Sitting down for dinner together as a family is one of those things I insist on, even when we have a hectic schedule. Some days that means we eat dinner at 4:30 and other days we may not eat til 7 but we do our best to eat together. My children and husband know by now that there are no televisions, books, electronics or phone calls allowed during dinner. We talk about our day at school or work and take time to reconnect. Yes, there are days when the children argue with each other or a neighbor knocks on the door right when we sit down to eat but I try not to let our chaotic lives interfere with dinner. Holidays are one of my favorite times for family meals because we get to have company over and there is actually an excuse for me to cook way too much food! On Thanksgiving we have my husband’s college roommate visit and ‘Uncle Mark’ is one of my kids favorite people of all time. They love how much fun he is to have around and how much he laughs. Eating with friends makes mealtime about so much more than food! Darden Restaurants like Red Lobster, Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse are great choices for fun, relaxed, family meals when you don’t have the time or energy to cook yourself.
I have always tried to teach my children what I consider the proper way to eat…I want them to understand meal time etiquette when we visit a restaurant. If there are 2 forks, they know to start with the outside one for their salad. They do not put elbows on tables or slurp soup. Okay, they don’t do it OFTEN…I am still trying! One year, Uncle Mark came down for Thanksgiving and enjoyed a wonderful meal of Turkey and all the fixin’s. After finishing his mashed potatoes and gravy he used his roll to get up the very last bits of gravy….and my children were in awe that anyone was smart enough to come up with such a solution! They were little at the time but still talk about that Thanksgiving dinner with amusement now that they are teens. I just hope they don’t decide to try that at a restaurant one day!
Darden Restaurants: Olive Garden
Family meals are special, whether you cook a big meal from scratch at home, do a pot luck with friends or head to a nearby restaurant. During the holidays, giving friends and family a gift card to their favorite restaurant makes gift giving easy and encourages families to spend meal time together…even if it is at a restaurant and not in the kitchen. My family loves Olive Garden because of their delicious salad and bread sticks. I can always guarantee that the kids will find something they enjoy from their selection of pastas! It is important to make time to get together for family meals during the holiday season and restaurant meals are nice since there is not cleanup involved! I must admit, cleaning up after a big family gathering is NOT fun!
If you are considering what to get your friends and family for Christmas still, think about getting them a gift card to the Darden family of restaurants. There are a number of different restaurants in the Darden family but for a limited time this holiday season, customers can receive a $5 bonus coupon for every $25 gift card purchased at Olive Garden, Red Lobster or LongHorn Steakhouse restaurants.
Click HERE to visit the Darden Gift Card Marketplace!
Disclaimer: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Darden. I received a promotional item as a thank-you for participating.