You’ve got the pool, you’ve got the wide lawn, and you’ve got the deck. So this year, you’re hosting the family reunion. You love your family and are happy to share your home with them, but hey—you’ve got your work cut out for you, and this isn’t going to be cheap either. You’re faced with planning and paying for food, games… maybe even updating the guest room so your parents don’t have to sleep on that air mattress in the basement. When you said “yes” to hosting, you hadn’t really thought about all the details. But now it’s sinking in, and you’re beginning to panic. Well, there’s no need for that. With a little planning and a bit of organization you’ll be fine. You can do this. Honest!
Pick a Date and Develop a TimelineWhen should your guests receive their invitations? Will you require RSVPs? If so, what’s the deadline? Are you renting any special equipment, like outside tents, chairs, or a Karaoke machine? When do you need to finalize those orders? When do you want the housekeeping and any home repairs to be complete? Will you be catering any food? If so, how much lead time will the caterer need? Give yourself ample room for delays, especially on home maintenance tasks.
Create a Task List and Divide and ConquerYou can do this, but you don’t have to do it alone. Get help! Create a list of what needs doing. Then, rather than asking for volunteers to head up desserts or board games, assign family members as you see fit. It’s simpler all the way around (and Aunt Betty will be flattered that you’re requesting her special sour cream coffee cake). Organized assignments will also ensure that you don’t end up with sixteen tossed salads and no burgers, everyone to set up and no one to clean up, and so forth. Equally important, all families will share the responsibilities associated with this family event. (Hint: Take advantage of available software programs, such as Evite, to help with reunion tasks.)
Start Saving NowEven with everyone chipping in for food and other costs, as the host you can’t entirely avoid expenses. So don’t wait until the last minute to figure out how to pay for them. Open an account specifically for the family reunion and start putting money aside today. This account is also where you’ll deposit any dues for those spiffy family reunion t-shirts and donations from those who’d rather give funds than labor.
Keep it SimpleIf making over your digs for family is on your “To Do” list, there’s no need to go overboard. A clean and neat guestroom with a comfortable bed and freshly laundered linens, plus a few niceties (like new toothbrushes, some clean towels, and a small stack of magazines and books) should suit your overnight guests just fine. Serving breakfast the morning after the reunion? A buffet of coffee, tea, fruit juice, fresh fruit, cereal, and ready-made bagels with a selection of spreads will do the trick nicely.
Relax and EnjoyThings don’t have to be perfect. Your family won’t notice that small stain on the rug, the overgrown bush in the backyard, or the chip on the bathroom tile floor. Even if they do, odds are they won’t care. So relax and enjoy your family. It’s your reunion, too!
Plan Now to Take a Day Off AfterwardsPlan to take a day or two off from work immediately after the reunion ends and your family has headed home, because you’ll be exhausted. But it’s okay. You did it! The house looked great, the food tasted great, and everyone had a fine time enjoying each other’s company and catching up. Well done!
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