Do I Have to Invite Everyone To My Family Reunion?

I received a question from someone planning a family reunion in August this year. This reunion planner expressed some concern over who they should invite to their reunion. There was one family in particular that she didn’t feel comfortable inviting to the reunion for various reasons.

imageIf this is your first family reunion then deciding who to invite to the reunion is one of the first questions you have to ask when planning your reunion. There are all types of reunions. You can plan reunion with just your brothers and sisters and their families for a reunion on a smaller scale. Every generation you go back makes your reunion bigger and the more people and food you need to plan for.

If you are concerned about including a family in your reunion you may want to stop short of inviting families from that generation. There are plenty of reunions or “parties” you could have that won’t include that family. For instance have a “Cousins” party or a “descendants of _____” reunion. If you are inviting the descendants of _____ and they are part of that group it is difficult to not include them, but you can invite anyone you want to a party.

image Edith Wagner of Reunions Magazine puts it this way, “A family reunion is not a wedding where you pick and choose who to invite. A family reunion should include everyone or at least you should invite everyone. Occasionally there may be family members you’d rather not encounter. On the other hand, not everyone wants to come, either, which is how it often works out.”

A good rule of thumb when deciding who to invite to your family reunion is to start with your closest relatives and work out. Begin with “Mom and Dad”- not much of a family reunion, then invite brothers and sisters and their families. Ask yourself if you have access to a reunion site that will accommodate this number of people and if you do then start adding branches from your family tree- grandparents, great grandparents etc.

Keep in mind that the further back you go the greater the numbers and keep in mind that families tend to multiply. We began with about 20 people at our first family reunion and now we’re pushing 100.

Hint: Large reunions need to be announced very far in advance to give everyone enough time to plan around it and save up. All family reunions require a significant amount of planning but larger reunions require many more hours of planning and lots of help from reunion committees.

So basically the question we should be asking is “What KIND of a reunion do I want to have?”  Those are the people you should invite.

Thanks, Linda, for a great reunion planning question.

Aunt MO

Family Reunion Quotes

 

I love good quotes.  I like to end each of my blogs with a quote about families or family reunions. The quotes I am including in this blog are not quotes I have written but quotes from people with minds immeasurably smarter than mine.  They may help you as you plan your family reunion as you use them in family newsletters, invitations and posters. 

I have listed my top ten family reunion quotes at the first of this blog and encourage you to read to the bottom of this blog so you don’t miss out on a good laugh with “Funny Family Reunion Quotes”.

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Top Ten Family Reunion Quotes

#1 “A tree without roots will fall over” -unknown

#2 "How will our children know who they are if they do not know where they came from." unknown

#3 "Heirlooms we don’t have in our family. But stories we’ve got."         -Rose Cherin

#4 “I wish I could relate to the people I’m related to.” -Jeff Foxworthy

#5 “When we die we become ‘stories’ in the minds of other people.” -Unknown

#6 “This packrat has learned that what the next generation will value most is not what we owned, but the evidence of who we were and the tales of how we loved. In the end, it’s the family stories that are worth the storage.” -Ellen Goodman

#7 “If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say? And why are you waiting?” -Stephen Levine

#8 “The lack of emotional security of our American young people is due, I believe, to their isolation from the larger family unit. No two people – no mere father and mother – as I have often said, are enough to provide emotional security for a child. He needs to feel himself one in a world of kinfolk, persons of variety in age and temperament, and yet allied to himself by an indissoluble bond which he cannot break if he could, for nature has welded him into it before he was born.”
- Pearl S. Buck

#9 “Human beings are the only creatures on earth that allow their children to come back home.” -Bill Cosby

#10 “ The reason grandparents and grandchildren get along so well is that they have a common enemy.” -Sam Levenson

Family Reunion Quotes

"In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future." -Alex Haley

“The great gift of life is to be intimately acquainted with people you might never even introduce yourself to, had life not done it for you.”     -Kendall Hailey

"Generations pass like leaves fall from our family tree. Each season new life blossoms and grows benefiting from the strength and experience of those who went before."  -Heidi Swapp

"If you don’t believe in ghosts, you’ve never been to a family reunion." -Ashleigh Brilliant

