had a guest come by a few Christmas's ago who turned the TV on insisting "we should be watching Christmas movies." My mother took the remote from her and then threw it at her and yelled, "NO! We don't do that in this house. We listen to Christmas music and talk, if you don't like it, GET OUT!" (My mother is a teeny bit Italian and very protective over meal time).

    I think it's fabulous.

  2. Lol.. I'd say yes and no. We have a family dinner every other Tuesday (or just Tuesdays when Bean is off) and actually sit at the table and talk. The rest of the time is watching tv while eating.
    But - once a month (and holidays) we have dinner with the extended family and then there's also no tv and everyone either eating at the table or eating in the living room while chatting.

  3. Ive always liked the idea of the family dinner. Though here it usually turns into an Addams Familyish dinner. Its not you definitely... its us.

  4. Yes, definitely. Americans have lost the concept of family. We don't even drink together.
    A toast to all non-American families!

  5. Hmmm, I consider my family very tight knit, but we don't have family dinners and never really have. When I was a kid though we always had Sunday dinner at my Grandma's. The women ate in the dining room, which at full capacity seated 8, the kids ate in one of the bedrooms, and the men ate in the living room while watching whatever sporting event was on. The TV was always just background though while everyone talked about whatever. It wasn't until I was much older that I realized not everyone's family was as close as mine. Even if the TV was on during family dinners :)


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