In her new book, The Family Dinner, Laurie David talks about the importance of families making a ritual of sitting down to dinner together, and how family dinners offer a great opportunity for meaningful discussions about the day's news. "Dinner," she says, "is as much about digestible conversation as it is about delicious food."
We couldn't agree more. So HuffPost has joined with Laurie to launch a new feature we're calling HuffPost Family Dinner Downloads. Every Friday afternoon, just in time for dinner, our editors highlight one of the most compelling news stories of the week -- stories that will spark a lively discussion among the whole family.
The family can gather around the laptop, smartphone, or iPad -- or just print out the post and pass it around the table. Each Dinner Download will end with a question or two that we hope will get everyone thinking and sharing their thoughts, feelings, and opinions.
* * *
This week, HuffPost Impact featured the incredible story of Gregory Schauer, an unemployed man who, despite not having enough money to buy Christmas presents for his own kids, was able to give an amazing gift to people he didn't even know when he opened his home and took in a homeless woman and her three children for the holidays. "I can just barely cover all my bills," he explained, "but I know there are people who are worse off than I am right now." His generous and uplifting gesture reminds us that Christmas giving need not just be about putting the hippest new gadget or must-have toy under the tree - but about demonstrating the caring and selflessness that are the true heart of the Christmas spirit.
What are some ideas for gifts we can give each other that don't cost any money? What's the best gift you ever got that didn't come from a store? Can you think of something that you could do for your parents or siblings that would make their lives nicer but that they'd probably never ask for? Can you think of something you'd love to get from them that couldn't come in a box? Be honest: which would you rather have, a cool new toy or an afternoon of your mom or dad's undivided attention? Why?
Let us know you favorite ideas for non-commercial holiday gifts in the comments section below!