(NewsUSA) – As extended families spread out throughout the country, it becomes more difficult to get everyone together. Holding a family reunion, then, gives everyone a chance to meet, catch-up and learn a little more about their family history.

But arranging a reunion can be a massive undertaking, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed. However, with a little planning, anyone can pull off a successful family reunion.

Follow these tips to ensure a fun, rewarding family reunion experience:

* Create a family reunion committee. You will need at least two people to plan location, food, activities, budget, mailings, payments and record-keeping. The better organized your committee, the more smoothly your reunion will run. You can never start planning too early – you will need to start at least a year ahead of time

* Pick a theme. Designing your reunion around a theme can make planning activities, food and decorations more creative. Family history themes, such as celebrating an anniversary, a birthday or a cultural heritage – a Mexican fiesta, for example – are popular.

* Develop a budget. Your budget will influence the rest of your decisions regarding housing, food and activities. When in doubt, plan for affordability – as much fun as a Caribbean cruise might be, it’s unlikely that every family member can afford to attend.

* Plan housing. If possible, choose a location that offers a range of lodging choices. National parks, for example, often have hotels nearby and may have cabins or tent-camping available, giving your guests plenty of options.

* Keep the kids entertained. Don’t presume that the grandparents or teenagers will act as babysitters for the whole reunion. Ask for volunteers, and rotate babysitting duties. Arranging competitions, like three-legged and costume races, will keep kids happy. You can even present the winner with a trophy – Plaquemaker Plus (www.plaquemakerplus.com) offers a variety of trophies, including “Trophy Dudes” with bendable arms and legs.

* Create activities. Adults might be content to sit around and chat, but integrating the whole family can be a challenge. Try giving each family member a family tree to fill out, or arrange a friendly game of family trivia. And don’t forget to take a family photo. Plaquemaker Plus can even create heirloom-quality wooden plaques or acrylic images, so you can offer a unique souvenir to any family member who wants one.


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