5 Things Reunion Planners Should Stop Doing-Now!

Stop Sending Invitations Through  Snail  Mail

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For more than a century, the mailbox and the rotary dial phone were how we communicated.  But times have changed, we no longer have eight track tapes, floppy disks,  typewriters and . no one is using shorthand.  Family reunion planners should embrace the advances in technology when sending invitations and keeping  in  touch with family members.

I’m all for sending thank you cards, Christmas and birthday cards and wedding announcements by sail mail but when it comes  to family reunion invitations and flyers using email and texts just makes sense.

First off, consider the cost, at almost 50 cents for a stamp, the cost of mailing every family an invitation adds up quickly, especially if you have a large family.  Also factor in the cost of paper and ink to  print it on  or the cost  of taking your  invitations to a print  shop  to have them professionally printed.  You also need to figure in  the labor involved, sorting, stapling ,folding and putting  your  invitations into envelopes.

A reunion  planner can sit at her computer, compose a quick message, or create a beautiful custom invitation and send it off to the entire reunion family in a matter of seconds. No stamp is required, no trip to the  post office,  and no time is taken to physically fold, staple and lick. Just send it out and your whole family can be reading  it in a matter of minutes.

Our family has enjoyed sharing our family news and information on our family Facebook page and I know some families that have created their own family websites.  Both are convenient, instant and inexpensive ways to keep in touch.

However email isn’t perfect, Grandma and Grandpa and great Aunts and Uncles may still need a  physical invitation that arrives in their mailbox but using the latest technology is a great tool for reunion planners. 

Stop trying to do everything yourself

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This one is huge.  As a reunion planner you have enough to do without  worrying about every detail of your reunion.  Form a committee and give out assignments or if working solo, make a list of activities and give out assignments.  A simple way to make assignments is by family group.

There are 6 children in my husband’s family.  They are all over 60 years old now and have adult children of their own.  For most reunions, each family group receives an assignment to do an activity and plan and cook a meal.  When my family is given an assignment my children help with the planning and implementing of that assignment.

The theme of our last reunion was, “Game On”.  Every family group  was in charge of a JUMBO sized family game.  Our game was one of 6 games we played at the reunion and one of 6 activities the reunion planner didn’t have to worry about.

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Many years ago, we planned a “Cruise” themed reunion.  Each of the family groups choose a port of call and planned activities and a meal that represented the culture of that port.  Because there was six families, we sailed to six countries including Mexico, Alaska, Africa and Paris, France.

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 Stop spending your own money

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No matter how much you love each other, it still costs money to hold a family reunion.
You may charge reunion goers a fee for attending their reunion or you may ask them to donate food or other supplies but if you are a reunion planner I guarantee that you are spending your own money (Probably more than you think) to make your reunion  successful. 

For many families, putting someone (or a committee) over managing the money is a huge help.  This person should be  responsible  for all things money including any fund raising that takes  place.

Our family does a family auction to help with reunion expenses.  The responsibility for the auction including encouraging family members to bring donations  to  be auctioned  off  is up to  our reunion financial  guru.  She keeps track of all winning  bids and  collects the money.  She  also deposits the cash in  our family reunion bank account and  pays all the  bills. It’s one last thing the reunion planner needs to worry about.

Every reunion organizer needs a notebook to  record every purchase they make for the reunion. Glue an envelope in the back of your notebook for keeping receipts and at the completion of your reunion, review your purchases and submit your receipts to the money manager. 

Keep in mind that the purchases you make are made with  precious funds and  take care to spend wisely but if there doesn’t seem to be enough funds for one  of your activities unless you pay for it then it’s  time  to cut it from  the list. 

Stop worrying About Those that don’t attend the Reunion

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When you’re the  one  that  has  worked so  hard to plan  and implement  a reunion  it’s pretty hard to not take it  personally when someone tells you they can’t  attend.