"Family faces are magic mirrors. Looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present and future. We make discoveries about ourselves."  -Gail Lumet Buckley, writer

“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.” – Jane Howard

"Like branches on a tree, our lives may grow in different directions yet our roots remain as one."  -Author Unknown

You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you. -Frederick Buechner

“It is important for us … to cultivate in our own family a sense that we belong together eternally, that whatever changes outside our home, there are fundamental aspects of our relationship which will never change. We ought to encourage our children to know their relatives. We need to talk of them, make effort to correspond with them, visit them, join family organizations, etc.” -Pres. Spencer W. Kimball

"People are generally irrational, unreasonable and selfish. They deserve to be loved, anyway." -Mother Theresa

“Family faces are magic mirrors. Looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present, and future.” – Gail Lumet Buckley

“A good way to learn to love our relatives is to spend time together in well-planned family reunions. A family reunion can be a very personal and privileged gathering. If you have never organized your family for a reunion, start now—you will receive joy far beyond your expectations. Yes, there will be discouragements. Some family members will say they don’t have time or that they are too busy. But the rewards more than compensate for the discouragements.” -Alma Heaton

"The future belongs to those who give the next generation reason for hope." – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

“Family is essential because we all yearn to feel like we belong to something greater than ourselves.” -Laura Ramirez

Family Quotes

“Having children makes you no more a parent than having a piano makes you a pianist.-Michael Levine

“Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” -Robert Frost

“Watching your daughter being collected by her date feels like handing over a million dollar Stradivarius to a gorilla.”-Jim Bishop

"The best effect of fine persons is felt after we have left their presence." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

I don’t care how poor a man is; if he has family, he’s rich. -M*A*S*H, Colonel Potter

“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.” -Richard Bach

“Blood’s thicker than water, and when one’s in trouble it’s best to seek out a relative’s open arms.” – Author Unknown

“To us, family means putting your arms around each other and being there.” -Barbara Bush

“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” -James Arthur Bladwin

The past is not dead. It isn’t even past. -William Faulkner

"Perhaps the greatest social service that can be rendered by anybody to this country and to mankind is to bring up a family." -G.B. Shaw

“Our most important and powerful assignments are in the family. They are important because the family has the opportunity at the start of a child’s life to put feet firmly on the path home.” -Henry B. Eyring

“Families that play together stay together, especially when their play is uplifting and wholesome. Family vacations, holidays, birthday celebrations, and other activities build strong bonds and feelings of self-worth. The phrase “Remember when we…” is sure to bring love and laughter in the years to come.” -Unknown

"Be a storehouse of happy memories." -Gretchen Rubin

"Let us open wide the windows of our hearts, that each family member may feel welcome and ‘at home.” -Thomas S. Monson

"The family – that dear octopus from whose tentacles we never quite escape, nor, in our inmost hearts, ever quite wish to." -Dodie Smith

"Our family is a circle of strength and love, with every birth and every union, the circle will grow, every joy shared adds more love, every crisis faced together, makes the circle stronger." -Unknown

“I grew up with six brothers. That’s how I learned to dance -waiting for the bathroom.” -Bob Hope

"Our most treasured family heirlooms are our sweet family memories.” -Unknown

“Our most basic instinct is not for survival but for family. Most of us would give our own life for the survival of a family member, yet we lead our daily life too often as if we take our family for granted.” -Paul Pearshall

“Nobody has ever before asked the nuclear family to live all by itself in a box the way we do. With no relatives, no support, we’ve put it in an impossible situation.” -Margaret Mead

When you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses. -Joyce Brothers

“The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together.” -Erma Bombeck

Family Heritage and Genealogy Quotes

I trace my family history so I will know who to blame.
-Unknown

"The measure of a woman’s character is not what she gets from her ancestors, but what she leaves her descendants." -Unknown

"He who plants a tree plants hope." – Lucy Laroom

"Genealogy, n. An account of one’s descent from an ancestor who did not particularly care to trace his own. " -Ambrose Bierce

“When our hearts turn to our ancestors, something changes inside us. We feel part of something greater than ourselves. Our inborn yearnings for family connections are fulfilled when we are linked to our ancestors…” -Russell M. Nelson

