Eating separately at Christmas – strange?

We have an extended family get together each year, like many people of course.

Bowls of food on an outdoor Christmas table

A shared Christmas feast

It’s been going for about 45 years and has moved between different people’s houses with everyone bringing parts of the meal we share. This year (for transportation issues which are perfectly acceptable) we’re having a picnic in a park instead.

Now, someone has suggested that each family group takes their own food for the event – that is, we each eat only our own food instead of pooling resources and eating together.

Is it just me to think it’s a bit pointless to eat as distinct family units?

To me, sharing a Christmas meal is about sharing and eating together. If we’re eating separately from people we rarely see except at this Christmas function, I have to wonder if it’s worth continuing the tradition really.

Does anyone go to Christmas events where food is not shared? Does it work?

More importantly, any tips on how to make it a family event despite the separate meals?

14 Responses to Eating separately at Christmas – strange?

  • luckymadon says:

    Having a family pot luck dinner at Christmas is a marvelous way to connect with family once a year. But to each eating only the food they bring puts up dividers. What is the logic behind the rule? The simple solution to a very pleasant traditional meal with family would be to eliminate the EYOF (eat your own food) law.
    Wonderful idea though.

  • dhrynio says:

    I find that really odd. If I were to take food to a family gathering I would expect it to go onto a buffet table and for everyone to eat together from the buffet. Those are the best, you get to sample so many different dishes.

  • LizCalle says:

    I agree, one of my favorite things about xmas is the family meal,and sitting around together. I suppose there are still things like playing games afterwards that will bring everyone together, one of our family favorites is trivial pursuit or pictionary.

    • Santa's Elf says:

      Thanks for commenting, Liz 🙂

      I’ve never played games like that on Christmas Day – we often played cricket or just swam and played in the waves when I was a kid as we were always on the beach. I’m not sure board games would work in a park, but maybe Jacinta could try games (charades, cricket, thumb wrestling championships, etc) – good idea 🙂
      Santa’s Elf recently posted…Champagne Punch without a kick

  • cindy says:

    I have been to many family gatherings where we all bring food, but we share it around, like dhrynio says, put it all on a buffet table so that everyone can mingle and enjoy all the different foods.

  • JaimieSkye says:

    I have never been to a family gathering of any kind where we don’t share food. We always do it potluck style. Everyone brings a dish to pass and we share. I love doing that because I can try dishes that I would have never thought to make for myself.

  • tajnz says:

    I’ve been to lots of extended family meals on Christmas and everyone has always shared what they brought. I think it’s a bit silly only sharing food with your immediate family as you’re right, Christmas is about family and sharing. Your post reminds me of a extendad family renunion where people from each city were seated together, it was a shame as no one mixed and got to know each other which is the point of such events.

    • Santa's Elf says:

      I think it’s a bit silly only sharing food with your immediate family as you’re right, Christmas is about family and sharing.

      It seems silly and against the spirit of Christmas to me, too, tajnz.

      There is a lot to be said for functions without formal seating as it is then much harder for people to sit in the comfortable groups and not mingle 🙂 I went to a Christmas event recently where we had about an hour for eating (and thus sitting next to the same few people) and then went into a more casual area of the RSL to mingle and chat – it was nice to go home having spoken to more than the couple of people you sat near!
      Santa’s Elf recently posted…Quality Santa letters written with love

  • darkmeiji says:

    Never. What is the point of a Christmas dinner or lunch picnic style if you just eat your own food. It’s like going to an activity where everybody is supposed to share and have fun but no sharing occurred at all. If you were in a restaurant, sure, but since you are on a picnic where the food is not really made for only one, it just seems weird. I can imagine an one of the older folks saying, “Oh that food looks nice, but I won’t comment on taste because I don’t really know.” 🙂

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