Have you ever watched an episode of the Gilmore Girls?

Or a season?

Or the entire seven seasons over and over and over again?

Oh, good.

Me, too. 🙂

If you haven’t, it’s the story about a mom and a daughter and a cast of the most random characters on the planet and a town you’d want to live in forever and never leave.  The mother was raised with a silver spoon in her mouth and runs away from home and kind of disowns her parents in a way.  And then?  Through a random series of events, she reconnects with them and as part of trying to reestablish the relationship, her mother decides she’s hosting Friday night dinners.  It’s a way for the family to connect.  Once a week on Friday night, the grandparents and the daughter and the mother all get together and sit down for a meal.

Now I need to state from the outset:

I’m no Emily Gilmore.

I like my dinners fun.

There are no servants with white lace aprons or staff that prepares the meal or nine-piece place settings or giant floral arrangements by the front door around here.

But I thought the idea was brilliant.

(Emily, if you are reading this, I see you nodding your head).

And so I established Sunday night dinners.

Once a week, I invite 21 people over to my house for dinner.

Whoever can be there.  Whoever can make it.

Our table is open.

It’s nothing fancy.

I took a lot of suggestions from the comments in this post and make super easy stuff.

Like a baked potato bar.

Or make your own tacos.

Super simple.  Super a lot of food.  Super fill your plate up and go back for more.

And now?

I wouldn’t trade those Sunday night dinners for anything.

I wish you could see this kitchen full to the brim.  People gathering around the island and spilling out into the family room and running up and down the stairs and making the floors creak and the doors bang.

All the littles.

All the cousins.

All the aunts and uncles and grandparents and sisters and brothers and nieces and nephews.

All together.

We sit and talk and laugh and catch up on the week that is to come.

Someone is trying out for cheer.

Someone has a band concert.

Someone has a test or a pirate play or a drill team performance or a pre-school open house.

If I squint, I can almost see all the dinners and celebrations and parties that have gone before.

It’s the same cast of characters.

Just a little older and a little wiser bringing up another generation in the house.

Handwaving and smiling and storytelling and talking and giggling and sharing and growing together.

And sometimes.

Just sometimes.

When I hear those creaking floors.

I think the house is laughing with us. 🙂

PS  I’m not sure what Emily Gilmore would have to say about this.

I just found it in a centerpiece in the living room. 🙂

PPS  Don’t forget….there’s less than a week until this planner launches!

If you pre-order the planner before March 6, you get the eight-week video course for FREE.

You can pre-order here or here or here.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Brocanteuserose Brocanteuserose

    Oh dear goodness this made me tear up, and then want to binge watch Gilmore Girls. Which I have never seen before, you make it sound fabulous. I suppose its a good thing the weekend is coming! :)

  2. Image for Taste of France Taste of France

    21 people! On a Sunday night! Yikes!!! I like to keep it to the number who can fit around the table--eight including us--but sometimes a big group is a lot of fun, especially in summer when the party can go outside, where there's more room. Also: Sunday night?!?!? How do you get up on Monday morning? In awe of your energy....

  3. Image for Maureen Maureen

    I watch Gilmore Girls whenever I am able. I still have not seen the reboot for the 4 shows that were about the mother daughter duo some years later. I grew up in a family of 9. (7 kids). We most of the time had dinner together. Girls sat on one side and the four boys sat on the other and we sat age wise. I do not think that happens too often now .

  4. Image for Andrea Boudreau Andrea Boudreau

    LOVE the title of this post (and Gilmore Girls) binge watched it twice. Also love your idea of the relaxed Sunday dinner, hope your family and friends enjoy it!

  5. Image for Gwen Gwen

    Love your idea of whoever can make it! Just get them together. But have to think Friday or Saturday night work better for this family. You have an ambitious group to do this on Sunday. Loved Emily, Henry, Luke, the whole gang! I had my son order your new book through Amazon for me. Can't wait to hold it in my hands. I know I'll love it and will probably order one as a housewarming gift!

  6. Image for Deb Wostmann Deb Wostmann

    I loved The Gilmore Girls. Having been a divorced mom and only parent for ten years I would have loved a place to go for one night just to listen, laugh, and feel connected. Cherish every single minute of it.

