HOW TO HAVE A GREAT FAMILY REUNION
The reunion planner should delegate tasks for those willing and you'd be surprised who wants to show off their talents. Delegate has just become your friendly favorite word if you are the reunion planner.
If you send announcements, or even announce on Facebook or email, be informative. Remind them to bring lawn chairs, bug spray, umbrella for extra shade, sunscreen. Dividing immediate families by having Aunt Ann's family wear purple and Aunt Rosie's family wear yellow can help with photography sessions and identity, so you will want to remind them of their color. Name tags are also an option with color borders and these can be passed out upon arrival. Tween girls would love this project.
- Album and Scrapbook Display (Ancestors, graduation photos, etc)
- Address Book - Keeping current on Facebook, email, telephone and addresses. Delegate someone to obtain this information during the reunion who writes neatly and then put it in the computer.
- Clean-up (teens are good at this!)
- Fire-starter, logs and keeping the fire going
- Prepare sticks for hot dog roasts
- Ice delivery
- Ice cream maker
- Hostessing: Pass water to the elderly and others who may not be as mobile as the rest.
In order to choose decorations, one should first choose a theme.
For example, if you decide this year to honor the military, you may want to use flags and red, white and blue colors. If you have a Fall theme, use pumpkins and mums around straw bales. Arrange them with photo sessions in mind and extra seating. A farm wagon could also be used and decorated accordingly.
Put at least three people in charge of decorations. One person could bring food for decoration such as pumpkins or watermelons depending on time of year, another banners and for the fall, even bales of straw which can be used for decorations, and you can hide candy in some and make a game of finding it. Fill a kiddie pool with water and balloons or balls (depending on weather of course) The balloons should reflect the theme color. A canoe or other item may be used for ice and sodas.
Teens are good at crafts and love an art challenge. Delegate. Delegate.
Entertainment can be fun and productive at the same time. Consider these tips for your family reunion, but try not to fill each hour because you need time to visit. Instead, consider making something for small children every two hours and two events for adults during the whole gathering.
- Consider having a talent contest and give prizes for the top three winners.
- Give small children a white T-shirt and have them decorate it with finger-paints making hand-prints and let them put their name on the shirt or in the Fall, a pumpkin to carve (for older kids) and to decorate with stick-ons (younger group).
- Hula hoops are a great inexpensive way to let kids burn off energy any time of year but caution, the adults may take over!
- Consider painting a tree on a sheet ahead of time. Have each person at the reunion place their hand on it and the small children their feet. This acts as the leaves. You may want to write names on them or not. Have it quilted into a quilt and present it for raffle at the next reunion.
- Consider writing funny skits that tell "secrets" on someone (nice ones of course!). Scan YouTube for ideas! Just search "comedy".
- If you are on private property, you may want to plant a tree to honor the head of the family as part of the entertainment segment even if they are deceased.
- And my favorite, honor your military with certificates and mention each military member's accomplishments. If you choose this theme, consider decorations of red, white and blue, have a flag raising ceremony and say the pledge.
- Add fun to your photography sessions by having the older people hold a photo of themselves 30-50 years earlier.
- And lastly, consider a game like Who Wants To Be a Millionaire and ask questions about your ancestors. You can use schemes like "ask a cousin" before you give up. This enables younger family members to learn about their heritage while having fun.
- Have everyone predict something that will happen in the next year and then read them at the next reunion.
- Plant a time capsule. Open in ten, twenty or thirty years.
Photography and Videography
Photography and backdrop or straw bales arranged for photography with potted plants, pumpkins (in Fall) or other decorations. Hint: A tarp can be used for a backdrop. If you have a family member that enjoys making videos with photos taken, ask them to be in charge of that. If you have someone that could use photographs for a family calendar with or without birthdays and addresses included, this would be a practical momentum.
Whoever is in charge of food will want to monitor who brings what dish so not everyone brings the same thing. (Items from the garden will keep costs down). Encourage each of them to bring enough for at least 20 people and more than one dish whenever possible so that out-of-towners can bring the chips and sodas.
Consider having a chili tasting even for colder months, apple pie baking contest for the Fall and even let the kids bob for apples.
Delegate who will smoke or cook the meat and have a back-up plan.
Money could be used for next reunion to buy the meat and/or grave-markers or headstones of ancestors that need replaced. You will need three tables set up with these items so plan for these extra tables (aside from eating on) or use a farm wagon to display these items. Guns and quilts are always a favorite raffle.
- Raffle (delegate someone to handle tickets)
- Auction (choose an auctioneer)
- Yard Sale (people donate items for all three)
If you have a reunion when it's fairly warm, someone should bring fans to keep cool and keep bugs down.
If your reunion is large, you may want to consider asking someone to bring a microphone for announcements and talent.
Consider what lighting will be needed.
Delegate someone to be in charge of first-aid. Not everyone will remember to bring sunscreen or bug repellent and this can make a big difference in enjoying an outdoor gathering.
- Insect repellant
I'd like to give my sister credit for planning such wonderful reunions for our family.