Over the last 40 years of family reunions I have heard  some   pretty ridiculous reasons /excuses that someone can’t attend a family reunion but I’ve also learned that if someone doesn’t want  to come to the  reunion they’re just  not  going to come, no matter what you say  or do to change  their mind.  The reason they give you for not attending may have nothing to do with the  real reason  they’re not coming.

Focus instead on all  the wonderful people that come to the  reunion- cousin  Toby that planned his wedding so that his  anniversary would never  fall on the reunion weekend and Aunt Jean and Uncle Mack who save their work vacation every year so that they can attend.  Those are the people that need your attention and perhaps you’ll see some of the non-attenders next year when they hear how much fun everyone had at the reunion  they missed.

To encourage attendance at the next reunion, send out a nice,  personalized email or text to those that didn’t attend letting them know that they were missed.

have very strong memories of being around my extended family while I was growing up. It was so meaningful to the older generation to sit around talking and spending time together. Seeing someone’s child, the extension of your family play and run with other family members was a joyful and celebrating occasion.

There was a time when people felt such a connection to their family that even though they may have moved to another city or state, they still longed for home.

In past years, when I attended family reunions we end up divided into groups of people that we associate with on a regular basis anyway, and never get to know distant cousins and other relatives who have traveled great distances to be here, so what’s the point?

11. (Enter name) will be there and I refuse to be in the same room, let alone city with that..

I can’t justify spending (enter amount) dollars to travel across the country to spend time with people I will not see or hear from again until the next family reunion.

To have a strong family, we have to be a strong family member. We can’t sit back and say what someone else isn’t doing when we aren’t doing those very things ou

reunions can be an opportunity to solidify or even create important boundaries that have been ignored or neglected in the past. One way to do that in advance is to remind a spouse, sibling, in-law or parent if you’ve told them something you want kept private from other family members.  Another is to set ground rules with your spouse about maintaining a united front in discussions about your marriage, child-raising, financial status, or any sensitive topics that are just between the two of you.

They may come next year when  they hear how much everyone else had.

Don’t Reinvent the wheel

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We live in an age when everyone is sharing their expertise and experiences on the internet. 

AmazingReunion.com is a simple free online service helping people plan their next family reunion. They can help with registration, hotel reservations and collecting fees.

Familyreunionhelper.com is a website that offers reunion theme packages that are packed full of reunion ideas- activities, games, recipes, printables and templates that take a lot of the “planning” out of reunion planning.

Glean from  the experiences of others when organizing your reunion.  Talk with friends and work associates,  find out what their favorite family reunions are. The  experiences of others is a great jumping  off  point for creating the  perfect reunion for your family. 

Planning a family reunion is a huge responsibility for reunion planners but as you work through the reunion process keep in mind the reason you’re having a reunion.  Don’t wait for a funeral to get together, plan a reunion where your family and  play and have fun together. The work you do will assure  that children will get to know their distant cousins and is a way for families to reconnect with their roots and find a sense of belonging.

Family Reunion Helper Is Having a Sale!

We’re celebrating the surviving the family reunion season off by offering 20% off our reunion theme packages.vista

Yay, we did it! The “official” family reunion season has come to an end and we survived!  To celebrate, FAMILY REUNION HELPER IS HAVING A SALE IN THEIR ETSY SHOP! Follow the link below to receive 20% off any reunion theme package.This even includes the wildly popular Family Reunion Brag Badges! But hurry, sale ends September 15th, 2020 .

https://www.etsy.com/shop/FamilyReunionHelper…

Family Reunion Brag Badges

The Ultimate “Getting to Know You” Game for Your Family Reunion

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A family reunion “Brag Badge” is a small tag, somewhat resembling a “military dog tag” that represents the hobbies, interests, occupations and accomplishments of members of your family.

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Collecting Brag Badges is so much fun that quite often children in  the family will see a badge they want to earn and they’ll run off looking for a family member that will help them earn badge they desire and they’ll connect with a new cousin, aunt or uncle or be surprised by the accomplishments or interests of a favorite relative.

