Family LIfe

Let's Plan a Family Reunion
by Kim Green-Spangler

Grandma is dancing with a good-looking 17 year old who knows how to dip. Your mom is sitting around gossiping with a captive audience while most of the men are gathered around to hear the stories about the first time you wore a bra and your ex-boyfriend who mysteriously stopped speaking to you and started avoiding you after just three dates. You walk in on the tail end of the conversation in time to find out it had nothing to do with you and everything to do with your five older brothers. Does this sound like a nightmare? Relax. It's just your family reunion. When stories are swapped, memories are made, and families get to bond in one location, no matter where they call home.

Did you know that more family reunions take place in July than in any other month? After school has let out and more families are free to travel distances to the designated meeting spot or homestead for a day, weekend, or even a week of fun, family and friendship.

Reunions are a business onto themselves. If you're planning a reunion of any kind there are a number of ways to get started. There are sites to visit such as full of information designed to help a novice plan an event from scratch, or help an experienced planner offer an event with a fresh idea and some element of surprise to keep things lively. There are tips for budgeting, preparing detailed checklists, choosing themes, selecting the correct location, entertainment and even souvenirs. even offers a free 12 step e-course that delivers tips directly to the planner's email inbox to help get reunion planning underway. Additional assistance can be found through online services such as which offers free email invitations to the reunion, and various companies which offer websites for reunion information posting. The Reunion Planner, a book written by Linda Johnson Hoffman and Neal Barnett offers in depth planning advice and goes further with planning software which is included with the book. There's a massive amount of information available for anyone looking to plan a reunion, it seems that the most common tip offered is to start very early. Typically one to two years in advance is recommended.

Reunions (like friends and family members) can take on many different personalities. They are a wonderful way to connect with friends and family who may or may not live close enough to see regularly. It's a chance to let many of the branches of a family intermingle, share stories and spin painfully embarrassing stories about you that you'd never want repeated to anyone - but everyone at the reunion already knows or soon will. Reunions are the place to reminisce about the "good ol' days," make new friends, meet new family members through marriages and births, and to honor those family members who paved the way for the future generations. So, if your family or friends have not done so, why not take the bull by the horns and assemble a reunion committee. Good information is just a click away. Capitalize on a memorable anniversary 10th, 15th, 20th or more, a significant birthday 70th, 80th, or 90th or more, or even a welcome for the newest branches on the family tree. Next July will make a wonderful month for a party. Better get started - it's only 12 months away!

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