A Novel Gift Idea: Death Over Dinner

What!?! Who chose to write about this topic in the festive, gift-giving holiday month of December? That would be me. Let me explain. “Death Over Dinner” is actually a non-profit, global “movement” started in 2013 that encourages people to gather over dinner and talk about what we want to happen when we die, which as their website says, is the most important and costly conversation America isn’t having. Now Michael Hebb has written a book about it to help encourage people to create what they describe as an “uplifting, interactive adventure that transforms this seemingly difficult conversation into one of deep engagement, insight and empowerment.”

I totally agree, but I also know that there are two inevitables in life (death and taxes) and two things we tend to fear the most (death and public speaking) which leaves the subject of death NOT at the top of the list of things anyone enjoys or wants to think about. So, because we humans tend to need to hear about things 7+ times before we act on them, that brings me to my suggestion for December.

I am not suggesting you bring up the topic of death over dinner at one of your likely many holiday gatherings. Instead, to help your brain begin to ponder and think more about your final wishes, look around the table as you share meals or holiday goodies this month and think about those smiling faces of family and friends. Ask yourself: how can I help keep those smiles on those faces down the road when it comes my time to leave this world? Have I taken steps to ease that transition? Are my wishes in writing and my records organized to help reduce the stress of that process? Have I really taken care of my loved ones all the way to the end?

This thought process is really a gift you give to yourself AND your family…end of life and estate planning peace of mind. So just keep this death over dinner idea in your mind this month as you look around the table since you get to be around family probably more than usual at this time of year. Your family will eventually thank you!

Marie Burns is a Certified Financial Planner™, Speaker and Author of the bestselling Financial Checklist books.

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