Sunday Dinner Traditions

As I write this post on Sunday Dinner traditions, I’m sitting on my back porch with my feet up.  If I wanted to, I could see and hear a football game on the television from where I sit.

It is the first day that it actually feels like Fall here in Houston.  It’s finally not so hot and humid that you break out in a sweaty mess the minute you walk outside.

It feels marvelous.

I’ve given up on getting my kids to come outside and decided to just enjoy the peace and quiet all on my own.

When I was growing up, Sunday Dinners were a shared event.

More often than not, we went over to my Grandmother’s or my Aunt’s house for a big family gathering.  It was the standard meal of big roast beast, mushy vegetables, rolls, and pie.  The end of the meal had all of us slipping gently into a food coma.

Sometimes, we had dinner with a deacon from the church or some other random family.  My brother and I would get in a fight in the car on the way home.

When we didn’t, my mom still made it special.  It was the only time I remember her making cottage fried potatoes (like hash-browns, only chunkier).  After that, we all assumed our favorite spots and napped.

Sunday Dinner Traditions - what happened to this and how can I get it back????

I have so many memories of falling asleep in the first inning or quarter of a game, only to wake up for the last five minutes of a game.  By that point, my mom would be busy folding laundry and “getting a jump on the week.”

When I was single and fighting insomnia, I used to find a baseball game to watch on television so I could finally get a decent night’s sleep.

I think I could count on one hand the number of times I remember eating Sunday Dinner in a restaurant as a kid.

I have this hazy memory of places being CLOSED on Sundays too.

As a grown up, it’s been a little different.

After church, we like to go OUT to eat.  Sometimes it’s with friends, but mostly it’s just us as a family.

Even when our budget has been squeaky tight, my husband and I have jealously guarded eating out on Sundays as a family thing.  I’m not sure either one of us could tell you why.

Sure, we’ve eaten at home when the weather turned nasty or a kid was fighting a cold or there was a little extra squeak in the budget.  But by default, we eat out.

I don’t care what time church lets out.  By the time all that is done, it’s normally two or three in the afternoon by the time we get home.  Normally, hubby decides to run an errand on the way home while the rest of us wait in the car.

I’m sure you know the feeling.

By that point, the whole day feels done.  It feels like I might as well put on my pj’s and call it an early night.

Dinner in bed?  Yep.  Cheese and crackers and apple slices for all of us please.  I’ll take mine with a crisp glass of white wine thank you very much.

After all, it IS supposed to be a day of rest…

Today, I turned Sunday Dinner Tradition Upside-down.

We ate at home.  By choice.

The weather is just too perfect to do anything else.

All I want to do is sit outside and feel the breeze.  It’s the first time in months that grilling something hasn’t felt like torture.

So we ran by the grocery store and grabbed some meat to grill.

It’s still nearly three in the afternoon by the time it’s all done, but it’s been so different.  The kids haven’t heard “shhhh” for the past two hours while we waited for our food at the restaurant.  I’m not all stressed out and uncomfortable from my Sunday clothes.  Hubby and I both got some enjoyable chores done while we worked together on lunch.

Fun chores?  Stuff that we actually LIKE to do.  He tinkered with a car.  I um… wait… make that chore singular.  I played with yarn.  Wait – I thought about playing with yarn.  Honestly, I sat outside and watched the charcoal to make sure it stayed lit.  That’s a chore, right?

I’m not saying that we won’t ever eat out again on Sundays.  I’m sure we will.  Maybe even next week.


I have to admit, I like the way today feels.   I like the way it looks on my family.   I feel like I might just be able to “get a jump on the week.”

It makes me wonder.

When did Sunday Dinner Change?

Somewhere along the way, we quit inviting people into our homes after church to share a meal.    Shortly after that, we stopped planning to hook up at restaurants too.

What happened?

When did we start viewing dinner at each other’s houses a major event that requires planning?  When did it stop being just friends and family gathering around a table together.

More importantly, how I can get it back?

(besides clean my house.  i know that part.  please don’t remind me!)

As I think it through, I end up with more questions than answers.  I suspect Hubby and I need to have a chat about what we want to be teaching our boys (versus what we’ve been teaching them by default.)

I’d love to know… what does Sunday afternoon look like at your home?  What about when you were a child?

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Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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  1. To me, Sunday should be all about relaxing and getting ready for the new week. So after church we may go out for a quick bite then, once home, I have no reservations about putting up my feet and enjoying some football, or a book, or a nap! My husband loves to cook and doesn’t have time during the week. On most Sundays he finds a recipe to try and enjoys spending the afternoon preparing something new.
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    • It is all about relaxing and recharging. Hubs and I realized that if going out to eat wasn’t doing that, we need to change things up. He’s already planning what he’ll be grilling the coming Sunday.

  2. This kind of relaxing Sunday is exactly what I look forward to every weekend. Nothing wrong with going out to eat once in a while, but I’d prefer to stay home, even if it means cooking dinner and doing some chores 🙂

  3. Sunday is one of the best times to relax and chill-out with the family. you cannot beat a home made Shepherd’s Pie!

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