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As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, you’ve likely spent more time separated from your loved ones than ever before. While this was necessary to help keep everyone safe, it also means that you’re long overdue for a reunion or get-together.
With that in mind, here are some tips that you can use to plan the perfect family reunion.
Nail down the date as soon as possible
When you have a big family, it can be hard to find a date where everyone is free and able to attend – especially if certain family members have to work on weekends or live a little further away. The date needs to be selected so that gives everyone plenty of time to rearrange their schedules. One of the best ways to pick a date is choose a couple weekends that could possibly work then create a poll and ask what would work best for everyone. If there is a weekend that most people can make it to, then that will probably be the best bet. The sooner you decide upon a date, the better, as it increases the chances of everyone making it to the party.
Consider hosting the get-together outdoors
This can mean a local park or your backyard but you’ll want to consider backup options if bad weather is a possibility. Staying outdoors makes it easier to maintain social distancing. Plus, if there are lots of kids that will be at the reunion, it would be great to have playground near by. Be sure to bring along plenty of blankets and camp chairs so that you have a comfortable place to sit. Or check if a pavilion can be rented or reserved for the day.
Choose a theme
Sometimes, choosing a theme for your party can make the entire planning process much easier, as it can help you focus your ideas. Thankfully, there are plenty of themes you can choose from, from Family Tree to Steampunk to Lego – many of which can also be pulled off on a purse-friendly budget. Get together with a couple of the family members that want to help before the reunion and have some fun preparing decorations and other ideas. One of my favorite ideas for decorations is to make a family tree drawing to help cousins know how they are all linked together through the family.
After the theme is chosen, you can put together a t-shirt design for your family. There are lots of online print on demand websites. You can setup a family reunion t-shirt and share the link for individual families to purchase what they want in sizes they need.
Plan Fun Activities
At an extended family reunion about 20 years ago, my family thought it would be fun to play a couple different lawn games like horseshoes. But instead of actual horseshoes, my parents made a redneck toilet seat version. Yes, that’s my family. While silly games might not be something your family is into, there are plenty of other activities to enjoy. You might find perfect activities for your family based on the city you are in. One year, my in-laws had a family reunion at the local botanical garden. It was a great place to meet up with lots of different age groups from our kids that were 7 and under to great-aunts that were in their late 70s. There were hiking trails, floral displays, things to see for the little kids, and more activities. Plus, the gardens had a meeting room that was rented out for the reunion.
Host an anonymous secret gift swap
This is a great way to make up for lost time, and you can have a lot of fun trying to figure out exactly who bought the gift for you. It doesn’t have to be a requirement for everyone to participate but for people who love give giving/receiving this could be a fun part of your reunion. To keep the gift swap completely anonymous, you can use sites such as Elfster. You simply add everyone’s names to a list, and they will each be sent the name of the person they are buying a gift for. You can also add filters to the process to ensure you won’t receive your own name or that of your spouse.
What’s a family reunion without food?! Whether this means you try your hand out homemade pizzas or find a way to spice up boring salads, ensure that there is something for everyone to enjoy on the table. If you are from a big family, you’ll most likely be hosting a potluck. Most people in my family each have their own special dish they like to make. Use a website like ThingToBring to let family members signup online on what they will be bringing. If you have some older relatives that are not computer savvy, then sign up what they plan on bringing for them. You can also use this for paper plates, plastic utensils, etc.
Have your camera ready
When was the last time the entire family got together? With busy schedules, conflicting workloads, and the chaos of daily life, it can be hard to find a time where everyone can get together at once. As a result, it only makes sense to commemorate the event with a few photographs! While you should get ready to pose for a few choreographed shots, try to take as many candid photos as possible – pictures of people laughing, telling stories, or simply having a good time. These could be the best pictures of the bunch. Maybe you could even hire a professional photographer. Either way, find a good photo sharing site for everyone to upload their reunion photos. Usually these websites have a way to create your own keepsake from the time with your family.
If you are in charge to plan the perfect family reunion, don’t worry and enjoy the time with your loved ones. Remember, the most important part of a family reunion is to catch up with people you haven’t gotten to see in a while.
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