One of my favorite traditions is family dinner. I lifted this phrase directly from my little sister, who used to get all of her college friends around a giant table and serve something heart warming (and tummy filling!) periodically.
I don’t have 20 friends to see all the time, but I do have one very good friend who lives about a half an hour from me, and this woman is busy. She has a four-year-old boy, a busy job, a boyfriend, and a life in the suburbs. We have been roommates multiple times in the past and we used to cook together. When we stopped being roommates the last time, we realized we would need to schedule time together, or else run the risk of not seeing very much of each other. So, we decided to adopt a once-a-week family dinner. We alternate weeks so that someone always has to commute.
We almost always cook at home. Sometimes we try new recipes, sometimes we replay old favorites. I have a very specific list of things that bother my stomach, and she’s really great to plan a meal that doesn’t hurt me.
Our “family” is small — usually, it’s me, my best friend, and her fiance. If we’re at her house, sometimes her son is there. Other friends are welcome. We have been consistently meeting once a week for about two years now, and we rarely skip.
My best friend’s fiance recently said that family dinner was one of his favorite parts of the week, too. And that cemented him as someone “worthy” for my friend to marry.
This is a frugal way to have fun. You don’t have to make it expensive. You don’t have to call it a “dinner party” — it’s just family dinner. Getting together with your family (or the family that you choose!) is really special, even if you make your friends help you clean out your pantry/fridge/freezer once in a while.
Try it. It just might become a favorite part of your week, too.