Three years ago, there was an article in the Telegraph entitled ‘Is eating at the traditional dining table becoming obsolete?‘ A similar article in the Daily Mail was called ‘Death of the Dining Table’. Because dining tables are going out of fashion. Less and less families are eating together, let alone around a table. With no TV. Making conversation.
‘Extremely fast-paced society’ is being blamed for this trend.
According to the online poll of 500 people, fewer than one in five said they ate at the dining or kitchen table “one or two meals a week” compared to 13 per cent who did once a day.
Almost one in three people admitted eating at the dining table only a “few times a year”, four per cent never did while three per cent of respondents do not even own a table.
And that was three years ago!
Two weeks ago, we got rid of our dining table. It was a sad day, but that table had taken a battering. Thirteen or so years of daily family meals. I remember when the kids were young and a drink was spilt at every mealtime to the cry ‘Every bloody day!’. I remember all the craft activities when I was a childminder – all the glue and paint and playdough… I remember Luke and Becca spreading out all their artwork night after night for their Art GCSE. I remember all the Christmases – it was a BIG table and we always filled every space. I remember all the great parties – the themed food and decorations. I remember the creative groups and women’s groups that gathered to discuss around that table. And then there’s all the cumulative years of having at least seven of us at the table for every evening meal. That table has seen a lot and heard a lot and experienced a lot.
We found it hard to let it go, but it was time. There’s only four of us here most days now. Things have changed. We’re chopping up that table and burning it on our roaring fire (another centrepiece for family life in this house).
And we now have a new table! A new white table. That seats six. But extends to seat 12 so the family will always be welcome so that was reassuring for them to hear!
And on Saturday night, we christened the table with our first gathering – with a Gothic feel. It was good to keep up the family traditions. Life may be changing but the dining room table will remain the centre of our family life in this house. We will continue to eat our meals at the table.