Family reunions are great… except when they’re not. Sure, it’s nice to catch up with cousins you haven’t seen in a while, but too much downtime leaves too much time for family drama to surface or kids to get bored. Both scenarios leave everyone with a bad taste in their mouth. The key to a successful family reunion is having just enough time to catch up before focusing on making new memories together.
The family that plays together stays together. Don’t just assume everyone will want to sit around and shoot the breeze over a potluck lunch. Food and conversation are important. You should leave room for both, but have an agenda with activities people from every generation will enjoy. Here are some ideas:
You can have one of our DJs host a karaoke party for a couple of hours during your reunion. Kids can sing “Let It Go” into a real microphone. Husbands can revisit their dreams of being in a boy band. Veterans can sing old war hymns. And grandparents can serenade each other with the ballads of their youth.
Singing appeals to all ages. Add costumes and video for an added twist. You might be surprised by the stories that surface surrounding particular song choices.
Come up with a handful of questions to place at each table during the meal. Encourage family members to sit with relatives they don’t currently live with and discuss the questions while they eat. Instead of the “How old are you now?” or “What do you do for a living?” repetition, spice things up with some of these conversation starters:
- What are your top three favorite smells?
- What is your very first memory?
- Other than being in the same family (or eating the same food), what is something everyone at this table has in common?
- If you could have any super power, what would you choose and why?
Games for all ages
Many families play some sort of team game at their reunions. Often times, though, the team games are limited to the younger, more energetic generations. Games like volleyball and softball sideline many. Instead, consider playing games that work for more generations and physical abilities. Tossing washers or beanbags is a great way to get everyone involved. Charades is also fun for all ages.
Not all the games have to be played together, though. Mix it up by having a spades tournament for the adults and a water-balloon fight for the kids. You don’t have to have everybody engaged in the same activity the entire time. Having a variety of activities throughout the reunion keeps everybody interacting.
All too often, family reunions are spent recounting past memories instead of making new ones. Make a concentrated effort to do both the next time everyone is together. Give us a call if your family reunion calls for karaoke or a photo booth. We’d love to meet crazy Uncle Earl.