Why Families Unite and Reunions Are A Tradition
Family reunions have been a tradition since, well since your family has been making it a tradition. For us, we have been meeting for 11 years. One day out of the year where we all congregate to one location to catch up with one another. I recently attended our annual gathering, and I must say it was boring. No offense. About 35 people attended this year’s reunion, and about 15 members were missing that were too far to join us. We pretty much ate some food, chit chatted for a few hours, and went our separate ways. It’s funny because each family sat with their own family. We didn’t even split up into different seats to mingle.
Facebook has changed the way we gather at the reunion as we all already know everything that’s been going on in each other lives. We did, however, share some vintage photos, talked about loved ones that have passed on, and reminisced about the good old days. Feeling slightly disappointed after leaving, I decided to plan our next reunion. Here are my plans.
We are there to reunite together so who wants to be stuck in the kitchen or at grill the whole time. I’m planning on getting the main dish catered, and delegate side dishes and desserts to other family members. I’ll divide the cost among the adults that way one family isn’t stuck with the bill. I don’t want to get a dish that is completely outrageously expensive but something everyone can enjoy. BBQ pork or brisket sandwiches are always a crowd pleaser. Although I might go for a buffet of tacos, enchiladas, or a platter of some sort with some rice, beans, chips, salsa, and guacamole as sides, having the others provide the drinks and finger desserts. Though it’s still a year away, the food might change.
Beforehand I want to gather baby pictures of everyone and make a poster board hang up so we can all guess who’s who! I’ll provide a prize for the one who guesses the most right. It should be fun! I would also like to get a professional photographer for the day to take pictures of all the fun. Get a group photo and invite each family to get pictures. I’ll keep one of each to hang up at our next annual get together and see how we all have changed.
Since we all sat with our immediate families last time, I decided that I’m going to switch up the seating arrangement. Everyone is going to draw a number, and that’s the chair they will need to sit in. It might cause some disarray but a fun way to get us out of our comfort zone. Cause hey we are all family, right? I may even pull a number and give away another prize.
Games! I want to get everyone up and to move. I plan to have some games ready to go after lunch. I would like to do a pudding eating contest for the kids for sure. The messier, the better. I have some old pillow cases to do a couple of races, and since it’s going to be hot out a water balloon fight to cool everyone off. I’m also really into the “Minute to Win It” games where the players have 1 minute to complete the challenge. Timing isn’t necessary; you could always do the first player to finish wins.
My go to favorites are:
• Cookie Face – Each player has a flat cookie on their forehead and must move only their face muscles to move it down to their mouth. First one to their mouth wins.
• Suck it up– Players place a straw in their mouth and use suction to transfer a pile of 25 M&M’s from one the to another in under one minute. Only one hand may be used to hold the straw. Everyone gets to eat their candy after they finish! This game also works well with three players competing in each round.
• Stack Attack– Players must stack up a pile of cups (Solo cups work best) and then place them back into a single stack in under a minute. The original “Minute to Win It “version of this game calls for 36 cups to be stacked. I’ve played this game before and I reduced the number of cups to 21 cups, and we discovered that this was the perfect number that resulted in exactly half being successful. Challenging, but not too challenging! Two players competing in each round works well so that any falling cups won’t knock over your competitor’s stack, too!
• Scoop it- Using nothing but a spoon in your mouth, transfer six ping pong balls or cotton balls from one bowl to another in less than one minute. No hands! Hands are only allowed if you drop the ping pong ball or cotton balls, and then they can be used to place it back into the original bowl for another transfer attempt. 2-3 players compete for each round of play.
• Junk in the Trunk– This game is another crowd favorite! To prepare for this be passed, empty a tissue box or a large zip lock bag box, and use an X-ACTO knife to make two slits in the bottom of the box. Thread wide ribbon through the two slits to create a tissue-box-on-a-belt. Removing the thin plastic barrier from the tissue box opening will make game play easier (for younger children) or keep it intact for more challenging play. To play the game, strap the tissue box onto the player’s back and fill it with 6-8 ping pong balls (we used 6, but eight would be appropriate for older children and adults). Shake, shimmy, jump and dance around until all the balls have fallen out of the tissue box. No using your hands and no laying down! This game is hysterical to watch in action; I can’t wait till we play it! The video is a must!
Another game I would like play that my good friend does at her reunions is everyone brings in their change or $1 bills. Any amount. They all put it in a jar where one person counts and the rest guess. Whoever is closest wins the money. This game would also be entertaining with any candy or something fun like water balloons.
At the end of the day, reunions are an important part of family life. As chaotic as they can be, and stressful to plan, they can offer fond memories, favorite recipes, stories, and most importantly, relationships that will last forever. Given a chance, family reunions or any celebrations can provide family members with important values, vigorous and lasting bonds, and a deep sense of belonging that can be pass on for generations.