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Starting a Family Reunion Tradition

Extended Family Portrait
Family reunions are a perfect way to stay in touch with your extended family. Getting everyone on the same page for the first reunion to start the tradition can often be the most difficult part. This is a guide about starting a family reunion tradition.
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By 2 found this helpful
November 8, 2011

Our family has been having a reunion on a yearly basis. We have between 40 and 50 people attending. We take turns having it at our homes or at a lapa*.

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Every year for the reunion, we decide what foods we are going to have, and then it is easy to let everyone know what to bring. We have a list with all the e-mail addresses. It makes it so much easier liaising with everyone. We also opened a Facebook Reunion page, where we can post pictures of the events.

By Erika from South Africa

Editor's Note: According to Wikipedia "A lapa is a structure that is popular in South Africa. It usually consists of a thatched roof supported by wooden poles. Lapas are commonly used as semi-open entertainment areas."

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Kelly Ann Butterbaugh0 found this helpful
December 13, 2006

Once I attended a family reunion which wasn't as entertaining as it promised to be. Sitting with my aunt and my mother-in-law we found that we spent most of the early afternoon figuring out how everyone was related to us. After dinner one of us took out a pen and began to scribble a family tree onto the paper tablecloth. It was quite an extensive oak when we were finished, and we had many missing branches.
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In the weeks that followed my mother-in-law and I tried to find those branches. We filled in birth dates, middle names, and other family trivia but still had holes. We then decided that during the following year's reunion we were going to finish this tree.

Planting Our Tree

At the reunion which brought together the sides of a very large family, we made it known that we were creating our tree. Aunts, cousins, and some people we didn't know (and who never did make it onto that tree) helped us to fill in all of the information we needed. We successfully mapped the branches of the predecessors and successors to two people who had twelve children, all of which had children and grandchildren of their own. It was quite a tree.

Our tree inspired us. We made one for each side of my husband's family as well as for my own smaller family. It took hours of work and reams of paper, but tucked in a scrapbook are my trees. From there I was inspired to find pictures of these people, another family reunion project. This third reunion I took candid photos so that I could keep them in a scrapbook which looked like a high school yearbook of my husband's clan. Then, I delved into boxes of photos in my own grandmother's attic to create a family shrub of my family. All in one album we created my complete family album, all forty some pages of it plus printouts of the family trees that had come together the day my husband and I were married, our family.

The Value of a Tree

Why is this story important? It's important because I learned some things while creating my trees for three years. I learned about my families and from where we came, and I finally learned all the names at the Butterbaugh reunions. I also learned a great way to pass time at family reunions. Most of all, I learned about time.

The time I spent with the people who helped me to put the albums together was the most precious result of the work. My grandmother identified people that no one else but she knew; now they're labeled forever. I heard stories that would have one day been forgotten, and we found pictures of people who had fallen to the backs of our minds.

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Most recently, I realized the importance of those family reunion afternoons. When my mother-in-law passed away six weeks ago, I remembered working with her on the family album. She was the one everyone asked when they needed a family address or cousin's birthday, and as we move on without her I realize the importance of what she gave to me. That afternoon as we sifted through the pictures to create a collage for her memorial, I knew who the people in the pictures were thanks to her and it made me miss her all the more.

As the holidays approach, arrange gatherings for your family and create a family tree, take a family portrait, or make a family video. These are the things I did and will never regret.

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Questions

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July 29, 20040 found this helpful

I want to start a family reunion tradition. We don't have one now but our family is getting pretty large with brothers and sisters moving away with kids, often to different states. My sister and I have decided to start to plan a family reunion and we hope to have it be a yearly event. What I am wondering is if anyone out there does this and if they have any advice? What works for you? Any tips or advice would be appreciated.

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Jules in TX

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By guest (Guest Post)
July 29, 20040 found this helpful

We have an annual family reunion from my grandparents forward. Anyhow many of us live in different states across the Us from NY to Cali. IT is hard to have one family prepare all the food so we do crafts and auction them off for money to finance catering and an airconditioned building at some state park. We have member who use travel trailers, stay at motels, rent a cabin at the park, camp out in tents etc. We usually meet the day before the big meal and talk as everyone is coming in and everyone fends for themselves. This year we ordered pizza and everyone paid for their own. Then we play games, have the auction, visit, do things in the park and go from there to home or wherever we decide to go.

