Pandemonium and Family Reunions: The Best Laid Plans
Planning a family reunion? We’ve created a list of activities for planning the perfect family reunion – whether that’s in-person or virtual!
This has been a crazy and difficult year! Even if work has been stable and consistent, the kids have been out of school a lot more than usual and things at home have been chaotic. But in between the stress and the online homework, there have been happy moments too: reconnecting with those closest to us and finding ways to get together through technology despite geographic and social distance.
And what about that great family reunion you planned a year in advance for summer 2020? It probably changed dramatically or got canceled all together. If you plan your reunions for the winter, or you’re looking for better ideas for “distance” reunions next summer we’ve got some creative ideas for you!
Family Reunion Activities
We all know the drill. You figure out your budget, decide when and where you’re going to have the reunion and what activities and food you’re going to have. Then you delegate the tasks, make the announcements, and get everyone excited for the big day!
Just a couple of in-person activities my family has done over the years include:
- Yard games: My family loves our outdoor reunions with simple, but social activities like horseshoes, croquet, a beanbag toss, ladder ball, or other yard games.
- Auction: we had an auction one year to help cover the cost of the reunion. It included a handmade quilt from one relative, a Tupperware bowl set (from one who was a Tupperware consultant), a handmade pioneer doll, a wooden egg kaleidoscope that had been in the family for two generations (and now a third since I bought it!), a tire swing (from an autoshop owner relative), and other simple things. It was one of my favorite reunions because of the stories being remembered and the stories being created by this simple sharing of what were, or would become, family treasures.
- Tie-dying t-shirts: with all the custom t-shirt sites out there these days, you can easily make a “Family Reunion 2021” white t-shirt, order one for each family member, and tie-dye them when you get together. (You can even put everyone’s names on the back or find some other way of commemorating the identity of those coming together.) We tie-dyed one year and to this day when we wear them, we still talk about the fun we had making them together!
Virtual Family Reunion Ideas
But what if we can’t get together in-person? All hope is not lost – you can still have a great family reunion! Getting together on Facebook (video) chat, Zoom, Skype, FaceTime (for Apple users), HouseParty, or other video platforms for the main event, you can try one of these ideas for your family reunion this year:
- Virtual game night: If your family loves trivia, board games, or party games, consider planning a virtual game night. There are tons of online resources like JackBox , Random Trivia Generator, QuizUp, or you can download apps (some of these are free!) for board games with online play options like Monopoly, Risk, Catan, Clue, and many others.
- Tell favorite stories: each family member gets 3 minutes to share a crazy / favorite story about themselves (or telling on a family member) – set a timer and let the fun ensue! Give a prize for the craziest story!
- Create a family photo book: have each family share a few pictures, organize them into a book (this is easy using an online service like Snapfish or Shutterfly) and having a copy of the book shipped to each family who is participating. Then when you get together (virtually) each family can share a story or two about the photos or about what they have been doing this year.
- Family talent show: do you have magicians, musicians, dancers, story tellers, actors, puppeteers, or other talented family members? Of course you do – so showcase them by putting on a virtual family talent show!
- Embrace your shared heritage by learning about your family history: pool the money you would have spent getting together in-person (airfare, venue, food, etc.) and:
- Gather family stories and photographs anyone still has about your known ancestors. Check out our article Ancestor’s Photographs: Worth a Thousand Words for ideas on how to find photographs of your ancestors.
- Purchase a family history research project to research and extend your known ancestry, with special focus on finding family stories,
- Have it written up into a biography with copies going to everyone participating, and
- Consider having the family biography made into a bound book (we recommend Legacy Books!).
My best tip for having a great family reunion? Keep it simple. Make it fun! You are making memories today that will last a lifetime.
The team at Legacy Tree Genealogists would love to help you with your family history, whether you’re interested in building a broad family tree as far back as possible, or delving into the details and stories of your ancestors’ lives. Contact us today to request a free quote!