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With Brag Badges, family members will  have fun discovering their relatives that love ice cream, pizza and dancing.  They’ll find relatives  that drive trucks, teach school and relatives that have been to Hawaii. They’ll find relatives that are Eagle Scouts,  Veterans and couples that have been married for 50 years.  They’ll discover relatives that share their same  birth month, like to  read, play baseball and so much more. IMG_0507 (2)

Brag Badges are a perfect way for your family to to show off their interests, talents and achievements and are great way for family members to get to know each other!

When I use Brag Badges at a family reunion I require that badges are signed before they can be earned so that family members will always remember who the relative was that helped them earn the badge. 

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I display my brag badges at our family reunions in needle craft organizers you can purchase by following the link below. I like to leave the badges on a table and let reunion goers supervise themselves. You can purchase the needlepoint cases in the Family Reunion Store. If using all of the badges included in this download you will need to purchase several cases.

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The graphics on these badges are so cute your family will love them!  Over 60 different “Brag Badges” are included in this digital download- all in bright COLOR!  There are 4 of each design but you can print as many copies as you need- depending on the size of your family. You don’t need one of each design for everyone in your family- it makes badges more valuable if the the number is limited.

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Print the Brag Badges on card stock, laminate, cut and  punch a hole in the top of each badge.  The hole is  for the ball bead chain  to  wear around your neck and to display the Brag Badge discoveries you have made.  You can  purchase 50 chains in the Family Reunion Helper store for less than $8.00.

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This fun family reunion resource includes over 60 brag badges in color and printer friendly version. Brag Badges help family members connect in a way they will never forget.  You can purchase a complete set of Brag Badges in  the Family Reunion Helper Store

Family Reunion Helper is Having a Sale!

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FAMILY REUNION HELPER IS HAVING A SALE IN THEIR ETSY SHOP!
Until midnight tonight, you can purchase any family reunion theme package using our special ETSY coupon.

Follow the link below to receive $5.00 off any reunion theme package.

FIVEOFF coupon 

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Shrink, Shrank, Shrunk

ShRink Art for Your Family  Reunion

I’ve been a Shrinky Dink  fan  for probably 30 years or better, way before they had the fancy kits they have now.  When  I  first started making Shrinky DInks we called them  Shrink  Art and we used either plain sheets of plastic or clean or  clear #6 plastic we got from the bakery.

In case you don’t know what I’m talking  about, Shrink Art is made with thin plastic sheets that shrink down about 45% when you put them in the oven. Not only does the material shrink, but whatever artwork you draw/print on them will also shrink with it. So, you can draw and color a design in  it’s  large form  where it is easy to see and work  with  and then shrink it down so  it is more the size of a charm or an ornament.

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I love to use shrink art for family reunions and parties.  They make great dog tags, charms, pins and beads. Our Oz inspired family reunion includes a template to be used with Shrink Art.  We had so much  fun making the dog tags and our family  loved wearing them  during the reunion.

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To make Shrink Art,preheat your oven  to 325 degrees Fahrenheit

Trace your design on the plastic using a   permanent marker such as a Sharpie marker.   You can draw your own design or trace a  clip art picture you  found  on the internet or use a coloring  page.

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Color your picture with permanent markers or colored pencils. If your plastic has a rough side,  color on  that side.

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Cut out your picture and if you will be putting it on a string or chain punch a hole in it.  You will not  be able  to make any holes  or cuts once your  picture has baked as it will be too thick.

Line a cookie sheet or tray with foil or baking paper. Arrange your pictures,color side up on the tray.

Bake in  the oven for 3- 5 minutes.  Keep your  eye on  them as they bake (that’s half the fun).  At first your pictures will curl up but don’t panic, they will flatten out again.  Once they flatten out bake for a few more seconds then remove from the oven.  If they aren’t quite flat you can flatten them by  pressing them a little more with a hot  pad or wooden  spoon.

When  cooled remove them from the pan  and you’re ready to use and enjoy your Shrink  Art.

