Let's be honest, family reunions are hard to plan.
Luckily, when you're with your family, you don't need to do any thing extravagent and expensive to have fun.
One of the best family reunions I've ever attended, we celebrated all of the major holidays in one week. Here are some examples of what we did:
Day 1: Valentine's Day
Little boxes of chocolates and sweet notes for everyone to start out the reunion with lots of love. You could set up a chocolate factory with different flavors of melted chocolates, fillings and molds and let everyone make their own. Set up a craft table with papers and markers and scissors and glue and stamps and let the kids have a field day.
Day 2: Easter
Set up a dye station and let the kids color eggs. Then, parents can hide them. Offer a big traditional dinner, or picnic style dinner of ham, potato salad and baked beans. In the evening, a fireside providing a small lesson on the meaning of Easter.
Day 3: Independence Day
Have a parade. Let the children decorate bikes and wagons. Play patriotic music. Give the kids sparklers. Have a picnic. Shoot off fireworks (obey your local ordinances).
Day 4: Halloween
Have a costume party. Let the kids go trick-or-treating, either tailgate-style, or to different rooms in the house manned by adults in costumes.
Day 5: Thanksgiving
Big turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Give everyone two minutes to tell what things for which they are thankful.
Day 6: Christmas
Put up a tree and decorate it. Set up a Santa's workshop with craft items for children to make gifts for each other. Draw names and do a gift exchange with dollar store items, or silly white elephant gifts from the thrift shop or yard sales. Put out stockings with treats for everyone. Have a taffy pull. Sing carols around a piano.
Day 7: Unbirthday party
Have a massive birthday cake and ice cream for everyone. Give dollar store gifts to children. Play silly party games. Later in the evening, the adults can exchange nostalgic gifts from childhood and fight over them.
Day 8: Memorial Day
Get out old photos or home movies and share with the next generation. Tell stories of your ancestors and your own childhood. Play a game where you tell facts about a parent's childhood and have the kids guess who it is. Visit a graveyard, an old family home, or other important place that is integral to your family history. Have everyone fill out a four-generation pedigree chart.
The great thing about this holiday-themed-type of reunion is that you can pick and choose the holidays that are most meaningful to you. You can do it small, or you can do it grand. If your time is short, you can combine them with an Easter egg hunt in the morning, Valentine's in the afternoon and a birthday party in the evening. The important thing is to cherish the time you spend together, and make it so memorable that they will want to connect more.
Don't forget to get a big family picture to send out once everyone is home.