Gifts for Family Reunions Family reunions are the perfect place to incorporate a birthday, anniversary, or other event in your family's life. Naturally, gifts can play an important role at large family events. Though this isn't necessary for family members you see on a daily or weekly basis, it can really mean something to those Cousins, Aunts, and Uncles you don't get to see as often as you like. Younger family members and children love gifts and it's fun to incorporate them somewhere in your family reunion. One fun idea for giving gifts that includes the entire family is the "Secret Santa". It doesn't have to be near Christmas for this to be a lot of fun. You assign someone to each family member making sure not to have doubles and allot a certain dollar amount like $10. The gift buyer gets something the family member would like or something silly and wraps it up. Sometime during the family reunion, everyone gathers together and the names are read off and gifts are exchanged. This can be a lot of fun. Some of the best gifts you can give are family pictures. If you rarely see some of your extended family, by giving or exchanging family pictures, you can be a little closer with each other. Everyone has some picture of a family member that hasn't been updated for years so this is the perfect time to fix that. Someone should also be the designated reunion photographer. They can be in charge of taking pictures of everyone all day long. When these get developed, you should make a set for each family that was there and also those that couldn't make it.
Good Places to have Family Reunions The location for a family reunion is very important. You can hold it indoors or outdoors and on your family's property or public property. You need to make sure that the entire family or at least a majority agree with the location. If half of your family are into extreme sports and the other half consider church exciting, it can be very hard to compromise and you may end up having to have everyone vote on a choice of different places. A family home or something very memorable to everyone is always a good idea and doesn't require reservations or permits. Tourist destinations are great for family reunions. This includes theme parks, beaches, resorts, or even a nice hotel with something fun nearby. Many of these places will offer a great discount if you tell them you are setting up a family reunion there. Disneyland for example has special packages designed for this sort of thing. The best time to visit tourist destinations is during the off season. Instead of setting up a family reunion for June, try May. There will be a lot less people there and rates may be a lot cheaper. If you decide to rent either a park, church, or other public facility, make sure to plan as far in advance as possible. Some places may require some type of permit if your family is very large and others may need a security deposit as well. National parks aren't very expensive if your family loves the outdoors and you could even turn it into a big camp-out if everyone is willing.
How to Plan a Family Reunion Planning a family reunion is not an easy task. Many families today just aren't as close as they were decades ago and people work more than one job quite often. Trying to have everyone get time off of work can be impossible sometimes. You might even have to plan a year or two in advance to make sure everyone can attend. The first thing you need to take is contacting everyone and having them help contact other family members. Maybe you don't talk to your great uncle Bob but surely someone else in the family does. By delegating a little responsibility you can save yourself quite a bit of time and effort. Make sure to have reliable family members help or everything will get screwed up however. The next thing is to figure out where to have the family reunion. Usually this is influenced by money. If your family is on a pretty tight budget, odds are you won't be flying to Hawaii just to spend some time with cousins and other extended family members when you could use that money to fix up your home or vehicles. E veryone should try as hard as they can to agree and also accommodate older or disabled family members. It's not a good idea to plan a wilderness themed family reunion full of hikes when Grandma is in a wheelchair. After you have planned the when and where, all you really need to do is follow up with everyone often. Monthly calls and reminders will work for a while until the date starts getting closer. You will have to make sure anyone who isn't coming notifies the family so they can be taken off the list if you have planned activities.
Cheap Food For Family Reunions So you have 40 relatives ready to attend your family reunion. What are you going to do about food? The biggest issue is, where is all of that food going to come from in the first place and who is going to pay for it. The organizer of the reunion is just that. The organizer. They shouldn't be expected to provide food and drinks for everybody by themselves. You will need to consult the heads of each family to get an idea of what to do. You might have to use a majority rule type of system because people don't often agree on what to eat. Restaurants and caterers are very expensive so here are a couple alternatives. Barbecue is one of the cheapest and most fun ways to feed any large group of people. Almost everyone has a grill they can load up and take to a park and if not, they know someone who will loan them one. Barbecues are great because of the many options you can cook at the same time. You can cook ribs, hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, fish, and even vegetables right on the grill. This is a great way to please almost everyone. Vegetarians may be left out but you can grill them some corn on the cob or they can bring some veggie burgers. A potluck is a great way to go if you don't feel like barbecuing and everyone lives relatively close to each other. Far away relatives won't be able to contribute much so this is best for families that live within 100 miles of each other. The airlines are pretty strict these days and having Grandma bring her famous Jell-O salad from New Jersey just isn't an option.
Fun Family Reunion Activities Sure family reunions are great for historical purposes and helps your family stay very close but there might be a problem. What the heck is everyone going to do for hours together? Sure you can eat and talk but how much time can that really kill? You will need to plan some activities! Activities can be fun for almost everyone depending on what you want to do. You should have activities that are fun for the entire family and also special activities to help keep the children busy and under control. So, what are some good all-inclusive activities? Well, most people's problem with these is that they try way too hard on them. The best activities are very simple ones. Sports and games are two of the easiest things to organize and very fun for a lot of family members. Depending on the size of your family, you could do anything from volleyball to softball and anything in between. If your family is very athletic, you could hold a mini family Olympics complete with ribbons and awards. Children can get bored easily at family reunions. Teenagers will most likely wander around playing their gameboys or complaining but the younger ones definitely need entertainment. If you are going to be at a park, a great thing to consider is a giant bouncy house or slide. You can usually rent these by the hour and the rental place will set them up and take them down for you. Kids love these and they help burn off a lot of energy. Children's games or tables for coloring are also great ideas. Sack races and other fun stuff can really give children a memory that will last a lifetime.
