Organizing A Family Reunion

Tis the season of family reunions. Are you dreading it, or are you looking forward to it?

We have two this summer, Ken's family reunion and then since my sister is coming home from Africa, my family will be getting together as well.

I hope I can help you with some ideas and tips so that you can be eagerly anticipating your family get together rather than dreading it.This can present some challenges because it can be difficult to choose a location that is central, accommodates everyone, while not burdening one family member. I prefer having it at a neutral location rather than someone's home, but that is just me. I find the one hosting the location ends up having the brunt of the work, which is not fair. So, I encouraged our family to get together at a nearby campground by a lake. This worked out perfectly, everyone who had RV's brought them, and we rented a cabin at the marina for my sister who was visiting from Africa. We cleaned and fixed it up to make it a little bit of a honeymoon for them as well.

This really should have been #1 food is pivotal. We found some great ways to make it easier to plan, less work without sacrificing good food. I sat down and made up a menu for each meal each day and sent this to all of my sisters for their input. Once the menu was finalized, the list was given to everyone.Even though we wrote out a menu for each day, that does not mean we ate it in that exact order, it was a guide so we all knew what to bring and could pool our food. This worked really well. We planned on a big breakfast, which is usually later in the morning because everyone loves to sleep in and sit around enjoying a coffee. No lunch is planned, each person can bring and eat their own snack, and then we planned a big supper. We took turns making breakfast, and pooled the supper. Guys often barbecued the meat while us gals made the salads. We each took turns with dessert each night, which was something we could prepare ahead of time and bring. Doing it this way meant the work and costs were shared, cooking was minimal leaving us more time to relax and have fun.

We enjoy all kinds of activities from playing horseshoes, cards, golf, boating, walking, home movies, and a skit night. Each family comes up with something entertaining. One night we set up a stage, bring our costumes, and have fun. One family member often is the MC and tells jokes in between acts. There is a lot of talent in my family, we even drew a big crowd of campers. Even the kids... no... especially the kids get involved and love acting out in skits. My one sister saves a box full of old clothes and jewellery just for such occasions. Here my sister and I along with our husbands surprised everyone with our well-rehearsed jigging as "The Rank Family."

Each evening after supper we would go for a "lookey-loo." We loved walking around the campground people-watching, and enjoying the grounds, the birds, squirrels, the water, the sunset.

When I get together with my sisters, we always try to have some relaxation, like sitting by the edge of the lake with our feet in the water on a hot day, suntanning with spitz and a good novel, a massage, or a pedicure. Last reunion we had pedicures and manicures. We come form a large family, so those short moments together are very special.
What is a family reunion without looking at someone's photo albums and home movies. My brother gets a bad rap for dragging out his camera, but over the years as our family has changed, kids have grown, our mother is no longer alive, those movies are special. Home movies are a great backup plan for a cold rainy night.

There is something mesmerizing and comforting about sitting around a campfire in the evening. The most wonderful stories come out, sometimes music, laughter and tears. Perhaps it is being withdrawn from technology and being totally immersed in one another's company with only the sounds of the crackling fire, the water lapping on the shore, a loon's whistle, or the scampering of squirrels in the bushes. Truly a bonding time. I am looking forward to my family reunion, and I hope you are too. Just keep things simple because when all is said and done, it is all about enjoying time with family. At one time most families were all in the same community and could see each other on a regular basis. Now we are spread out over the earth. Our family ranges from Africa, to the Northwest Territories, British Columbia and Alberta. So, even though it means a lot of planning and extra work to get us all together in the same place at the same time, it is worth it. It is wonderful to spend time with the ones who are a part of our history, and are an integral part of our future.

Elvie Look: Your Professional Organizing Coach who is helping people get organized with her easy tips and suggestions. These systems help the busy mom, businessman or woman, entrepreneur or student learn the keys to organizing in simple, actionable and manageable steps. She teaches how to get organized and maintain your organized space while carrying on your normal busy life. She is the author of "21 steps from Chaos to Calm."

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