"We are who we are because they were who they were. . ." Unknown

“Genealogists never die, they just lose their roots.” -Unknown

“If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.” -George Bernard Shaw

"If you don’t recount your family history, it will be lost. Honor your own stories and tell them too. The tales may not seem very important, but they are what binds families and makes each of us who we are. " -Madeleine Engle

What greater thing is there for human souls than to feel that they are joined for life – to be with each other in silent unspeakable memories.”
- George Eliot

Genealogy: A hay stack full of needles. It’s the threads I need.              -Unknown

“Every man is a quotation from all his ancestors.”  -Ralph Waldo Emerson

"To our children, we give two things, one is roots, the other is wings." -Unknown

Genealogy: Collecting dead relatives and sometimes a live cousin!        -Unknown

"To forget one’s ancestors is to be a brook without a source, a tree without a root." -Chinese proverb

Genealogy: Where you confuse the dead and irritate the living.            -Unknown

"The kind of ancestors we had is not as important as the kind descendants or ancestors have." -Unknown

“Research: What I’m doing, when I don’t know what I’m doing.”           -Unknown

“Take nothing but ancestors, leave nothing but records. “                      -Unknown

“A family tree can wither if nobody tends it’s roots.” -Unknown           

“When we die we become ‘stories’ in the minds of other people.” -Unknown

“We all grow up with the weight of history on us. Our ancestors dwell in the attics of our brains as they do in the spiraling chains of knowledge hidden in every cell of our bodies.”
- Shirley Abbott

“Heredity: Everyone believes in it until their children act like fools!” Unknown

“Kinship: it’s all relative!” -Unknown

“When you search for ancestors, you find great friends! “ -Unknown

“Still trying to decorate my family tree. “ -Unknown

“It’s hard to be humble with ancestors like mine!” -Unknown

Funny Family Reunion Quotes

"There is no such thing as "fun for the whole family."-Jerry Seinfeld

“Humans are not proud of their ancestors, and rarely invite them round to dinner. -Douglas Adams”

“You Might Be a Redneck If…Your family tree does not fork.”
-Jeff Foxworthy

“Any family tree produces some lemons, some nuts and a few bad apples.” -Unknown

"Some family trees have beautiful leaves, and some have just a bunch of nuts. Remember, it is the nuts that make the tree worth shaking." -Unknown

Shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall! -Author Unknown

“Friends come and go, but relatives tend to accumulate.” -Author Unknown

“I don’t have to look up my family tree, because I know that I’m the sap.” –Fred Allen

“Always be nice to your children because they are the ones who will choose your rest home.” -Phyllis Diller

“My childhood should have taught me lessons for my own parenthood, but it didn’t because parenting can be learned only by people who have no children.” -Bill Cosby

“Important families are like potatoes. The best parts are underground." -Francis Bacon

“I think my family tree is a few branches short of full bloom.” -Author Unknown

“A family reunion is an effective form of birth control.” -Author Unknown

“A family is a unit composed not only of children but of men, women, an occasional animal, and the common cold.” –Ogden Nash

“If you ever start feeling like you have the goofiest, craziest, most dysfunctional family in the world, all you have to do is go to a state fair. Because five minutes at the fair, you’ll be going, ‘you know, we’re alright. We are dang near royalty. “ -Jeff Foxworthy

“Never let an angry sister comb your hair.” – Patricia McCann

“Parents are not interested in justice; they’re interested in peace and quiet.” – Bill Cosby.

“My family is really boring. They have a coffee table book called ‘Pictures We Took Just to Use Up the Rest of the Film.” Penelope Lombard

"Reunion after long separation is even better than one’s wedding night." -Chinese Proverb

“Every family tree has some sap in it.” -Author Unknown

Aunt MO

…After all, all he did was string together a lot of old well-known quotations. - H.L. Mencken on Shakespeare

Annual Proclamations and Observances

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I just became aware of three official proclamations pertaining to family reunions and thought it was interesting that there are basically three “official” family reunion month.

Make your family reunion official by issuing an official proclamation. You can ask for a proclamation from your city for many reasons including the date of your family reunion. You could ask that the day of your reunion be declared, “Wells Family Reunion Day” or “Stewart” Family Reunion Day.

Use a proclamation to recognize an ancestor or a special family member. Dignitaries are anxious to grant such requests especially if the family has a long history of service in the community. Some communities will even dedicate a week to your special event, cause or industry.  Reads more about obtaining an official proclamation for your family reunion here.

 Family Reunion Month A Proclamation in 1985 To raise awareness of a growing trend of runaway children and newly formed organizations to help reunite families of runaways the Congress, by House Joint Resolution 64, has designated the period between Mother’s Day, May 12, and Father’s Day, June 16, 1985, as "Family Reunion Month" and authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this period.

National Family Reunion Month While some commercial enterprises have dubbed August as National Family Reunion Month many social groups including churches observe National Family Reunion Month in the month of July.

Annual Family Reunion Planning Month A family awareness group with a focus on genealogy and traditional family reunion planning established in 2005 named November as "Annual Family Reunion Planning Month". Mark A. Askew, Founder, Legendary Heritage Heirlooms, "Family Reunion Planning Month." (November, annual monthly family reunion awareness observance)

Do’s and Don’t for Large Group Game Playing

 DSC05388Don’t plan games that make people feel uncomfortable mentally or physically

Don’t force people to participate.

Don’t allow “leaders” to choose sides.  This will lead to hurt feelings and discouragement.  At one of our family reunions we had everyone put their name in a hat and then we drew out names to make teams- what a disaster.  It took forever to get people to put their names in the hat and then everyone was so noisy they couldn’t hear whose name had been drawn.  Try this idea for choosing teams.  Line your family up tallest to smallest and count off into as many teams as needed.  If you need four teams count one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four etc.   For variation use Colors–Red-Blue, Red-Blue, etc. or by first letter of their name (not their last name if you are at a family reunion- veryone might be on the same team.)

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Another idea for separating into teams is to pass out cloth hair elastics for people to wear around their wrists to designate whose team they are on and you still keep some amount of control over whose team people are on.

Do keep the instructions for the games as simple as possible.

Do keep control of the game.  Explain the rules and demonstrate the procedure if necessary but after that stick with the rules.  Children are notorious for wanting to change the rules especially if they have played some other variation of the game before.  Explain that there are many different ways to play the game but that your family is playing it by the rules you’ve already explained.

Do have a back up plan and be ready to improvise if necessary.

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Do vary activities.  Even if your family is enjoying the game don’t let it go on too long.  The idea is to stop while everyone is at the peak of fun then waiting until interest is waning.

Do plan circle games.  To separate into two circles make one big circle then break in half, having each half become a circle of its own.

Do have more than one game leader.  If you have more than one game leader you can take turns leading the games.  That gives leaders time to prepare their props and get their game ready while the family is playing the current game.

For fun family reunion games click here.

Aunt MO

By the time the fool has learned the game, the players have dispersed

African Proverb quotes

Silly Getting to Know You Game

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When planning your next family reunion or party you will want to plan some fun “getting to know you” games. Here’s a fun idea to get to know a little more about your relative.

Wrap a gift of some kind that would be fun for any family member at your reunion or party. preferably something that goes along with your family reunion theme.

You don’t need to sit in a circle or in any organized order. In fact, you can play this game as you are eating a meal or waiting for an activity to begin. The important thing is that everyone can hear the poem as you read it so they can pass the gift around as directed.

The following verses are just ideas to use for your poem. You can easily write your own verses and even target specific members at your family reunion.

Getting To Know You Poem

Take this gift-now don’t be shy!
Give it to someone with blue eyes.

Yes, you are the lucky one
But give the gift to someone who has a teenage son!

Look around from seat to seat
And give it to one whose cooking can’t be beat.

Some of us are tiny and small
but give the gift to the one most tall!

Next look for someone that has the newest wife
and give it to the love of his life.

Birthdays come and birthdays go
Give this gift to the oldest person you know.

Don’t let the gift get out of sight
Give it to the person sitting on your right.

The longest hair will win it now
If you have long hair, step up and bow

The gift goes to someone with a college degree
a good education pays off we can all agree.

The one with the most buttons of any kind
Will get passed the gift right now, this time.

We should stop now, it’s really time
The gift is yours to keep and everything is fine!

You’ll find lots of fun ice breaker games here

Aunt MO

“The grass isn’t greener on the ‘other side’, the grass isn’t greener on your side. It’s Greener where you water it.”

10 Fun Family Reunion Ideas- part 1

I’m not going to say these are my “Top Ten” family reunion ideas but if I made a “Top Ten list these ideas would certainly be in the running.  However, if I had to choose my number one favorite family reunion idea it just might be #1 in this list- the Cat-Eye Hike!

Family Reunion Idea #1- CAT-EYE HIKE

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This is a hike that is best done when it is very dark. Cut cat’s-eye shapes from reflective tape, available at bike stores or RV stores. It is best to set up your hike the night before guiding groups on the hike. Put cat eyes on markers or apply cat eyes to index cards and then use the cards to mark the trail.   You can find more information about Cat-Eye Hikes in the “Caveman” family reunion theme in the family reunion helper store.

Family Reunion Idea #2- BEADS!

Oh how I love beads- pony bead to be exact.  When used as rewards they are great motivators.  We have used beads as rewards at “Boot Camp” and “Beach” themed family reunions.  Award beads when family members complete certain tasks or activities.

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Family Reunion Idea 3- “A GAME OF CLUE”

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Murder Mystery Game for Your Family Reunion. This is a family friendly murder mystery game that has been simplified so that it will work for most ages at your family reunion. If you want to make it more difficult you will need to make adjustments to the clues. It is very important to have a practice with your cast before you present the game. (We practiced for about an hour and went through the scenes three times working out all the details) I sent the cast a copy of the script about a month before our family reunion and asked them to get their own costumes and props. I did not tell them who committed the crime until the practice. Most of our actors used their scripts and did not memorize their parts.

This murder mystery game includes the script, score cards, character name tags and lots of pictures for costume ideas and is available as  free download at http://familyreunionhelper.com/a_game_of_clue.php

Family Reunion Idea #4- WHEEL OF DOOM

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For a girls camp my daughter attended, she was asked to create a “Wheel of Doom”.  The idea was that the girls would spin the wheel to determine what kind of utensil they would eat with for dinner.  The girls had so much fun with the wheel that we decided to use it at our family reunion.   We used it several times and the family loves it every time!

Our Wheel of Doom is made out of piece of particle board.   You can easily change the wheel to fit whatever your family reunion theme is.  We printed off pictures that go along with each category  and taped them to the wheel.  You can even repaint the wheel for each reunion theme.  For instance we painted the board in different camouflage colors for the Boot Camp family reunion and we painted it with glitter paint for the Medieval family reunion.   As you can see, our wheel is not too fancy but it’s given us some fun and SUSPENFUL moments at our family reunions.  It’s fun to watch the children as they anxiously wait to see where the arrow will land. 

You can read more  about the “Wheel of Doom” on Aunt Mo’s blog at http://familyreunionhelper.com/blog/2010/03/wheel-of-doom/

Family Reunion Idea #5- HERITAGE COLORING BOOK

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Make a family heritage coloring book about the life of one of your ancestors.  If you’re an artist then this is probably going to be a fun and easy project for you but if you have little artistic ability then this can be quite a challenge.  To make my Heritage Coloring books I searched through old coloring books, magazines and of course the web to find “pioneerish” looking pictures and adapted my story to the pictures.  Although a Heritage coloring book is a lot of work it is a wonderful way to share the story of your ancestor’s life’s with the younger ones in your family.  You can find more information about about Heritage coloring books and resources for making one in the “Heritage” family reunion theme by clicking here.

More Family Birthday Party Ideas

When my Dad turned 70 we wanted to have a special  celebration.  He didn’t want anything elaborate for this milestone birthday so we decided to have an intimate family party.  My Dad loves M&M’s so that became the theme for our family birthday party. 

m & M M & M’s are a fun party theme- the colors are bright and the shape is simple so it’s easy to make party decorations.  Here’s some ideas:

Use all different M&M colors for party ware. Mix the colors for plates, napkins, cups, table covers, etc.  We put containers of mini  M & M’s on each person’s plate.

We made a huge poster imitating a bag of M & M’s.    It was a fun idea and easy to make because- M & M’s are CIRCLES!! Use colored paper plates, write an "M" on them and attach to the wall or glue two plates together;flat sides touching. When dry, punch a hole at the top edge of the plates. Use fishing line to hang them from the ceiling or use coordinating colors of curling ribbon.

Use any M&M decorations you can find. We found fun M & M helium balloons.  M&M makes tons of fun things  to decorate with.  A great idea that was fun for our family party was the little plush M & M guys that you can see sitting on the table in the picture.  We used them as prizes for the games and activities we had.  Other fun prize ideas are small packages of  M & M candy.

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A simple idea for dessert is a large M & M cake.  (There’s that simple circle thing again!) Bake a cake in a round pan and frost in a bright M & M color.  Using a “star” tip  put a large “m” on the cake.  We served ours with M & M ice cream.  Cupcakes decorated as M & M’s is another fun idea.

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Fun Activity Ideas:

Have a jar full of M&Ms and the guests must guess the correct number. Whoever is closest, win the jar!

You can find free printable M & M coloring pages for the younger ones in your family at Coloring Pages.

If you play games with teams have “red” vs “green” or “plain” vs “peanuts” etc.

M & M Scattergories: This is a great word-type game idea.  To play give guests a minute or two to name as many things in a certain category as possible (2 minutes to write down animals beginning with the letter M, things with wheels that begin with the letter M or flowers that begin with the letter M etc.  (You get the idea) You can divide your family into teams. The team with the most answers in a category wins a point. The team with the most over-all points wins the game.

M & M Dice Game: You will need a straw and paper plate for everyone that is participating, M&M’s, a large bowl, and a pair of dice. Everyone sits in a circle.

Fill the bowl with M&M’s. Pick a person to start and hand them the bowl. To the person on their left, hand the dice and the box top. On your mark, the person with the dice starts rolling. The person with the M&M’s starts sucking up M&M’s with the straw as quickly as they can and setting them on their plate. As soon as the dice roller hits doubles, the M&M’s get passed to them, and the dice are passed to the next person. Continue around the circle until all the M&M’s are gone or for an allotted time.

When we have played this game at family reunions we split into groups of about 8 players and have several games going on at a time.

For more great birthday party ideas for your family reunion or family get together check out our latest product “When You Were My Age”. at Family Reunion Helper.

Aunt MO

Why did the teenager get fired from the M&M factory?
She threw away all the candy with W’s on them. :-)

Our Family Reunion is Going Green

 

image We had our annual family reunion planning meeting and we all agreed- it’s time to “Go Green”! Since this is a new thing for our family reunion we planned to make changes to our reunion by using the  Three R’s of Going Green- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Reduce or prevent waste to reduce greenhouse gases by using less and throwing away less. Instead of using lots of paper and plastic products we are going to use mesh “dunk” bags and each family member at our reunion will wash their own dishes.

To do this, we are assigning each person to bring their own mesh bag, utensils, plate, bowl and cup to our family reunion.  After each meal, we will fill three dishpans with water. In one we will put liquid detergent, bleach in the other and leave the final bin full of clear water. Each family member will then wash their dishes in the detergent water, then the bleach water and finally the clear water.  All wet dishes be put in a mesh bag and then hung on a line outside.

Mesh Dunk bags are available at  http://www.outdoorpros.com/ for under $4.00 or may be available at your local dollar store.

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Reuse products by giving them to other people who want or need them instead of throwing them away.

It seems we are always finding half full water bottles at our family reunion.  This year we are making plans to reuse water bottles.  Family members will write their name on each water bottle and then refill it with water from coolers when it is empty.  We’re hoping that one bottle a day is all that each person will need.

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Recycle items made of materials such as glass, metal, plastic, or paper.

We have always collected empty aluminum cans for recycling at our family reunions but this year we’re planning to add other items to our recycling list.  At our 2011 family reunion we will also include a container for paper and one for plastic.

