Talk about Divine Intervention: we have friends coming over! Our friends live in Spain most of the year and come over the U.S. for a few weeks or months for work. Tonight, they are coming over for dinner—yayyyy!!! So why does this activity fall on this day?
Because today would be Saturnalia–the ancient Roman festival of Saturn, which was a period of general merrymaking and was the predecessor of Christmas. One of the things that generally happened during Saturnalia was an overturn of social norms. That meant the masters of servants often served the servants. When I originally wrote this activity years ago, the idea of the kids picking the menu would have been an overturn of the social norms in my house.
Nowadays, the kids do some level of meal planning, so I need to think of something else. Can the kids pay the bills? Because that would be nice.
Tonight, our guests will choose the menu because they are under new dietary restrictions. We will find something to “overturn the norms” and really–even if we don’t, having people over is quite enough.
Give it a go! You don’t have to have people over for dinner and it doesn’t need to be a long visit! Invite some neighbors over for tea or some cider before or after dinner. We often gather with people after the families have had dinner at home so that the burden of the meal isn’t on one family or another (and no pot-luck coordinating). We run with a crowd that also brings their own food (although this has been a lunch thing). It’s like picnicking at someone’s house and it’s made it a lot easier to have people over during a time of day that spans a meal.
The reality is: food is expensive; and hosting people is more expensive. Find ways to gather that don’t put a cost burden on anyone and then everyone gets to relax and enjoy one another!