July 24, 2014

My Free Gift to You: Our Family Dinner Questions

Dec15

Have amazing dinner conversation with this special family tradition. Over 240 Conversation starters in this free printable. Makes the perfect gift!

Don’t miss out on my Free Homemade Christmas Coupon Book. It offers another option for a last minute, meaningful gift idea.

I am so very excited to share something with you that has been part of our family tapestry for years.

You know that I place a high priority on a shared family dinner experience. Many times over the last year, I have declared, “We need to fight for our family meal time” because with five children, three of them high-schoolers, those times become more rare as schedules increase.

If there’s one thing I can encourage parents to prioritize is this precious time together. Decades later, this will be a pivotal time that your children remember, long after the hectic schedules cease.

When we gather together as a family over a shared meal, it’s a time of being deliberate with our moments. By unplugging and insisting on a technology free time together, we come ready to share life as a family.

Free Printable with over 250 Conversation Starter questions

I want that, don’t you?

My Christmas gift to you this year is to make that time as meaningful as possible by sharing our Family’s Dinner Questions tradition, and a free, printable Conversation starter question file.

For years, we have had a simple plastic jar filled with Conversation Starters and Dinner Questions on our table. It’s become a meaningful part of our family identity. Most nights that we gather together, we dim the lights, eat by candlelight, even if it’s just pizza and chips, and pick a question from the Family Dinner Question Jar. We share answers that are silly, serious, sappy, sincere and even sentimental. It has run the gamut over the years.

Have fun with this time and establish your own tradition with how you want to use these questions. One person can pick a card and everyone can answer the same question, or every one can pick their own. It’s your time to embrace, and of course, these conversation starters aren’t just for dinner. :)

With over 220 Conversation starter questions already determined for you (ten questions per page), the beauty of this customizable file is that at the end of my questions, you may type in your own personalized questions making them fun and meaningful to your own family. Perhaps you have some inside jokes that would make perfect questions or story starters for your family’s Christmas gathering? Add those to the mix and get your group laughing.

This is the perfect last minute, meaningful gift idea as well for teachers, neighbors, friends and family. We have included pre-printed labels for you to add onto your choice of jar, box or bowl (see above). There are different sized labels and verbiage for you to choose, as well as blank labels, if you’d like to have your kids personalize it with their own handwriting, like “Schmidt Family Dinner Questions,” or even something silly like “Chat and Chow.”

Feel free to get as creative as you want with the jar.  My dollar store plastic container has worked wonders for years. You may have the kids adorn it with their own crafty creations – glitter, glue, ribbon etc, or you may choose to make it a more elegant gift with a beautiful, glass container.

Details for printing the file: the question section of the file (pages 3 – 24) are perfectly formatted to print out onto 2″ x 3-1/2″ perforated Avery Business cards (10 cards per sheet). This will give you a very polished look, but if your desire is a meaningful, yet virtually free gift, print the file onto paper or card stock and cut them yourself.

Print out the Conversation Starter Questions onto Avery cards, card stock or paper. Add the conversation starter questions to your choice of container. Adorn your jar with its label, and then let the magic of family dinner time begin.

I can’t wait to hear how you enjoy this time together.

I love sharing this free gift with you and feel privileged if you share it. Please send friends to this Conversation Starters post, rather than forwarding the file. This material falls under my copyright.


Comments

  1. A friend of ours gave us a mealtime conversation jar several years ago and I love it. What a great gift you are giving our families! :)

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  2. I think this sounds like a fabulous Christmas gift to give another family this year. Thank you!!

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  3. no family right now but such a great idea even for parties and dinners with friends and acquaintances..thanks a lor for this resource. I’ll suggest it to my friends with children..
    hugs from Italy

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  4. Thank you so much! I will definitely be incorporating this into our lives as a family!

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  5. Thank you so much. I was looking for something special for a dear friend and her family. This is perfect!

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  6. Thanks for sharing your special family tradition, and the great questions/conversation starters! We have done something similar in the past, when our kids were all home (they are grown now). But this is giving me an idea for some of the times when they are home (along with our grandkids!) – and I love all your questions. Thanks again.