  7. Image for Moriah Moriah

    LOL!! I watched the Gilmore Girls over and over. It was like therapy for me. My mom is an Emily Gilmore. And I’m similar to Lorelei. No, I didn’t run away from home. And we didn’t have servants. But my idea of camping was in a 33’ motif Home at Disney World. :) I did marry a “commoner” and ran away from that life - much to my mother’s disappointment. And here’s a “funny.” My mom even signed us up with DAR as we have relatives who fought in the Revolutionary War. I truly laughed out loud at that one as how ironic is that?! Anyway- I love how you’re living in the home you grew up in and you’ve opened it up to your extended family. ❤️❤️ Well done 😊

  8. Image for sheri sheri

    We too have Sunday dinner. “Fam din” as my kids have shortened it to. We don’t have as huge a crowd as you do but wouldn’t trade it for the world. Getting my first grandchild in a few months and cannot wait for the circle to include him! Love your blog. It’s like a smile waiting in the mailbox for me each time!! Keep up the good work💕

  9. Image for Carrie Carrie

    Never watched Gilmore Girls (shocking, I know!) but I am trying to start a Sunday dinner thing with my family....and how did the tryouts turn out???

  10. Image for KIM KIM

    Oy, with the poodles already! This made me tear up! I wish I lived close enough to my family to have weekly dinners! Love you, Karianne! 😄

  11. Image for Renae Renae

    I'm excited to hear about cheer! So nerve wracking!! And yes, I think the "new" Emily Gilmore would approve! Also...so excited that I just ordered your book! When I get a book in the mail it's like a present that I bought for myself. And I love presents!!

  12. Image for jillian jillian

    Love the food ideas...taco bar...potato bar...we have done sushi bar and outside grill pizza bars (pre-grill the personal size pizza crust a little), bought the dough from a pizza place. Have you mentioned where the big wicker tray came from? Could use that around here.

    1. Image for KariAnne Wood KariAnne Wood

      Emily, Wonderful! Here's the link to the videos: https://go.harvesthousepublishers.com/diyhomeplanner Just put your order number in and they'll come to your inbox on Monday! Happy day friend! karianne

  13. Image for Kim Kim

    My husband and I have been hosting breakfast on weekends. It’s never the same day we just e-mail or text people to let them know it’s happening. We have a covered outdoor kitchen my husband built, with heaters (which is a must for the winter months) we can’t believe how many people come. We can have anywhere from 10-30 or 40 at times. We all enjoy each other’s company and since we all have busy lives there is no requirement for how long they stay so off they go and get busy with their day . We envite friends from our neighborhood and some friends drive an hour or more to come to our breakfasts. We all enjoy it so much it’s totally awesome. Very quickly your friends or neighbors become friends with each other, it’s an amazing group that’s just happened over time. The since of community we have enjoyed is amazing! It’s really not just about the food......there are Good people everywhere.

  14. Image for Kelly Kelly

    I haven't seen all of the Gilmore Girls episodes, but my daughter has. This is one of the shows/movies she binge watches when she has time off from school. One of my nieces wants our whole family to all show up for church the same Sunday and all go out and fill up a restaurant. My daughter always wanted us all to live under the same roof when she was growing up. We have a family home away from home in Florida. There may be as few as 2-3 people there or as many as 30. We love our family time!

  15. Image for Debbie Debbie

    Oh, what cherished memories you are all making. What I wouldn't give to have those dinners back. Most of my family has gone home to be with the Lord and now it's just me and my two sisters, three old maids as we call ourselves now, when we were all younger we were just referred to as "the girls". You will be so glad of those special Sunday dinners. Enjoy!

  16. Image for Jessica Lardinais Jessica Lardinais

    Karianne, I LOVE Gilmore Girls...I'm basically always watching it over and over and over whenever there is nothing on TV. So, thanks for sharing your inspiration for Friday/Sunday night dinner. I do have a question for you as I scroll through your photos: I see you have tons of throw pillows on your couches and chairs. But, what do you do with them when 21 guests come over? I have a husband and son that constantly squish them and ball them up behind their backs in all sorts of pillow-destroying ways! Do you remove them when guests come or do your guests sit against them gently?! Should I use them for "show" only or "use"?

    1. Image for Sylvia Sylvia

      I leave them out all the time. But many end up on floor beside ends of sofas or along side chairs. No problem.

  17. Image for Linda Schombert Linda Schombert

    Well, actually, Emily REQUIRED the Friday night dinner as payback for tuition to the private school they were paying for! Perhaps her motives were pure...love the rapid fire dialog between Lorelei and Rory!

  18. Image for Linda Andersen Linda Andersen

    Oh Karianne, I live vicariously through you. It is only my husband and I and pets, who live in our dream home. Our family is not close, emotionally, and I love reading about your family and moving back to your childhood home. Stuff that dreams are made of!!! When we moved to our home on the lake we thought we would have all sorts of company and have had very few. I have followed you for years and will for many more as long as you continue to entertain me with your lovely brood! Love, Linda p.s. my door in Michigan is open to you!

  19. Image for KariAnne Wood KariAnne Wood

    I know, right? That's why I'm no Emily Gilmore. :) I think she did it because she loved them. Later on when Rory's dad pays for Yale---she gets so upset because it means the end of Friday night dinners. :) Happy day rock star! karianne

  20. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    You are speaking my love language! I simply cannot get enough of family gatherings and always with food. That, my dear, is worth the move. To share life like this...I’m crying. Precious. Keep it up friend! You are building memories to be treasured a lifetime.

  21. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    I already have my book and keep your fingers crossed that we sell our present home right away. I so want to move closer to our kids and grandkids. Then the challenge is to find just the right house. But, I'll have my book ready!!. :-D It sounds like a lively Sunday bunch. That is my whole philosophy and elevator pitch. You know, friends and family gathering together etc. And I have a secret!! When I grow up I want to be Julia Sugarbaker. Yep!! Not only did she have style -- she knew exactly what to say and how to say it. Sending hugs!!

  22. Image for Shelley @ Calypso in the Country Shelley @ Calypso in the Country

    I am embarrassed to say I have never seen the Gilmore girls.... But I do love having dinners at our house. We have a large extended family so we host Thanksgiving and throw big family dinners for birthdays, etc. My kids love when everyone comes over and they especially love when they can choose the menu for their birthdays. So much fun having a house full of people! Enjoy your weekend! Shelley

  23. Image for Sharon H Sharon H

    I have never watched Gilmore Girls....(hanging head in shame here).....although it sounds interesting and fun when I read your take on it! I love that you have "taken over" the family-matriarch-and-keeping-it-all-going role. I mean, SOMEBODY has to do it, right? So did Westleigh make the cheer squad? And a question re the book/video course: since I already have the book, do I need to order another one to get the video course? Thanks, miz karianne....you know I love all that you do!

  24. Image for Denise Cox Denise Cox

    You are sooooo blessed to have a large family and what a wonderful idea! How did Westleigh do with cheer tryout? God Bless You, KariAnne, Denise

  25. Image for Jenifer Scherlin Jenifer Scherlin

    That show brings back such fond memories! I watched the series with my daughter and we loved it. She was in junior and high school then and it was one of the only times she wanted to be sitting with me for an entire hour! I wasn't happy with the original ending or really with the 'extra shows' - they just missed the mark of the first seasons! Your home is really turning out very elegant - I hope you continue doing DIY posts! Happy Dr. Seuss's Birthday! (I work in a high school library! )

  26. Image for Debbie Debbie

    We started Sunday lunch when our first child went off to college in 1991. She’d come home, bringing her laundry and looking forward to a home-cooked meal. Just last December, when our schedules began to get overwhelming with teenage grandchildren in the mix (and my husband and I began feeling our age), we cut back to once a month. I miss them so much. There were 13 of us, and when our California kids were here in Ga, there were 17! So many memories made! So many vegetables cooked!

  27. Image for NormaJean NormaJean

    I know your entire family must be delighted to have you back home! Such a great legacy you are leaving your children. If we lived closer, I would beg to be adopted!!!

  28. Image for Linda Linda

    Love the fact that your family home is now your home and the gathering space for dinner on Sunday nights. My husband and I have moved back to our hometown but unfortunately my kids are miles away. The 100+ year old house I grew up in was torn down to make room for a small patio home with a huge garage. You are blessed KariAnne and so is your extended family to have you “back home.” Enjoy every minute!

  29. Image for Julie Briones Julie Briones

    Great post, KariAnne... I'm so busy these days... my comments just aren't what they used to be! I'll be back *said with the most Arnold-type accent you can muster in your head*


    How nice of you to have Sunday dinners at your beautiful home, KariAnne! You are such a blessing to everyone! This is such a wonderful way to keep family close! Bless you! You have such a "big" heart!

  31. Image for Gina Gina

    Love your description of the fast-talking Gilmore girls. For years my mom did Sunday brunch and we all would gather with our families and even go swimming. My mom can't host these any longer, so 'tag' I'm it. So, I'm hoping to ready my house with your course.

  32. Image for Stacey @ Poofing the Pillows Stacey @ Poofing the Pillows

    I never liked Emily Gilmore! She's so uptight and judgey! :) We love the times when all of our people can be together. The more the merrier! I know you are loving being back home and having your family close by. It's the best feeling ever!! Now I'm off to read those comments for good food ideas.

  33. Image for Debra Matcovich Debra Matcovich

    I have a couple of things to say. First my daughter watches that show I think everyday. You should watch the new ones that they did, I heard it was great. The other thing, if anyone that grew up in Brooklyn, being in an Italian family, my family did the same thing, every Sunday, 2:00. Not 1:00 or 3:00, but 2:00. I loved being with the Grandparents and my cousins. I wish I could bring those days back. We do spend holidays and special occasions together, and sometimes, just because we miss each other. It's just different. Post some pics of your fun, I'd love to see it.

  34. Image for Colleen Colleen

    My goodness! I can’t even "imagine" hosting a dinner for that many people every single Sunday! Why? Does nobody take their turn to host? Does everyone bring something? Totally not something that I would ever do...sorry!

  35. Image for elizabeth@pineconesandacorns elizabeth@pineconesandacorns

    I have never watched the show but I know what you are talking about. There is something so comforting about being around family and friends. Sunday dinners were always a highlight of the week at my grandparents, as every holiday. My mother has 9 brothers and sisters and I have lost count but I think I have 23 cousins and now there are so many second cousins. My grandparents are gone and now although we have moved around the country we still manage to get together at least one a year for a big gathering and it is so fabulous, kids running around, cathching up on who is in medical school, who is getting a doctorate, etc. Keep it up what a wonderful new tradition. I would suggest making lasagna, salad and garlic bread. We always serve that on Christmas eve and we serve it for 35 people, it is easy to make if you assemble the day before and in case you don't know you can used regular lasagna noodles, and not cook them. The noodles soak up the moisture from the sauce so I like to add a lot of sauce to the layers. Have a great Sunday meal.

  36. Image for Alice Genzlinger Alice Genzlinger

    I love you and this post. I'm going to do this this summer when I go back to NC where family lives. Tacos and baked potatoe bar sounds just right. Can't wait.

  37. Image for Linda Z Braden Linda Z Braden

    I feel compelled to comment. I have no choice. The universe is telling me I must. And I can no longer resist. I mean, it's the universe after all. Who can resist the universe? And the universe is not compelling me to comment because of the Gilmore Girl reference(s). I'm all to familiar with Emily and Friday Night Dinners. And I'm all to familiar with watching Gilmore Girl repeats over and over and over and over again and again and again. Label me guilty. And (after all those label-me-guilty Gilmore Girls viewings) of course I know you're not Emily. Oh how I miss Richard. But beyond Gilmore Girls and Emily and Richard, I felt compelled because I could not help but notice I have the EXACT SAME SIDE CHAIRS in your family room off the kitchen in my home. The ones from Wayfair. With the subtle tone on tone stripes. And cute whitewashed turned legs. The ones that arrived on my doorstep last Friday. The ones I hauled into my front door and seriously scratched the you-know-what out of my knuckles as I struggled to wedge them into the door frame. And the ones that caused a serious bruise on my foot as I tried to dislodge them from the box in the least logical and practical way! So hey. Hi to your family. Hey to Denton (hope his college experience is going well). And ... well ... hey. :) Linda

  38. Image for Elizabeth Guadagnini Elizabeth Guadagnini

    When my son moved back to our hometown after a stint in the army & a year away at college, he told me he would bring his family to church if I would make Sunday dinner. So what's a mom to do? We have Sunday Dinner! At my mother's farmhouse so she can join in too. We don't usually have near 21 people, but everyone knows we're there & they are welcome to come. Sometimes my son & his wife even bring the dinner! It's a pain transporting everything for dinner to my mom's house before Church, but it's so worth it! Memories!

  39. Image for Kristi Kristi

    Oh Karianne! What a lovely way to connect with family and make time to catch up with everyone you love!!! I think your open table concept is such a brilliant way to welcome everyone to reconnect as they can. Just love this!

  40. Image for Jeannie Jeannie

    When we had more family close, I'd make a pot of soup or a casserole on Sunday afternoon for whoever could drop by. Loved those times.

  41. Image for Tammy Tammy

    Oh, how fun! I wish we had family close enough to get together that often. Now I want to watch the Gilmore girls...

  42. Image for Lee Anne Lee Anne

    Hey Karianne! Just started watching reruns of Gilmore Girls and wondering why I didn’t watch it long ago! I ordered your books and can’t wait to get them. I’’ll be seeing you at Trace Creek. Miss you!

  43. Image for Sandi Sandi

    Brilliant idea! I'm stealing it! People used to call my daughter and I the Gilmore Girls, years ago when my baby (now 30) and I single were inseperable! Now married 12 years and that daughter getting married this year, you brought back several memories. And yes I have the entire series on Video CD's! I'm even DAR like Emily, but that's the only similarity, ha ha! Thanks for the suggestion and memories! xoxoxoxoo

  44. Image for Ivory Ivory

    I just found your site, and I must say, what a sweet person you are. Inviting so many people over to your home on Sunday's. sharing what you have to all in attendance. You truly won a blue ribbon in my book. I love your warm welcoming home., thank you for sharing it.

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