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Family Gathering Trends

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Family Gathering Trends

Postby Chunkster » Tue Apr 03, 2007 11:15 am

Hi Everyone,

I thought I would put this thread up as my husband and I have been discussing it over the last few days.

On the weekend we were invited to a friends childs first birthday party. Now this friend is from a very "successful" family. That is...they are all very financial, all fit and healthy and have a great outlook on life (completely the opposite to either of our families).

It was a BBQ dinner and the thing I noticed immediately was that there were only very minimal nibblies on the tables. I mean I noticed this as I was starving and all I could think of was..."Hurry up and cook the food so I can eat my small piece of steak and salad". :lol:

It was like...they were all there to talk and catch up...and the food was just incidental!!! :shock:

All our lives...any family gathering was centred around the food...what the food was...how long it would take to get ready...how it tasted...and the stuffed feeling you have afterwards that makes you want to go and sleep for a few hours.

But the thing that stood out was...while my family would have been hoeing into all the chips and lollies and dips...these people were having a drink and all standing around discussing property opportunities, holiday plans, work and business stories and new additions to their families. It was like I stepped into the Twilight Zone...do do do do do do do do!!!

Cause I can guarantee you that our families would have been all sitting down...eating chips, dips, cheese, lollies, etc...the people over 40 would be complaining of their many ailments and making excuses why they can't get out and make the most of their lives...and all of us under 40 would have been rolling our eyes at those over 40...piling the food into our mouths to stop ourselves from telling them what we really all thought...while we sat there whinging about how our overweight, non-inspiring parents gave us nothing to work with in regards to healthy eating, financial security, relationships and any inclination to want to bring new additions into the world!!!

Not that we are going to follow in their miserable footsteps...we are trying so hard to be an inspiration to all of our family members...especially those our age and younger (sometimes I think the older ones in our families are too far gone...they are all so used to playing the victim and blaming others for their predicament).

But it was like a light bulb went on in our heads when we were sitting there at this first birthday party... :idea:

Is this how all the "normal" people live :?:

We have organised a family party this weekend to celebrate Easter...and for the first time we are gonna take frisbees and balls and we are gonna get out and encourage all those who want to participate to get off their backsides and do some moving.

We are taking lean meat and are only taking enough to satisfy rather than stuff everyone. We are going to supply salad and no salad dressing and are putting little bundles of eggs together for everyone. Not the usual massive chocolate indulgence Easter is in our families.

And there will be no bread!!! If anyone complains (which I'm sure they will) they will know that from now on...if they desperately need bread they can bring it themselves.

I will not sit there and listen to all the "woe is me" stories...as soon as they start I will change the topic to a more positive one or get up and go play some beach sport with someone.

I know I can't change my family...but after seeing what other families do when they get together...I am adamant that I will not facilitate the negativity in mine anymore!!!

A long story I know...what are other peoples family gatherings like? I am interested to know!!!

Thanks for reading... :lol:
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Postby Lols » Tue Apr 03, 2007 11:33 am

know my family it is all centred around food and if you don't eat and drink my parents keep asking if something is wrong .... it almost offends them.
The other halfs family get together over food too - just not to the extent mine do haha. :wink:
But yeah i think the focus being around other activities than eating isn't a bad thing .... we are goin away with my parents for easter i was going to put together a basket to take away today of a few goodies as a few good things (cashews, dried fruit) a few naughty things (chocolate) to take down .... might have to find a deck of cards and some other non foodie related things to put in as well.
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Postby Chunkster » Tue Apr 03, 2007 11:36 am

Lols wrote:might have to find a deck of cards and some other non foodie related things to put in as well.


What a great idea!!! Something that doesn't involve just sitting there eating and whinging!!! I'm gonna take some cards as well!!!

Thanks Lols :lol:
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Postby Dee » Tue Apr 03, 2007 11:47 am

I love organising parties for my kids, but I must say that lately I have been avoiding overdoing the food thing. It used to be that no party was complete without the table bulging under the weight of party pies, sausage rolls and fairy bread. The last couple of barbeques we've had; the party pies, sausage rolls and fairy bread have been replaced by chicken and vegetable kebabs, lean steak and fresh fruit. My hubby loves marinating the steak and creating gourmet steak sandwhiches. The potato salad has been replaced with garden salad, filled with vegies, like carrot, capsicum and even fruit; maybe peaches and no dressing.

Noone ever complains about the lack of food - except my mother who makes comments about how I'm catering on a budget(?) and no one leaves feeling like they're stuffed. The kids LOVE the kebabs and I feel good about what they're eating.
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Postby Chelle » Tue Apr 03, 2007 11:55 am

mine arnt like that but they do like to drink alot.
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Postby Chunkster » Tue Apr 03, 2007 12:06 pm

Chelle wrote:mine arnt like that but they do like to drink alot.


I guess that is one thing that my family don't do. Although it is only because there have been so many alcoholics in the family that alcohol is just not a part of any gathering. And the alcoholics just don't come anymore.