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  7. Love, love, love this! Thanks, Jen. I have thought about doing something like this for teachers at the end of the year.You will make that project very easy! We have something similar and our kids love it so much. It’s hard to find out how the day went at the dinner table because they want to do our dinner questions! Just pinned you on my board.

    Jill

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  8. Family dinner is a priority at our house. I’ve been thinking about ways to create more meaningful interaction while we eat together. This is perfect!

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  9. Thanks Jen! I linked back to this on my blog.

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  10. beingjennifer says:

    These are lovely. Thank you for sharing!

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  11. Thanks for these! I was just thinking we needed something like this last night.

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  12. Thank you so much for offering these! My husband and I don’t have kids yet, but I can see these as a great way to stimulate conversation between just the 2 of us. I’m already laughing anticipating some of the answers just reading a few of them!

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  13. Thank you so much- I’m printing off a couple of pages right now to use right away! Love the labels you included, too. :-)

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  14. These are adorable! I can’t wait to print them and use them with my own children. Our family meal is a time that I cherish. I love spending the time with my family and the conversations that we have during that time. Your ideas will be fun to ask as well. I love the “Would you rather jump of a cliff or give a speech in front of 500 people?” question. I think it would be fun to mix-it up a bit and take turns trying to anwer for other family members to see how close we get to their answer as well.

    I think I’ll even make a couple jars to pass out for Christmas presents. What a neat, inexpensive gift idea! Thank you! :)

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  15. Dawn Marie says:

    Thank you for this printable. I’m making this for the family I nanny for in the afternoons. I have 3 boys of my own and will make an additional one for us. I’m going to add some taper candles and nice placemats to the gift so they can have a nice table set too:)

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  16. Thank you for such a great printable!!!! I can’t wait to share them!!! Merry Christmas and blessings to you!

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  17. Call it preggo hormones, but this post made me cry! I’m absolutely, 100%, no questions asked, printing these and giving them away!!!!!!!!!! We have a special family meal time, but so many of our friends do not. What a blessing to give them a fun boost toward quality time together. Thank you!

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  18. Thanks so much! I’m giving this to our best friends and our Pastor’s family.

    Maria

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  19. Somehow I don’t see Bill participating in this by pulling bits out of a jar; it’s not the sort of things Brits would do. On the other hand, I do sometimes feel that with both of us retired, our conversations are becoming a bit repetitive. So, I’m going to try pulling these out of the air, so to speak, and see what happens. If nothing else, I might learn more about Bill! I’ll let you know how it goes!

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  20. Thank you for this idea! It’s going to be the family present this year.

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  21. Thank you so much. I look forward to blessing friends and being blessed by this project for a long time!

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  22. Oh, what a great idea!! I always *want* to eat dinner together as a family, but the problem always seems to be that since we are home together all day anyway, there is never anything new to talk about, so we quite frequently eat in front of one of our favorite shows. I LOVE this – already printed out – thank you for sharing!

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  23. Wow! These are SO wonderful. Thank you! I’ve sent this link to friends, too!
    Merry Christmas!

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  24. I just love this idea. My son’s little family is getting one from me. It is so hard to bring people together and have them have a real conversation anymore. Thank you so much for all the hard work and sharing it with us. Blessings….

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  25. Thank you so much!! I just decided to gift a “Question Can” to my parents for Christmas and was racking my brain for questions to pop in the jar. Thank you Thank you Thank you for this gift!!

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  26. This is such a thoughtful and a great gift for family encouragement. Thanks for this!

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  27. Thank you….I just cut up my cards today, don’t have a container yet, but I am already enjoying them. As I was cutting I asked my husband, what plant would you be, and asked my daughter (5) what would you do with $1000. SO FUN! So far we have only had dinner at the table, Thanksgiving and Christmas night……….UGG!!! I am so excited to start fresh this year and sit down and talk! Thank you!