The Shrinky Dinks brand makes some fun pre-printed designs that you can  purchase if you want to try out the process before striking out on your own.  You can purchase the pre- printed Shrinky Dink designs or sheets of plain Shrinky Dink plastic by following the  link below. 

 

What is a Reunion Theme Package?

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At Familyreunionhelper.com we sell reunion  theme  packages.  What’s a theme package you ask?  Most of our digital downloads include 45 or more pages of invitations, name tags, water bottle labels, games,activities, templates and printables that compliment the theme you have chosen.

The following is an  example of a name tag from our Heritage Reunion.

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This cute invitation is from our Circus reunion.  Just print it off and then fill  in the blanks with  your personalized reunion information.

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Our Caveman reunion invitation is sure to get the kids excited about attending all the prehistoric fun.

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Water bottle labels are a wonderful  way to address your reunion theme and if everyone writes their name on the label, bottles don’t get mixed up or lost as easily.

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Our theme packages also include pages and pages or games and activities that go along with the theme you’ve chosen.  You can spend hours searching the web for your ideas but these have been tried and tested and we know they work.  Here’s a page from our Superhero reunion.

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Our reunion  theme packages include tons of extras like these certificates from  our Medieval Reunion and printable signs from our “No Place Like Home”, Oz inspired reunion.

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Each of our reunion theme packages includes printable games and puzzles that go along with your theme. Like this  Valentine’s game that is part of our “Home for the Holidays” reunion.

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Our reunion  themes also include food ideas that compliment your theme.  Check out this recipe for “Parrot” (tastes a lot like chicken”)- it serves 100.

Barbeque Captain’s “Parrot”

Serves 100.

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2 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 ounces dehydrated onions
7 pounds 3 ounces catsup
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 pound 8 ounces brown sugar, packed
48 pounds chicken, cut-up

For barbecue sauce: Simmer chicken stock and onions over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add catsup, garlic powder, and brown sugar. Simmer 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently. Set aside.

Rinse chicken in cold water. Drain well. Arrange 25 pieces of chicken on each sheet pan (18 x 26 x 1 inch). Brush 3/4 to 1 quart of barbecue sauce over chicken in each pan. Bake uncovered until tender, checking frequently. Cook in conventional oven at 425 degrees F for 45 minutes.

Many of our themes have printable food tents like our Western  Reunion food tent featured here.

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We’ve tried to think  of everything we could to make your reunion planning  easier and  less stressful.  Check out Family Reunion  Helper.com today and choose the reunion  theme package that best suites your family.  You can be sure that each package is jammed packed of ideas, game, activities and printables to get your creative juices flowing. Click on our logo below and follow the link.

FamilyReunionHelper

The Ultimate Guide For Choosing a Family Reunion Theme

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Excite family members by using a reunion theme!

Are you looking for a way to excite family members and stir up interest about your next family reunion? Choosing a reunion theme is a great way to build excitement for upcoming and make it more likely family members will want to attend. clip_image004

A reunion invitation that invites you to a “Prehistoric” reunion for Brontosaurs burgers and a dinosaur egg hunt is more interesting than an invitation that invites you to a family reunion at “the park” for hamburgers.

A reunion theme helps to drive your reunion and with a little imagination food, games, activities, invitations and just about every other aspect of the reunion becomes a memorable event.

 

clip_image006Themes are inexpensive to implement and can inspire the creative side of many members in your family. Ask for their theme ideas, brainstorm and see what they come up with. Our best family reunion themes have come from brainstorming about themes. When a “Caveman”, Mafia and Oz theme were suggested in one of our brainstorming sessions I was kind of worried about what we would do but those themes are some of our favorites and have left us with some amazing reunion memories. Below are just a few family reunion themes that you may want to consider for your next family event.

All- Sport or Olympic Themed Reunion

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Get away from a boring sit around and just visit family reunion and jump into some action-packed fun with an All-sport or Olympic themed family reunion.

