Family Reunion Ideas To Brighten Your Time Together

Medically reviewed by Elizabeth Erban, LMFT, IMH-E
Updated June 2, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team
If you're sorting out all the details or planning a family reunion, it can be challenging to come up with ideas for venues, games, food, and activities, as there may be various age groups and personalities to consider. However, there are a few unique games and ideas you can consider to brighten your time with your family and ensure an event to remember.
Stressed About Planning An Upcoming Family Reunion?

Where To Start

When planning a family reunion, it can be challenging to know where to begin. Focus on what you think most of your family members might enjoy. For example, perhaps you've had success in the past with a backyard barbecue, a formal dinner, an informal gathering at your house, or a day at the park. Consider the age groups of the family members attending when considering the activities. 

For some families, a backyard barbecue with a photo booth can be a relaxing way to have fun. Others might want a more intricate event, like a rented-out club with a DJ. Since every family is unique, consider your family's overall personality while planning the reunion. While you may not be able to satisfy everyone, you can attempt to cater to most of the group. 

One way to remember a family reunion is to have shirts made to celebrate the occasion. You can customize them with anything you'd like, including graphics, words, or pictures. You might write your family's name with the year of the reunion or have a family tree drawn with everyone's names on it. 

Shirts can be a sentimental keepsake that reminds the family of the event for years to come. It can be passed down to children or even turned into a pillow or quilt when it no longer fits. Additionally, if you're running on a budget, shirts may be a wiser option than other party favors that can quickly increase your spending.  

Family Reunion Theme Ideas

Every family may be into different activities. For example, if your family is sporty, consider setting up a badminton or tennis net and dividing everyone into teams. Then, take turns playing different teams to give everyone a break and allow all family members to interact with one another. If you know some of your family may get carried away with the competition, you may try to keep the game as low-impact and lighthearted as possible. You could set up simpler games around the yard, like horseshoes or croquet.

An outdoor movie night could work for family reunions in which you don't necessarily need a lot of conversation. Bring blankets, pillows, a projector, snacks, and bug spray. You can also show the movie at the end of the night to allow time for everyone to get to know each other. If you want to keep the movie family-friendly, you might choose one with a family theme showcasing the different dynamics of many families. 

Family Reunion Games 

Many games can be played at a family reunion. According to the Society of Behavioral Medicine, playing family games has several benefits, including increased learning for children and overall social connection. Adding a game to your reunion may allow everyone to feel included in the family. 

Frisbee Golf With A Twist 

Frisbee golf is a variation of the classic game of golf, using frisbees instead of golf clubs and balls. At a frisbee golf course, you can throw frisbees into nets and get points. If you want to add a twist to this game, you could set up a station at each hole for each family member to learn a fact about another family at the reunion that they may not have known before. Or, you could have each person at the hole answer a fun question to get to know each other better. Consider organizing teams with members from different family groups so everyone can meet new people. 

Hot Potato Camera

In the "hot potato camera" game, the camera is the "hot potato." Set the camera's timer and pass it around, with each person holding it out in front of them as if taking a selfie. Pass the camera around as quickly as possible to avoid taking your photo. When the timer goes off, the camera takes a photo, and the person who has the photo taken of them is out of the game. You can play a few rounds of this game. After the game, you can print out and save the photos of different family members to make them into gifts to remember the event.

Who's Who 

In this game, you'll have everyone in the family send you a baby picture of themselves before the event. You can stick all the pictures on a poster board and see who can correctly identify the baby photos of each family member. Consider having prizes available for the winner and the runner-up, such as a photo album or candle. 

"Getting To Know You" Ball Game 

In this game, you can grab an inflatable ball and write questions on each segment. A few questions you might put on the ball can include the following:

  • What is your favorite animal?
  • