We’ve just finished a fantastic family reunion this last week, so I’ve been thinking about what elements make a family reunion successful. Whether you’re about to have one, or thinking about next year, here are some tips to help you get started:
1. Plan early. It might seem like sending out invitations a year in advance is too much, but the more time you give your family members to prepare finances and arrange vacation plans, the more likely they are to join you. They might already be planning their yearly family trip, so make sure you are a part of their planning.
2. Set a schedule and send that out too. Not as early as the invitation, but before the event comes. Ask your family members for suggested activities, and then arrange a schedule using their suggestions for guidance. You don’t need to spend time at the reunion discussing what to do.
3. Prepare for downtime too. Babies need to nap, some people need a break from all the chaos, and everyone else needs a chance to just visit and rest. Have some table games or restful crafts available for those who want them and then let the others do what they would like.
4. Delegate. Take turns providing dinner or running activities and games. If you are sharing food, assign everyone a preparation turn and a clean-up turn. Things will go more smoothly if everyone shares the workload.
5. Do an activity that is unique to your family. One side of my family always plays a crazy version of baseball that we call Dutch Ball. For me, it’s always the highlight of the reunion. My husband’s mother creates her own candy store and lets the kids buy candy with tickets they win. Whatever you do, create a tradition that’s just for your family—one that you can carry over year after year. It’s what makes your family reunion different from everyone else’s.
Article by Britney Rule who is the author of the upcoming Grain Crazy, publishing fall 2013 by Familius.