Activities- Soccer, volleyball, “whiffle” ball, Whacky miniature golf. Hold a cheerleader camp for the girls in your family and a sports camp for the boys. Go bowling or hold a family 5K. Give a family reunion MVP award.  For fun variations of these favorite sports- whiffle ball, soccer, bowling, swimming and volleyball plus lots of great ideas for your sports themed reunion.

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Food- Smoothies, “Breakfast of Champions” or “Long Jump” lunch hoagies.

Wear– Favorite team jerseys and t-shirt. Make a family t-shirt fashioned after a sports jersey.

Decorations: Pom, poms, pennants, sports balls, sports posters and plastic tablecloths.

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Olympic Reunion
Family History or Family Heritage Reunion

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If your family reunion is held near where the family originated, then schedule a trip to the old family homestead, church or cemetery. You can use this as an opportunity to share family memories, or go a step further and recruit the clan to clean up the ancestral cemetery plots or research the family in old church records. Hold your reunion at the family home if available or in the town where one of your ancestors were born, raised, married or buried. You can find more Family History ideas for your family reunion at wwwfamilyreunionhelper.com.

Food – Use an ancestor’s home country as theme for your meals. Use recipes from that county and set tables with a centerpiece of memorabilia and a picture of your ancestor. If your people come from Italy, serve a spaghetti dinner, from Mexico, serve tacos, enchiladas or tamales. Box lunches are a fun idea to share an old-time tradition.

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At our Family Heritage reunion, the girls in the family designed and decorated shoe boxes at home. We provided sandwich fixin’s, individual chip packages, fruit snacks and drink boxes along with cookies for dessert. The girls made lunches for two and put them in their box. We gave each box a number and the guys in the family each drew a number out of hat to determine which lunch they got to eat and which girl they ate lunch with. In a few instances, we had more girls than guys and so doubled up.

Activities – Play “classic” games at your reunion such as “3-legged race, gunny sack race, Annie I Over. Create a huge wall chart of your family so everyone can see how they are related. Take “old-time” photos and have everyone dress up. Make a family “time capsule”.

Dress – In the ethnic costume of your ancestors.

Ancestor Coloring Book- Making a heritage-coloring book about one of your ancestors is clip_image022a monumental task but it’s a wonderful way to make family history come alive for the little ones in your family. If you have an artist in the family, then designing a coloring book will be much easier for you. If you don’t have a talented artist in the family a great resource is http://store.doverpublications.com/by- subject-coloring-books.html.

 Family Heritage Reunion

Sun, Sand and Surf Reunion Theme

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If your reunion is in the summertime then it’s the perfect time for a Sun, Sand & Surf family reunion theme. Merge your beach reunion ideas with your Hawaiian reunion ideas for double the fun.

Invitations: Consider sending “Message in a Bottle” invitations to encourage family members to attend your family reunion or write out your reunion invitation on a beach ball with a permanent marker.

Activities: Sand candles and castles, sand art, volleyball variations and swimming pool games.

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Aquatic Obstacle Course: Use sprinklers, Slip-N-Slides, baby pools, limbo sticks and hula hoops to create an obstacle course for wet and wild reunion fun!

Food: Sub sandwiches, fruit trays, shish kabobs, fruit kabobs, gold fish crackers.

Decorations are easy for a beach themed family reunion. Use beach umbrellas, Beach towels, Beach balls, Paper party lanterns, Paper Palm trees and party lights on a string. travel posters, flowers, straw skirt table. Don’t forget to use pink flamingos in your decorating and be sure to include music from the Beach Boys to round out your reunion theme.

Beach Reunion

Wedding Anniversary or Significant Birthday Family Reunion Theme

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Planning a family reunion around an important wedding anniversary or milestone birthday makes for an easy but memorable family reunion.

Invitation – Put two photos of the honored couple on the invitation: their original wedding photo and a current photo.

Food – Finger foods and a “wedding” cake.

