Planning a Family Reunion

One of the highlights of the holiday season is reconnecting with family members you may have been out of touch with for a while.

If you find yourself thinking this holiday season that you might just want to see these people more than once a year, plan now for a reunion next year. A family reunion is the perfect way to get all the people you love in one place to relive the old days, while making new memories as well. There’s no limit to what you can do either. You can have a simple weekend getaway with close family, or invite the whole family tree for a bigger extravaganza. The important thing to do is strike while the iron is hot. So this holiday season, when everyone is sitting around, start hatching a plan for your own family reunion.

Sarah on ‘Starting the Tradition’

‘It’s an easy thing to say, ‘We should get together more often.’ It’s another thing entirely to actually make that happen. Last Christmas, my huge family got together for the first time in a very long time. It was great to see cousins with whom I used to spend a few weeks at the beach each summer. We all sat around talking late into the night and decided to re-institute the annual week-at-the-beach summer tradition. So one person took the lead and emailed us all in January to follow up and get the ball rolling. We swapped dates for weeks that would work for us via email, and set the date. We had to rent two houses because there were so many of us – but because we were in early, we got good rates. When August 11th rolled around it was great to be on the beach with the entire gang. And we’re looking forward to doing it again next year.’

Alicia on ‘Relax, It’s Family’

‘Right before she goes home for the holidays, a friend of mine always says to me, ‘I want to go home for the holidays, just without the holidays.’ Like many people, her mother feels like having everyone home at the same time means that everything needs to be perfect. What she doesn’t know is that nothing needs to be perfect, because it’s just family, and just being together is perfect enough. This applies to family reunions as well. You don’t need to go through the trouble of trying to fashion the perfect weekend, or the most elaborate schedule of events. People attend reunions because they want to reconnect with their relatives they’ve missed, and meet others they may have never known. If there’s anywhere more suitable for ditching your pursuit of perfection, it’s a family reunion.’

While the task seems large, planning a family reunion is actually a pretty simple affair. Here are a few ideas to start with:

#1: Choose a Leader, The Help The Leader
When you’re starting to plan a reunion, it’s best to have a point person, otherwise the big talk ends up being just talk. That person shouldn’t have to do everything, but they should be in charge of rallying the troops by starting discussions about possible locations, event ideas, and schedules. Once some of the bigger decisions have been made, everyone else can help with the details.

#2: Pick a Date ASAP
Everyone wants to do it. The only problem is when. Try and set the date ASAP, as the earlier a date is set, the more opportunity people have to plan around it. Have everyone submit a few possible dates so the leader can pick the optimal date for everyone’s schedules. No matter how far in advance you plan ahead, be prepared for the possibility that someone won’t be able to make it. One absentee shouldn’t jettison the whole event. Plus, it gives you a reason to make it an annual event.

#3: Pick a Size: Small or Large
One of the more important decisions you have to make when planning a reunion is the size. Getting back in touch with your closest family is one thing. If you are going to try and do a bigger event, get ready to do some research. You’ll probably need to dig out that old family tree and start hunting down addresses and names. While it may seem like a hassle, it makes for an extraordinary event when bringing together relatives you may never have met, or some who haven’t seen each other in decades. Plus, it can be a real downer if you’re not even invited to your own family reunion.