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    Jennifer Reply:

    OOPS….what planet! would you be? Not plant (although that might be interesting too :)

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  28. What a fun idea to make now for family gifts for next Christmas. I am SO going to do this. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful idea.

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  29. Love this idea.
    Thank you for this wonderful gift.

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  30. This is wonderful – thank yo so much for sharing. We recently finished up a set of cards we had purchased and have been wanting to make some more. This is perfect! My 5yo loves picking a card each night and we all enjoy sharing our answers. We passed our first set along to friends and will continue the tradition with these. :)

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  31. Thank you Jen for this wonderful gift! I just printed mine off and I’m so excited about it I posted a link to your blog and this gift on my blog. Freezerdinner.com. I am a mother of 4 girls and I teach how to make freezer meals as well to save time and money, but you are SO ahead of me on being a super mom. Thanks for your ideas. You inspire me.

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    Jen Reply:

    You are so welcome. I can’t wait to check out your site. I know we have much in common. :)

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  32. We have two teens left at home. One is in college and the other a sophomore in high school. Our sister-in-law gave us her parent’s kitchen table and chairs. We have called it “the magic table” because we have enjoyed dinner together again. However, recently our conversations turn into arguments. I hope that this jar will help us capture those magical moments where we connect again. Thank you!

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  33. are you still offering the table talk printable i cannot get it to print

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    Jen Reply:

    YEs, you click on where it says the Free Dinner Questions, but to make it easier, try this.
    http://beautyandbedlam.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/conversation-starters-beauty-and-bedlam-custom-2.pdf

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  34. Thank you for this wonderful post. I have been looking for a good collection of conversation starter question and these strike a chord in my heart. They are the perfect balance of fun and gospel teaching. Thank you for sharing your work with me!

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  35. What a great gift idea!

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  36. This is great! Thank you!

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  37. Such a wonderful idea, love it!

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  38. What a great idea! I remember reading lots of great dinnertime convo ideas a year or more ago, but I didn’t pay it much heed. So glad you’ve not only reminded me, but made a printable too. How easy is that? Thanks so much.

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  39. I love this topic, my family loves this so much we burn through our questions really quickly. I have to keep coming up with more and more. I just shared a free printable with 108 questions on my blog. I also included a link to your post. I have never thought about giving these as a gift, what a great idea – Thanks for sharing!

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  40. This is exactly what I needed for my trip to visit Grandma. We almost had too much to talk about!

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  41. We are just about finished with these. We have LOVED them!! Such great questions and we have loved the conversations that have come from them! I printed them on bright rainbow colored paper and my girls have enjoyed picking favorite colors, seasonal colors, guests favorite colors, etc. My only suggestion is to put your website on the jar label. I loved these so much and wanted to print these out for family and friends, but I forgot where I got them. :( After several searches, I finally found you! I’m going to bookmark it for future gifts. Thanks again for making family dinner a little more joyful!
    Blessings!

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    Jen Reply:

    So glad you enjoyed them. I would have loved to put my blog name on the label. It would have been smart for marketing, but then I also wanted people to give them as gifts, so didn’t want to intrude on it being a special gift. So glad you found them again.

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  42. Heather Brandt says:

    Love, love, love these! =) We started dinner questions this summer. My oldest daughter is autistic and it’s difficult to maintain conversations with her. This has given us great opportunity to enhance her communication and learn more about her as well as the rest of the family.

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    Jen Reply:

    So glad that you have enjoyed these. What a special tool to use for your daughter.

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  43. This just popped up in my pinterest feed and I see that I’m a couple years late to the dinner party! Thank you so very much for sharing this, I will be printing it out. :)

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  44. What a great family Christmas gift!

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  45. Family Road Trip says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I saw similar questions like these being sold on Amazon as a card set, but being too frugal I decided to make my own questions rather than purchase them. I have been scouring website after website in search of questions and then hand writing them onto note cards. Your “free gift” is so greatly appreciated, and has made my job so much easier (now I can step away from this computer and get back to cleaning the house). Your questions will be so helpful on our upcoming, 32 hour, family road trip. I just can’t thank you enough.