Activities- “When You Were My Age” A Celebration of Life’s Memorable Moments. This is such a fun program, fashioned after a Bill Cosby Show episode and was called, “When Mom Was my Age.” We have done variations of the program for 70th and 80th birthdays and 50th wedding anniversaries. Each time we do “When You Were My Age” everyone is a good sport and excited to be a part of the celebration. Everyone has a part on the program and an opportunity to highlight world events and significant family happenings throughout the life of your loved one. Download the “When You Were My Age” from Family Reunion Helper or write a “This Is Your Life” program for your reunion celebration.

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Decorations –Photos and other various memorabilia of the couple’s life together.

When You Were My Age

Three Ring Circus and Carnival Reunion Theme

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Begin your reunion with a circus parade and invite everyone to dress in fun costumes and march around your reunion site.

Food –Circus food- corn dogs, cotton candy and popcorn.

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Activities – As your family arrives, have then guess how many circus animal cookies or peanuts are in a jar. The person who guesses closest to the actual number wins the jar full of treats. Have a carnival. Assign 6- 10 family members a carnival booth. Children earn prizes at each booth. Face painting, fishing booth, fortune teller, Plinko, Dart Throw etc. Consider renting a bounce house for the little ones in your family. For more ideas check out the family reunion “circus” theme at www.familyreunionhelpercom/

Decorations – Balloons, tents and circus animal cutouts.

Circus Reunion

There’s no place like home- Wizard of Oz Theme inspired theme

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Oz Themed Activities

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Design an obstacle course depicting famous scenes from the movie. Run through a tissue paper poppy field, jump over bale of straw etc. Make bottle tornados and make a yellow brick road out of scrap lumber. Plan an activity that represents each Oz character such as paper plate lions, red glitter shoes and

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Decorations- Make flying monkeys from black poster board and hang around your reunion location. Use rainbow colored tablecloths (one color per table).

Food- “Ding Dong” the witch is dead Ding Dong cakes, rainbow lollypops, Lions, Tigers and Bears animal crackers and melted witch treats.

 

There's No Place Like Home

Western Themed Reunion


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Western Reunion Themed Activities

Make ponies from dollar store pool noodles and have a pool noodle rodeo. Shoot at targets with rubber band guns or pvc pipe bow and arrows. Make a family totem pole or try some line dance.

clip_image056Food- Call the food you serve” vittles”. Have a chili cook off., have a Texas Straw Hat food bar or serve barbeque, spareribs or grilled hamburgers. Use tin pie plates, mason jars with handles and lots of bandanas.

clip_image058Decorations- Put up a large ranch sign at the party entrance. Print off some wanted posters. To make it more fun, get hold of some photos of the guests and put them on the posters. Place some paper or real horseshoes on the path leading to the party entrance. Create a teepee out of a large sheet and some wooden dowels. Create a large cactus out of a cardboard box or even buy some inflatable ones. Cover the party food table in a red and white checkered cloth and hang up a sign saying “SALOON”.

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Western Family Reunion

PSYCH! A Multiplayer Game For Your Phone and… Your Family Reunion

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I recently attended my nieces wedding,  luncheon and reception. Everything was beautiful and I loved being part of the festivities but like most weddings and such there is a lot of downtime for those of us who are basically spectators.  During one of these downtimes my brother introduced us to  a fun  game you can  play on your phone that involves everyone.

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The name of the game is Psych!  Choose from a variety of fun categories in which each player makes up fake answers to real trivia questions.

According to the games own  description-  the idea behind the game is to get together with a bunch of friends and answer ridiculous trivia questions. The catch is, the multiple choices you’re given include the correct answer as well as a bunch of incorrect answers which are provided by the other players. So, say for instance the question popped up of “Who is the Editor in Chief of TouchArcade?” “Eli Hodapp” would be in there somewhere, along with whatever else anyone playing decides to toss into the mix as possible answers.

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Anyone who knows me will understand that, after playing a few rounds of Pysch! with  my family, my “reunion” brain kicked into gear and I immediately began to think of ways to use the game at a family reunion.

