Family reunions are a wonderful way to connect with your roots, catch up with distant relatives and reminisce about the good old days. Planning, voicing opinions, and walking into the reunion with a positive attitude can turn a potentially stressful situation into an enjoyable one.
Here are some sanity-saving tips:
Be Active at the Planning Stage
Most reunions are planned many months, if not years in advance, which means there's plenty of time to get involved. Don't be afraid to politely voice opinions on whether you're in favor of a hosting the event at a private home or offsite. Hint: Often you'll find other family members agree, but were just too timid to say anything.
Explore the many, local, offsite options in Hopkinton such as, The Hopkinton Country Club, Hopkinton State Park, or Marathon and Zia's restaurants for party pricing and availability.
Offer a Helping Hand
When offering to help with planning, organizing, or bringing something to the event it's best to have a certain task or dish in mind. Even if you don't wind up doing the job you mention, being specific will establish the scope of your offer, i.e., invitations, set-up, clean-up duty, home-made family posters or games.
Hint: The best line of defense against Aunt Martha's famous aspic is making an alternative that the group can enjoy!
Don't Be Too Cool
Unless you're a Jolie-Pitt or a Jagger, family reunions are inherently uncool, so just go with it and have a good time. A potato sack race or an a capella family rendition of "Que Sera Sera" often can turn out to be a lot of fun. Keep in mind that while Grandma is pinching your cheeks or Grandpa is telling embarrassing stories of when you were young, the fact is, that without them, there would be no you!
Indulge in Some Much Needed Me-Time
If the reunion extends over a full weekend, it's ok, and even advisible, to take a break from the pack. Grab your spouse and the kids for a walk, drive into town for ice-cream, or go for a run. Having time to yourself will help you decompress and enjoy the festivities a lot more. If you are alone, feel free to pass a few hours in peaceful silence reading a book or listening to music in a quiet corner...you'll appreciate it later when you have to break up a fight between five shrieking cousins.
Leave the New Squeeze at Home
"If it's early days in a relationship, I would go alone," Ceri Marsh, an etiquette and parenting expert said. "Being around family doesn't always bring out our most evolved, attractive selves, and on the other side, what's the point of introducing someone to 27 aunts if you may not be dating in another two weeks?"
Ms. Marsh also mentioned that it is perfectly fine if a family member is comfortable bringing a new girl or boyfriend to the reunion, that way they're going to see it all in one fell swoop!
Enjoy The Event
Set differences aside, and think about fond past family memories or current events to share with loved ones.
Hint: Bring current photographs of trips or family events to share. Keep conversations light and fun, omitting any potentially heated debates about politics or religion.
Enjoy your families!