Holiday gatherings include memorable meals and while the food is nurturing, the meal can be what brings us together creating  connection with family.

"You bring everybody together for them and spend time talking with one another. The sense of camaraderie, that shared identity, really is what people talk about when they remember the family gathering."

Jazz Mccoy of the University of Illinois Extension says, with that in mind, any meal whether an elaborate feast or simply a gathering around the table can create important memories and deepen a sense of self.

"What families share there are things like their culture and their identity. They develop respect between generations, if your in a multi-generational experience, and of course potentially teach positive communication skills."

Mccoy recommends removing distractions like TVs, newspapers, and other electronics. She says if disagreements arise,  stay calm, "and regardless of the situation try to refrain from blaming somebody for something that's happened, shaming someone for something they've done or not done or name calling. None of that is helpful in terms of developing a positive relationship."

Children learn communication skills at times like these and studies indicate that teenagers, even though they may not show it, care what their parents think, believe, and value.