Have hosting duties for your family’s summer gathering fallen on you? Are you feeling under-prepared and overwhelmed? Need help in coming up with a fool-proof plan for keeping needy aunts and rambunctious nephews in check? We all know the chaos that tends to hit right before the relatives come to town. So here are some tips to help your family gathering be memorable in all the right ways—and not the unsavory ones.
- Stand out as a group.
Nothing creates that family atmosphere like having matching T-shirts created for your gathering. And getting them printed is a faster process than you might initially think. The first step in the process? According to Home Team Apparel, Atlanta’s screen printing experts, “Come up with a design idea. When you do this keep in mind that you should limit certain options.” Trying to get everyone to agree on a design is a recipe for sore feelings and strife. Instead, outsource the design, or entrust the logo to that one artistic member of your family.
- Potluck it.
If you are an over-achieving mom, chances are you’re trying to swing the menu by yourself. But doing so may be setting you up for a stressful weekend. Everyone should be having fun, and that includes you. Making the menu a potluck is one of the best and easiest ways to make sure that there is enough food for everyone. Create a sign-up list or a Facebook thread so that people don’t double up on a certain item. For the less cooking-inclined, suggest that they take on bringing drinks or snacks.
- Choose the right locale.
From little tots who will want to play, to your mom who will need to sit in the shade, finding a venue to satisfy everyone will be a challenge. As you look for the right location, make sure that it will accommodate everyone’s needs. Parks are your typical choice, but some unusual options might work as well. For example, bowling alleys often allow for you to rent out the floor. Look for avenues where the kids will be entertained while the grownups can sit and talk.
- Bring first-aid.
It’s always best to be prepared when it comes to cuts and scrapes. Bring your family’s first-aid kit, or gather up what you think you might need, depending on where you are going. Standard items include band-aids, adhesive tape, gauze, cold packs, scissors and tweezers, and sanitizer. For a complete list, check out this one by Mayo Clinic.
Make sure everyone stays hydrated, as dehydration and sunstroke are common summertime woes. Bring plenty of water and sports drinks and keep an eye out for your little ones and the elderly. These are two age ranges that are prone to sun stroke.
- Preserve the memories.
Family gatherings are a lot of work to put together. And often enjoying them in the moment might feel like a fantasy. If you feel this way, then keep in mind that sometimes things are better in hindsight. Following the tips outlined above will help your event run smoothly. But what is most important are the memories that each member will keep with them.
Tag someone to take pictures of the event. And another person to capture video clips of various moments. Gather the footage and pictures after the event and compile them into a little video, which can be shared on Facebook. Or you can rip the same footage onto a DVD and mail it out as a keepsake. Another option is to use Shutterfly or a similar service to create a bound book of pictures from your gathering. The best family picture from your gathering can also be used to make custom mugs, cushion covers, placemats, or framed prints.
Following the tips outlined above will help your event run smoothly. But what is most important are the memories that each member will keep with them.