Every August, on the first Friday, my mother's side of the family gets together for a reunion. To put it simply...it's a bit of a production.
There are a few key components to our annual tradition: First, we pick a location. At the reunion, the location of the next family reunion is announced (which this summer is my parents' home in Massachusetts!). Then, the host has to start preparing.
- The first and most important task: find a golf course that will take all of us. That's right, we have a golf tournament! We're not a huge family - we might send five teams of four out on the course, while a few stragglers (like me) hang back, relax, and help prepare the post-game meal.
- Gather RSVPs. I've said this before, and I'll say it again...RSVPing in a timely manner is the most helpful thing you can do as a guest...especially in cases like this! Luckily, since we all share the responsibility of hosting and we don't have too much family drama (so far, so good...), we're pretty good about keeping everyone up-to-date with our plans.
- Make sure we know who's bringing which trophy. Yes, they're customized with name plates. We have trophies for everything. 1st, 2nd, 3rd place, closest to pin, longest drive, most improved...each for men and women. AND, when I was growing up and the youngest generation was still mini-putting, we had our own little trophies!
- Figure out where everyone is going to stay. I'm originally from Ottawa, but most of my mom's extended family lives in Montreal, Toronto, Prince Edward Island, and various other cities scattered around Canada and the United States. Needless to say, no one can do the family reunion as a day trip when it's at our house, so we need to dig out the air mattresses, rearrange some furniture, and book some rooms at a nearby hotel.
Meanwhile, the guests have to pick up their gifts! We do a present swap every year. It's not super complicated - everyone just brings a gift, we draw numbers, and go in order, picking our favorite item on the table. Of course, when we were little, we had designated presents to keep everyone happy. My Uncle Stew went as far to dress up like Santa one year.
And when the big day is finally near... Everyone pitches in with the menu (usually kebabs, salads, fruit, chips and dips, sandwiches followed by ice cream) and the beer, wine and sodas. See, we're not too different in Canada! Well...actually, you'd know where we're from by the contents of our coolers. We're pretty protective of the sanctity of Canadian beers.
As my generation grows older (the youngest is 20 years old now), it's harder and harder for everyone to get together - but we try. More importantly, I consider myself so lucky to be raised with this tradition that keeps the family connected. It'll be up to me, my two younger brothers and four older cousins (one of whom just had a baby!) to get our own version of the annual golf tournament together.
Does your family have a reunion every year? How long has this been a tradition in your family? What do you do to make it fun for everyone?