Not entirely healthy...but at least alcohol isn't a part of our get togethers as it always ends in someone getting hurt emotionally.
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Postby yummymummy » Tue Apr 03, 2007 12:34 pm

alcohol is a huge part of our family gatherings, but over the past few years we have been making better food choices, and no nibblies is the main one which is great
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Postby Ally » Tue Apr 03, 2007 1:03 pm

Our family gatherings used to sound pretty much identical to yours Chunkster....food was the main focus and we would sit around the table just eating and eating.....my mum is always talking about food...it was with a sad realisation that this is the reason I am so obsessive about it....it is always talked about, discussed in great length and doted upon!! Once I realised this (my mother "reads" cookbooks!!!) I just sat back in horror and vowed to DO something about it....this is why our gatherings now are simple, plain affairs with a normal meal size portion, not gigantic....mention bbq in our house and a truck can be heard reversing into our driveway from the 16 cows that were slaughtered, now if we have a barbie we just take enough meat and salad or veg and either a bread roll or potato or pasta...not all of it!!!! We, too make an effort to be more active at a family gathering and get the kids out from watching cooking shows with mum (oh yeah did I forget to mention that mum has Austar....and most of the time is spent watching cooking shows)..we take them swimming in the dam, walking, 4WD'ing around the boundary fences etc.......
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Postby kate_turner2000 » Tue Apr 03, 2007 1:07 pm

god that was a kids first birthday party?!!

i remember growing up and our whole family would get together for big bbqs at some parks in sydney and we would take our bikes and a cricket set and a large rope for tug of war etc. we have it video and some footage of my and my dad riding my pink bike together. my dad has since passed away so its nice to remember those special family times.

like some of you guys my family is centred round alcohol when it comes to gatherings. there are no nibblies only drinking until the host can be bothered to get up and cook the bbq. my mum and step dad have started to tell us to come around later - like 2 hours after the 'party' starts because theyre just going to be sitting there drinking first. then the people who are drinking dont bother eating because they cant drink and eat at the same time.

i hope you have a nice weekend chunkster- wish i was in your family and invited! it sounds like it will be a good little get together :)
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Postby Butterfly_Dawn » Tue Apr 03, 2007 1:42 pm

My family tends to follow my father's side. Grandma was Maltese so we had quite a Mediterranean influence in our extended family gatherings - which were huge and usually at Christmas.

There was always food - good food and plenty of it, but nevertheless it was incidental. One of the main family traditions was discussing or debating politics and all kinds of current issues and the centre of the gathering was the dining room where we would all sit around and debate/discuss and eat pastizzis!!! The food was not so much eat it all the time, but was sort of more like punctuation and whenever there was too much heat being generated in an argument, out would come the lassagne, or nibbles or something.

Our gatherings were always active too with the kids. There'd always be a game of backyard cricket with the older cousins pretending to play seriously with the younger ones and giving each other stick. And since it was usually christmas, we'd all get together to do the presents thing.

For our immediate family, things still center around debates and discussions and these tend to occur around the dinner table over a meal. Since there's only 4 of us, 5 with my bloke, and we are all adult, the backyard cricket has fallen by the wayside, but we'll frequently pitch in to get some chore or other done, like pulling down a dead tree, rendering the walls of the new shed etc.

Basically, our family gatherings are about catching up with each other and the food does what it would normally do, appears at meal times.
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Postby kate_turner2000 » Tue Apr 03, 2007 1:45 pm

*sigh* i love backyard cricket :) thats the spirit of gatherings and being aussie :)
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Postby Puffer » Tue Apr 03, 2007 2:52 pm

What a great thread - it has really made me think about our family gatherings, I don't think everyone else focuses on the food as much as I do :lol: There is alot of alcohol involved though. Most memorably one christmas eve I drank a tad too much and got up in the middle of the night and spewed in mums kitchen sink :shock: Needless to say it wasn't a merry christmas for me! There is usually always one or two of us at christmas who are looking a bit worse for wear from the night before!
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Postby Chunkster » Tue Apr 03, 2007 3:01 pm

Thanks for all your replies so far guys!!! :D

It's great to read what other families get up to.

I am really looking forward to spending time with our families this weekend. I can't wait to start putting some positivity into a more healthy lifestyle. At least that way...if any of us younger ones ever have kids...I know my husband and I have tried to create a healthier attitude towards food and exercise.
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Postby kate_turner2000 » Tue Apr 03, 2007 3:31 pm

what a great perspective on things chunkster. you are setting a great example mate.
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Postby A_Corner_Of_The_Earth » Tue Apr 03, 2007 6:59 pm

Hi Chunkster,

Firstly I just want to say how great it is that you are creating new eating habits for your family.

As to our family gatherings the focus is not primarily on the food but does revolve around food. We get together to catch up as we are all very busy. Granted my family gathering is only small ie my parents, my brother and he's wife, myself and my partner. We generally have a sit down dinner when we catch up as a family. A time is designated, we have a few pre-dinner drinks then sit down for a meal so there is no time to snack on nibblies.

As to my partners family, they are more low key than mine and tend to have casual barbies where there are nibblelies like nuts, dips etc but food definitely comes as a secondary focus. The focus is more on sitting around chatting and drinking.
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