As the year ends, families are gearing up for holiday meals. Specialists and county educators with the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service are encouraging people across the state to recognize one more meal at the table: Family and Consumer Sciences Day.

Slated for Dec. 3, the date has been highlighted by the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences as an opportunity to appreciate loved ones and healthy choices. The theme for this year's event is "Dining In for #FCSsuccess."

There is a lot of value for families to gather around the table, not only on Dec. 3 and special holidays, but as often as possible. This family time together is a great opportunity to share about your daily lives, as well as eat nutritious meals. It can also be a device-free zone so that human interaction is the number one priority.

AAFCS reported more than 400,000 commitments have been made to dining in on Family and Consumer Sciences Day since 2014. Our group hopes to add another 20,000 this year.

I encourage Oklahomans to sign the pledge map and dine together Dec. 3. If your family isn't local, plan a time for everyone to get together for a meal via Zoom or some other platform. It doesn't matter if it's breakfast, lunch or dinner, but use this time to reconnect as a family and extended family event. Being in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, it's likely you haven't seen some of your extended family for a while. This is the perfect time to bring everyone together virtually.

AAFCS chose Dec. 3 for Family and Consumer Sciences Day in honor of the founder of the organization's birthday. Ellen Swallow Richards was the first female graduate of and instructor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences was founded in 1909 as the American Home Economics Association. It is the only organization for family and consumer sciences students and professionals across multiple practice settings and content areas. For more than a century, AAFCS has focused its mission on providing leadership and support for professionals whose work assists individuals, families and communities in making more informed decisions about their well-being relationships and provides resources to improve the public's daily life.

Sign up and support the profession of Family and Consumer Sciences at www.aafcs.org/fcsday/home. For information about financial management, health and wellness, parenting or to schedule a program in the family and consumer sciences area, contact the OSU Cooperative Extension Service at 918-456-6163.

Heather Winn is a family and consumer sciences educator for the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service in Cherokee County.

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