Did your family get together this summer? Summer time is a wonderful time for families to gather and reconnect. In today’s fast paced times, families can drift further and further apart. Families often live far from each other and we tend to lose the close family relationships we had at an earlier time. Siblings and cousins don’t get the chance to see each other as often as in the past.
My own family was scattered across the country, from New Jersey to Alaska and many places in between. I had no cousins living closer than 800 miles to me. Every few years we would all gather at my grandparents’ home in Indiana. A real effort was made for everyone to get together. The cousins would get to know each other and my aunts and uncles would reconnect. It was such fun times for all.
My grandparents lived on a farm that was owned by my uncle. For a city boy (New Jersey) what fun it was spending time on a farm. My brother, sisters and I would spend all day doing things that my farm cousins thought were just work. We had a blast. We took turns riding the horse, herding up the cows, and feeding the chickens. My Uncle, mother’s youngest brother, was single and I’m sure he thought we were all just a pain in the you know what! But we loved to tease him and he was a good sport. He drove us all around the farm and we rode in the back of his pickup truck. Just bouncing around, it is a miracle none of us didn’t fly out.
Organize and hold a family reunion! It really is such fun.
Here is a short list of activities that can bring a family closer together:
- If you are holding your reunion near where your ancestors all lived, get a bunch of balloons, tie a spring on them and go to the local cemetery. If you can, use helium to fill them. Have all the children place the balloons (use a rock) on the grave markers that have specific family names on them. When they are all done, it will be amazing how many balloons are fluttering in the air. Children and parents will learn how much of an impact their ancestors had on the small town they lived in. Be sure to let the balloons float free before you leave the cemetery.]
- Have everyone bring their family photos, especially old ones, that no one can identify. Spread them out on a table and get everyone’s collective memory to try and identify as many as you can.
- Before the reunion assign each family an ancestral family and have them perform a skit that depicts an event in that ancestral family’s life. These skits can all be done during an evening fireside.
- Assign each family to prepare a dinner on a separate night. Have the dinner be one meal that was a favorite when they were growing up!
- Games are always a favorite. Play ancestral trivial pursuit. Get some spray paint and put colored circles on the ground and play twister. Teach the children some of the games you played as a child.
- Don’t forget to bring a video recorder, modern day cell phones work great. Record the stories you tell. Ask you mom and dad about their lives.
- Take a family photo. If possible, get a professional and one great photo taken. Make sure everyone gets a copy.
- Have the children make something to take home to help you remember the event. This is a plate that each family personalized. My mother helped all the children to customize their family plate.
One fun way to have a reunion is to go to a special place. Disney World is a great place to hold a reunion. Take a cruise and enjoy the time together or just have it at grandma and grandpa’s house.