Family Reunion Tips Family reunions can be very stressful and by the time you have it all organized and it's done with, you might realize you had no fun at all because you spent the entire time trying to make everyone else happy. Sure you will have great pictures and everyone will say "What a great reunion!" but you should be a PART of the reunion as well as just the organizer. Here are some simple tips to help make sure all the work doesn't fall on your shoulders. The first thing you should ever do is remember to stay ahead of the game. If you are having the reunion outdoors, have a backup plan just in case it rains. If you are barbecuing for everyone, be sure to have extra everything. Coals, gas, plates, cups, food, and drinks. Even if nobody likes your barbecued salmon, you will have plenty for yourself later on. Make sure you have people to help you clean also. Even a small family can annihilate a park with trash. Don't organize the entire thing by yourself. Many people do this and it can really ruin the experience for them. If your spouse wants nothing to do with it, get a sibling or parent to help you. If your sons and daughters have their own families, delegate some responsibility to them. You did make them after all. Don't expect your family reunion to be absolutely perfect. When you get a big group of people together, there is bound to be an issue or two. If you let everyone drink beer all day, by evening, odds are you will have to scrape at least one family member off the ground and get them home. People are unpredictable so as long as you remember that, when something weird happens, you can laugh and try to resolve it easily.
Family Reunions Family reunions are a great way to keep in touch with your extended family and teach your children about your family heritage. Usually families figure out a date that is convenient and a place that isn't too far from everyone's home. That can be a very difficult thing to try to organize and is the number one reason family reunions don't happen as much as everyone would like. Family members can be very busy or just not be able to take time off work. Sometimes, someone might not even like the family and just skip the whole thing anyway. There are tons of things to do to get ready for a family reunion. Communication is the most important aspect of the planning process. If everyone isn't in touch with each other, that is the first order of business. After you pick a date, you have to agree on a place. It could be the home of an older relative or just someone who has the biggest house or maybe a theme park. Food is always a factor at family reunions and whether you decide to have a barbecue or a catered meal, everyone loves to eat. Family reunions always have their ups and downs. This is exaggerated with family because people feel much more comfortable teasing and insulting each other. Add a little alcohol into the mix and there is a good chance of people getting angry or offended. It all depends on the family though. Some families really get along great and make many wonderful memories at a family reunion.
Family Reunions at Theme Parks Everyone has been to a family reunion at someone's house or at a park. Though this is fun for some family members, many will think it's pretty dull and wish the reunion could have been held somewhere a little more exciting. Having your family reunion at a theme park is a lot of fun and can also be part of a vacation. It can be difficult to plan it so everyone in the family can attend but if you really get everyone involved, it can easily be pulled off. Unless you live in the Dakota's, almost everyone lives pretty close to some type of theme park. It may be Disneyland or Disneyworld if you live in California or Orlando. It could be Great adventure or Six Flags if you live in other parts of the country. The trick is to pick one that is fairly close to everyone in the family unless some people plan to fly and don't care where you go. Driving for more than 12 hours can be taxing on families that have a lot of kids and everyone will be in a bad mood for a day or two so you should have a day to relax before gathering at the theme park. Keeping together is a problem with family reunions at theme parks because they are full of people and you can easily lose one another. A good solution to this is to plan meeting points at certain times. A good place to meet is around the entrance to the park every few hours so you can make sure everyone is there and go get something to eat together. This also is an opportune time for pictures together and taking a little break.
Recording Your Family Reunion A family reunion might take forever to plan for and successfully pull off so you will want to make sure to capture all the memories you can. Some people are lucky and have a photographer or videographer already in the family and they have all of their own equipment. For the rest of us, there are a couple of options available. You could hire someone or do it yourself. Hiring a professional to record your family reunion can save a lot of time and trouble if you can afford it. Professionals know the right cameras and lenses to use for every kind of lighting and weather condition and it can make a normal picture look amazing. Most people don't have the kind of special equipment laying around to do this. Of course, professionals cost quite a bit of money but if each household of the family pitches in a little bit, it won't be so bad. You could always just hire them for a couple of hours also instead of the entire day. If you decide to do it yourself, it can be overwhelming if nobody helps. You will need to try to delegate others to help with pictures and filming. It can be easy to miss all the fun and be very disappointed later on if you are the only one running around with a camera. Most people have digital cameras these days so just make sure there some reliable people operating them. Even 2 cameras can work as long as the people using them aren't always standing side by side. Family reunions don't happen all the time so you want to make sure you are taking good pictures and movies that will be mementos for years to come.
Family Reunion Problems As with any large gathering of people, family reunions have the potential to turn ugly. If uncle Bob absolutely can't stand Aunt Joan and they both start drinking cocktails at noon, it's probably a sign of bad things to come. There are many other types of problems that could arise in addition to personal conflicts and by being well prepared, you will be able to tackle any problem with ease. For personal conflicts, there really are only a couple things you can do. The obvious one is to just not invite the person who has the biggest potential to start problems. It might sound like a good thing to do but really, family reunions should have the whole family regardless of how much of a trouble maker someone is. Instead, you could enforce an alcohol free reunion and afterwards they can go drink as much as they want. It's impossible to keep one part of the family away from another part at a park but if you go somewhere like a theme park, you could just let people go do what they want instead of staying in a forced group. Weather is the other biggest factor you need to keep in mind. If you plan half a day outside with the entire family and it decides to pour down raining, what is your backup plan? You always need a backup plan with regards to weather. If you can't go to the park you were going to go to, you will need to find an indoor alternative. In some parts of the country, this won't be an option so you will need to either try again the next day or make it up as you go along. Everyone going to a movie isn't that exciting but it may be your only option besides wandering a local shopping mall. Plan carefully and it won't ruin the reunion.