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  46. What fun! I’ve created a similar list of questions online in an effort to create, as you’ve said, “deliberate moments.” Love that.

    Perhaps some add’l questions might be:

    - Have you ever chosen a person for the packaging rather than for the contents?
    - What are you ‘most likely to succeed’ at?
    - Who makes you feel special?
    - Do you have any ideas for making society better?
    - Do you feel like you are able to express yourself freely?
    - Have you ever said something you’ve regretted later?

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  47. Love this! thanks so much for sharing!

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  48. Love these!! They make the perfect last minute gifts…and for free!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

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    Jen Reply:

    YAY! So glad you are able to use them. We still use them after about ten years. :)

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  49. Such a great idea, and I’m sure it helps cover some of those topics you might otherwise pass over.

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  50. Love it! It’s like you read my mind. I’ve been wanting to do something like this for a long time.

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    Jen Reply:

    SO glad! Enjoy them! We’ve loved it for years. :)

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  51. New Year’s Party idea – put the conversation starters in balloons and pop them every half hour until midnight.

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    Jen Reply:

    Love that!!!!

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  52. This is such a beautiful printable, and a great idea – thank you for sharing!

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  53. Shared a link to this post with my readers today as part of my series on family dinners. Thanks so much for making the conversation starter questions available. Hopefully you’ll get some more traffic sent your way.

    You can check out the post here: http://disciplemom.com/marvelous-monday-were-sitting-down-to-family-dinners-but-now-what/?preview=true&preview_id=4929&preview_nonce=8bc54ba1d7

    Again, thanks so much!
    Laura

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  54. Hi, having family over this weekend and we’re all (but one) introverts :) I Google searched for “conversation starters dinner blog” and found you – thanks SO much for preparing this great list, I’ve printed it and cut up some for our family fun!

    Mary

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    Jen Reply:

    I am so thrilled that you found it and I’d love to hear how they work. I would think it will ignite some great discussions. :)

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Trackbacks

  1. [...] and feel privileged if you share it, but please respect the copy-write. Please send friends to this Conversation Starters post, rather than forwarding the [...]

  2. [...] had us line up across from each other and we rotated through almost everyone answer her family chat questions.  This was a great ice breaker. I don’t even remember the question but a no-malicious-intent [...]

  3. [...] Sources:Everyday Family Family EducationCreate Family Connections  Beauty and Bedlam [...]

  4. [...] you need more conversation starters for other times of the year? You can find a free printable at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam. Written by [...]

  5. [...] You could also look for some conversation starters online. Beauty and Bedlam has a great conversation starters printable [...]

  6. [...] each other and provide excellent talking points. If you’re crafty, you can always personalize and DIY-it. Or, buy a Paisley Dog Press note card set and use those! Questions like, “What is the most [...]

  7. [...]   I got my first container of questions at Whole Foods during Christmas time.  I also found ideas HERE and HERE and there are several links on Pinterest to get more.   It’s a great variation on [...]

  8. [...] a nice set of 220 free questions you can print on index cards visit the Balancing Beauty and Bedlam [...]

  9. […] search for “family dinner questions.” There are dinner questions at blogs such as Balancing Beauty and Bedlam and Skip To My Lou. I haven’t printed them myself, so I can’t vouch for these web […]

  10. […] Jennifer Schmidt over at http://www.beautyandbedlam.com offers more than 240 conversation starters in her post:  My Free Gift to You:  Our Family Dinner Questions (http://beautyandbedlam.com/conversation-starter-questions/) […]

  11. […] my first Making it Count project, I chose these Dinner Conversation Starters from Beauty & Bedlam. This is a free printable set of questions that are bound to stir up some lively dinnertime talk (so […]

  12. […] Check out this similar idea of how to create a similar way to stay attracted to your spouse. Make a “Can of Dates,” with helpful tips from http://www.mycreativestirrings.com/2010/05/creative-wedding-gift-idea-can-of-dates.html. You can also get a list of 240 starter questions or topics to put on slips of paper for your jar at http://beautyandbedlam.com/conversation-starter-questions/. […]

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