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I know that there are other ideas we could use to “Go Green” at our family reunion but I feel pretty good about the three changes we are planning on implementing in 2011. 

Aunt MO

"Today’s mighty oak is just yesterday’s nut that held its ground."
- Anonymous

Clever Ice Breaker Game Idea

This is a fun idea for an ice breaker game for your next  family reunion or family party.  It is even a fun idea for a work, school or church function.

Divide into groups of about 10.  The groups work together to determine the  total amount of points they have  earned.  Each team will need a team captain and recorder. 

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You can make up your own list of points but here are a few ideas to get  you started.

1.  Counting January as one point, February as two points and so on, add up the total points of your group.

2. Score one point for each college attended.

3. Score one point for every button on each shirt.

4. Total number of pennies teammates have in their pockets.

5. Total of all sizes added together- one shoe only per person.

6.  Hair color score- Black hair- 2 points, Brown hair- 1 point, Red hair- 3  points, Grey hair- 5 points, Blonde- 1 point

7. Five points for everyone that is  wearing glasses, 2 points for contacts.

8. One point for every child each person has, twins- 5 points, triplets- 10 points.

9. Minus 1 point for every soda or pop consumed.  Plus 1 point for every glass or bottle of water.

10. 1 point for everyone that is wearing a watch.

Add up the total of points each team has and award prizes to the team that has the “most” points, “least” points, “most unorganized” etc.

Keeping in Touch When the Reunion is Over

All good things must come to an end, but saying goodbye at the end of your family reunion doesn’t mean you have to wait until next year’s reunion to visit with your favorite cousin. In today’s high tech world it’s pretty simple to keep in touch through emails, web pages and social networking. Why just this month I learned, through social media, that Cousin Bobbie has a new car, Cousin Lindsey is having dog problems and I don’t dare say who… is expecting another baby.

Take Advantage of Email

clip_image002E-mail is a great way to send a spontaneous note. People love to catch up on the latest family news, and you’ll find that they will reply to your message more often than not!

It’s hard to beat the convenience, and cost savings of sending emails when planning your family reunion. You do have to be sensitive to those that haven’t yet discovered email and be sure they aren’t kept out of the loop.

Online Chat
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A unique way to plan your family reunion and to keep everyone up to date on reunion plans is to invite your relatives (or those who can participate) to join in an online family chat. It’s easy to set up a private chat room on America Online just by going to People Connection and selecting Private Room. Tell everyone the name of your room and when you plan on "talking." Use the chat to plan the event and the details of travel. Roundtable chats are also an excellent way to keep in touch after everyone returns home. Other chat options are Google Talk, Skype, Yahoo Instant Messenger or MSN Live, a Microsoft program. Talk to family members at your next family reunion and find out what chat method will work best for them when planning your family reunion.

Family Newsletter

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A family newsletter is a great way to keep in touch with each other between reunions. A monthly newsletter is great but often difficult to keep up with. A quarterly newsletter can be a better option. Ask family members to email information about family activities and upcoming events such as weddings, baptisms and births. Include information about your upcoming family reunion. A family newsletter is a great family reunion planning tool. To save on postage expenses only mail your newsletters to family members that don’t have email.

Family Webpage

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By creating a website for your family, you can share special events such as birthdays, graduations, family reunions and parties. A family webpage can also be a great place for family reunion planning and to share ideas. For a family webpage to be successful family members have to be committed to participating by checking the site regularly and contributing to conversations.

You might consider using websites such as Carepages, Caringbridge, www.mygreatbigfamily.com or Blogger for your family webpage. They need very little computer knowledge to "operate", yet provide an excellent forum for families communicate and to send out family reunion planning updates.

Technology has changed how we keep in touch. Studies have shown that almost half of the baby boomer generation is on social networking sites, and 31 percent say the first time they saw photos of a new grandchild or family member was through the internet. Two-thirds of boomers, or about 64 percent, E-mail friends and family more frequently than they call them on the phone. The internet helps us be more connected to loved ones and when used appropriately can help with family reunion planning and distributing reunion information.

Aunt MO

“Trees without roots fall over.”