The best way to connect with people, especially those who you do not see frequently, is to set a date and time to meet up. It works the same way with family. Everyone is always busy these days. So much to do and so little time to do it. And this is understandable; between jobs and the family at home, your schedule can start to feel overbooked.
As a result, the extended family begins to fade from your lives. This is not good, and everyone knows it, but how do you avoid it? The first is making family a priority and not a backburner item. Actively place them on your calendar so it stops becoming a question of finding the time, but rather, it is you who makes the time.
Even if you make the time, you might still worry that you will only spend a couple of hours with them. The solution to this is to focus on the quality of time you spend together. Sure, tomorrow they’ll be off to some far-flung area, but if you prepare well, you can organize a family gathering that will be full of memorable moments so that the event becomes a highlight of every year.
How to Organize a Family Party/Gathering
1. Picking the date
You can’t pick any date, call up your family, and expect them to show up. You have to pick a date that suits everybody. Get them to vote; however, this process will be unwieldy if you rely on a messaging platform such as email.
Thankfully, tools like Doodle Poll and Straw Poll exist to make the process a lot more palatable and easy to track. Aim for a date more than four months away to give everyone plenty of time to prepare. If you’re opting to hold your reunion at one of these large family reunion rentals, you might need a bit more time than that to ensure everyone can make it there!
2. Rope them in
It’s too hard to organize the whole thing yourself. You are the chairperson who will coordinate the event, handle communications and make sure that everyone is on the same page. But you will also ask for help from family members and delegate tasks to those willing and enthusiastic.
Use Zoom or Skype to get everyone talking to each other. There needs to be a reservation officer to track who is coming. An entertainment officer who organizes activities. A finance director to stay on top of costs and maintain a reunion checking account. A food director to work with the caterer. A venue coordinator to find an appropriate location. etc.
3. Project management tools
You’ll be amazed at the utility you can get from project management tools. Tools like Trello and Zoho will display all the necessary information such as tasks, level of completion, etc. It’s all the tracking you need, especially if many people are coming.
4. Food and drink
Bad food can dampen the mood of an event. Great food in great quantities will seriously liven up the mood. It makes people happy to see food, so don’t skimp on it. Drinks of the alcoholic variety are also an excellent addition to a party.
However, this is something that needs to be discussed. Children will be around, and a party with a drunk aunt or uncle will be remembered for the wrong reasons. Therefore, some light and elegant alcoholic options can be considered; the ones at Absolut drink recipes contain some delightful ideas.
5. Theme of the Reunion
The theme could be honoring the elders or the family’s achievements. Or it could be how you dress – perhaps Christmas in July, a pajama party, or a western theme. Having a theme will help drum up interest in the party.
Remember to be inclusive. Keep everyone informed and organize activities for everyone. As people arrive, one icebreaker you can use is to have everyone fill in their names on a blank family tree to help get everyone involved and set a nice tone.