Can you imagine how excited the teenagers in  your family would be if you asked them  to get their cellphones for a game they would be playing. Psych! is a clever way to get family members that just  can’t seem set their cellphones  down to join in  a game or activity to participate with the group.

Psych! is also a pretty fun  way  to get to know family members that you see only once a year at the  family reunion.  Some of the  game options give you a real opportunity to see into your cousin’s psyche.

“PSYCH!” is the perfect app for game night, road trips, or even waiting in line. So grab your phones, gather ‘round, and get ready for a gaming experience unlike anything you’ve ever tried!

NOTE:There’s in-game ads as well, which can be removed for $2.99. If you’re just downloading the game to play with a friend (who might have bought a ton of stuff in-game), it’s totally free.

Family Reunion Bingo

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Family reunion bingo is a great ice breaker activity for family reunions or parties of any kind.  I created a family reunion bingo card several years ago that we have used over and over again. I recently received a request to create some variations to the original game and mix things ups a bit.  The competed Bingo game cards are below and ready for you to play.

Family Reunion BINGO- the Basic Game

Give family members a BINGO card and a pencil and allow a few minutes for your family members to mingle as they get signatures in the bingo squares that apply to them. You can only use a person’s signature once on your bingo sheet.  The game can  end at this point with prizes for everyone that completely  fills up their BINGO card or you can take the game a step further.

Family Reunion BINGO Variation

Write everyone’s name on a piece of paper and put it in a hat.   Pull a name out of the hat one at a time and read it out loud. If a person has that name on their sheet they can put an X on that square.  If they don’t have that name they do nothing. Keep drawing names from the hat until someone get a BINGO by competing a row, column, or diagonal with X’s.

I have created 5 variations of my original  BINGO card that you can download and print by clicking on  the file below.

Bingo Card 5

Remembering Loved Ones

Memory Tables for Remembering Loved Ones at Your Next Family Gathering

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A family reunion is a perfect time to remember a special loved one who has passed on.  At more and more reunions, weddings and family gatherings I am seeing beautiful displays dedicated to a special family member that isn’t in attendance.  I especially loved the sentiment in this display my niece put together at our last family reunion to remember my father-in-law.

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Memory tables, or Remembering tables are not large displays such as you would find at a funeral or memorial, they are small and simple table displays to give you pause and a minute to remember your loved one when you see it.

At a reunion you can always decorate the table in the theme of the reunion- the theme for the reunion in the above picture was western so the table was decorated in bandanas and sunflowers.

The most important part of a memorial table is a few photos of the person who has passed but accent those photos with flowers or candles.  Photos can highlight special moments in their life such as childhood, marriage and photos with children and grandchildren.  You may want to set a photo book on  the table for those who want to spend more time looking at memories.

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If you’ve lost someone who is dear to you, it is only natural to be saddened that they are no longer with you when your family gets together for special occasions and there are many ways to remember them.

You may have seen a  white rose on a chair at a wedding ceremony, signifying that a spot has been saved for a loved one that has passed on well, my father-in-law had a special chair he sat in for every family reunion we had.  He passed away in 2012 but we continue to set his chair up (along with his favorite hat) at our reunions.  It almost feels like he’s watching over us as we go about our reunion fun and it helps us remember the wonderful contributions he made to our family.

A balloon release, in honor of a loved one, is a wonderful way to send our love to the heavens but recently I’ve seen “butterfly” releases as a way of remembering someone. There’s an Indian legend that goes something like this-

If anyone desires a wish to come true they must capture a butterfly and whisper that wish to it. Since butterflies make no sound, they can’t tell the wish to anyone but the Great Spirit. By making a wish and releasing the butterfly the wish will be taken to the heavens and be granted.

You can find more information about butterfly release at Butterfly Release Company.

The simplest way to remember a loved one is to have a moment of silence, perhaps as the family gathers together for a meal.

Some of my favorite quotes about remembering those we love are below.

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