Many hosts set the dinner table the night before a major holiday. Placing the dishes, silverware, and stemware on the table in advance eases up the number of things to do the next day. Here’s a practice you must begin. Create an extra place setting at your holiday table. If you are feeding 9 people, set a place for 10. Though an empty place at the table traditionally helps to keep the memory of a deceased loved one alive, there’s an alternative reason why you should do it.
During the stretch of time from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, people are vulnerable to feelings of loneliness and sadness. Per healthline.com, “Social isolation is one of the biggest predictors of depression, especially during the holidays.” For many reasons, people may be alone. It could be a senior who lost a partner, a college student who can’t afford to fly home, someone in the military unable to take a holiday leave, or the checkout person at your grocery store who is divorced and on his own.
Often, individuals do not reach out at times of loneliness for fear of being “a burden” or putting others out. Having an extra table setting entices you to welcome someone who is alone to join your celebration. “We have an empty place at our holiday table and we would love for you to fill it.” Don’t feel intimidated into thinking your meal needs to be elaborate. A quote by American writer Laurie Colwin says it best. “The table is a meeting place, a gathering ground, the source of sustenance and nourishment, festivity, safety, and satisfaction. A person cooking is a person giving: Even the simplest food is a gift.”