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HTH

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By guest (Guest Post)
July 29, 20040 found this helpful

We have a bbq every year for our family. We keep it pretty simple and laid back. The date is set for the Sun after the Aug long weekend, rain or shine, every year. It is potluck-my Dad, who hosts it at his house, every year, provides the meat (it actually started out as a pig roast, as my Dad used to raise hogs). From there, everyone brings something-no one calls and plans, just brings their specialty. It's kind of gotten to be where my aunt always brings corn on the cob to shuck and boil there, another brings deviled eggs (her specialty) and I love baking so I bring some of those treats, and salads and stuff-whatever they feel like! Everyone brings their own beverages. Usually theres a game or two of horseshoes, and sometimes bocci, and the younger crowd goes cliffdiving at the resevoir near there. Sometimes we organize an impromtu treasure hunt for the little ones. All in all, its a laid back, fun day of catching up with loved ones and enjoying good food outdoors!

HTH!

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By guest (Guest Post)
August 2, 20040 found this helpful

We are in Western Australia and every 2 years we have a weeks holiday/fishing trip. One BiL and his family live up north so the families from the south of the state drive all day and the northeners drive all day and we meet up at Shark Bay which is midway. We rent chalets at a caravan park and all share the costs. As the kids get older and get their own families I supose the group will just get bigger.

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By guest (Guest Post)
January 27, 20050 found this helpful

WE HAVE A REUNION EVERY YEAR, AND IN A DIFFERENT CITY. THIS YEAR I AM PLANNING THE REUNION HERE IN ARLINGTON, TEXAS BUT DON'T KNOW WHERE TO HAVE IT.WHERE ARE SOME GREAT SPOTS TO HAVE IT.DO YOU HAVE A THEME? FOR AN EXAMPLE"BUILDING THE GAP","STAYING CONNECTED "ETC.

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January 28, 20050 found this helpful

Hi Dorothy,

I posted this as a new request:

http://www.thri  f472761.tip.html

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June 23, 20050 found this helpful

Don't forget to bring pictures and albums from the past, everyone loves this!

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By 0 found this helpful
March 20, 2005

I would like information on starting a family reunion.

Tereas from Florida

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By guest (Guest Post)
March 26, 20050 found this helpful

Choose a meeting place that is some what conveniant or appealing for your family and pick a date. Create invitations and send them out to everyone a few months before the reunion. Some families just have a day event and others find a place to camp for a weekend, you could even combine the two where you camp or go to a hotel for the weekend but have one day set as the Reunion day and those who could not stay the weekend can make it for just that one day.

I hope that helps,

Stella

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By guest (Guest Post)
July 16, 20050 found this helpful

7 SIMPLE STEPS

1. Find families names/addresses in the phonebook.

2. Find nearest Hall and ask for the cost of however many cups, plates etc, what you will need.

3. Start jotting down a list of food and snacks.

4. Start thinking of fun games to play, (like egg and spoon race, potato sack race etc...

5. Write out your Reunion letter to the addresses.

6.Make sure you know exactly how many are coming before ordering the drinks, cups, plates.

7. Have a speech ready for when you are all together.

I hope this helps.

Kind regards,

Deborah

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By guest (Guest Post)
September 7, 20060 found this helpful

How do I write a letter to inform my family members that a group of us planning a reunion

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By guest (Guest Post)
August 20, 20080 found this helpful

I think I overdid in helping my two sisters to start a family reunion to honor my now deceased parents of 10. I have a computer so I was able to make invitations, send to relatives and their heirs allowing the main members to conact their heirs. In July 2005, we used a patriotic theme (just a thought), rented a shelter house or an area squad bldg at a nominal price, used cheap plastic tablecloths plus centerpieces; contacted family through mail or telephone. My best to you. Ours continues this year, next month with a fall motif or you don't need one a motif at all. Make a list of those invited so as not to overlook someone. norma

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