Monday, April 11, 2016

I is for Imagination

Use your Imagination and select a theme for your reunion.  For example, if the festivities revolve around a pool, a Hawaiian theme would work well, with tiki lights, leis and drinks with umbrellas.  If you are in the Southwest, have clay lizards, and pretty pottery with flowers decorating the tables.  Let your imagination run wild!  Having a theme will make your reunion memorable for years to come.

Enlist the help of your children and others whom you know are attending.  Have each person submit an idea for a theme and then take a vote.  Majority rules!   Meet with your co-hosts to brainstorm what would be the easiest ways to carry that theme throughout the course of the reunion.

Begin with the invitations.  Announce your theme on the invitation as well as first picking them out to reflect that theme.

If you’ve picked a Hawaiian theme, something my sister did when she hosted one of our family reunions, be sure to remind them to bring swimsuits!  With a pool as the centerpiece of a humid Illinois summer weekend, all the decorations came naturally to her.  Tiki lights, leis, table decorations, disposable plates and cups, umbrellas in tropical drinks, will all add to the charm of your setting.  Have traditional Hawaiian music at least part of the time.  (I especially like Somewhere Over the Rainbow as sung by Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwo'ole (here's the link:  Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Iz).

If you are meeting in the Southwest, say for a winter reunion when the beautiful Sonoran desert is more tolerable, carry your Southwestern theme throughout the festivities.  Lizards and cactus abound, as do petroglyphs and pottery.  Have Mexican food for your meals:  huevos rancheros for breakfast, quickly made burritos for lunch and sizzling fajitas for dinner (don’t forget the margaritas or mojitos!) with flan for dessert.

Another way to have a theme is to think about childhood and what occasions were most fun for the family.  Perhaps your siblings and you really enjoyed Halloween.  Why wait until Halloween for dress-up?  Have one night where everyone comes in their favorite costume, plays the usual scary games, have a costume contest and tell ghost stories in a dimly lit room.

Maybe Valentine’s Day could be inspirational for you.  Decorate everything in red and hearts, with heart shaped food at every meal; pancakes for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, and heart shaped cherry cheesecake for dessert at dinner.  Draw names and have a secret Valentine for the entire reunion.  Whatever name you draw, that is the person you surprise with things you make yourself off a table filled with art paper, pastels, watercolors, colorful paper and different kinds of pens.  You leave them on another table, placing them there when your secret Valentine is not around.  At the end of the agreed upon time period (in case some families leave earlier than others)  reveal to your secret Valentine who you were.  It’s a special way to build a relationship and get to know each other better.

Whatever theme you choose will make your reunion memories last for years to come.

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