It's summer, and that means family reunions and spending time with relatives you haven't seen in a long time. Having all your relatives in one place can be both heart-warming and confusing. You might see people you don't recognize and wonder if you're in the right place.
These ideas will help you figure out how you're connected to everyone in the room, including the strange old lady who pinches your cheeks as if you're still a baby.
You might think this will take a lot of planning, but you can actually create a family tree pretty easily right at the reunion. It's a great way to get people talking and swapping stories with each other. You'll need some empty wall space or a large piece of cardboard, a few Post-it® Products and lots of markers or writing utensils so everyone can participate.
Identify the main family lines that are attending the reunion. Write the name of the oldest person in each family line on a sheet of a Post-it® Big Pad and adhere it high on the wall or cardboard. For best wall hang, use a smooth surface and position the adhesive stripes horizontally. Cleaning and conditioning products may affect adhesion.
Then, identify the names of the next generations, writing each name on a Post-it® Super Sticky Note and adding it to the wall. Use Post-it® Full Adhesive Rolls to write down birthdates, marriages or other information. Once the family tree is complete, don't forget to capture a photo of it before you take it down!
Several weeks before the reunion, contact other family members and gather photos of as many people as you can. Put together a photo album or two that people can flip through at the reunion.
This is also a great time to revisit old photo albums gathering dust in an attic or basement. Place Post-it® Arrow Flags next to photos of people you don't recognize. Maybe you've forgotten the names of your grandfather's nine siblings or your great grandmother's husband. At the reunion, pass the flagged photo album and a marker around to help fill in the missing pieces.
Help relatives figure out where each person fits in the overall family picture. Have nametags pre-printed with information blanks people can fill in once they arrive. The information blanks might include: "My name is ________________, My parents are ________________, I'm married to _________________, My kids are __________________," etc.
You could even add a line for news people might be tired of discussing with family members. They could write something like "Suzie and I broke up. Don't ask." Or, "Yep, I got fired, but really, I'm okay." Or, "Yes, still single. And no, I don't want to be set up with your friends."
After you've survived your family reunion, you can sit back and enjoy thinking about new memories that were created and relationships that were rekindled or reinforced. You might also thank your lucky stars you don't have to spend time with long lost relatives every day.