A lot has been said and written about how American's are spending
more and more time cocooning - retreating to our homes to relax
and withdraw from the pressures of our jobs and society. But for
many people, home provides a place to do just the opposite - a place
to invite other people in - to enjoy the social interaction of friends
and family, and celebrate life and its pleasures.
Human beings are social animals. We enjoy spending time with others,
sharing ideas and interests, relating in ways that have little to
do with work and responsibility. Even if the parents in the family
lead busy, active lives, with little time for socialization, children
need a safe and comfortable place where they can be with their friends,
hang out, and develop their social skills. The family itself can
benefit from having such an environment where parents and children
can interact without being underfoot.
Today, our style of entertaining has become more relaxed and informal.
Except for holiday events, there is very little formal dining. We
tend to get together more for good conversation, and informal events
such as watching events together, making simple meals, playing games,
and relaxing. For those who entertain at home, certain features
become very important. A large kitchen, with space for more than
one person to help prepare the food. Recreation rooms with game
areas such as pool or ping-pong, built-in bars, and TV viewing areas.
Media rooms with wide screen or projection television. Family rooms
with plenty of seating, and easy accessibility to the kitchen and
the outdoors. Indoor/outdoor areas such as decks and patios that
extend the living space to the outdoors and provide great space
for relaxing in the sun, barbecuing, and playing.
Having a place where friends and family can congregate and enjoy
each other's company is a marvelous antidote to the increasing isolation
of modern life. If you have lots of friends, it's a wonderful way
to maintain those friendships. And if you don't have a lot of friends,
what a wonderful place to begin making them.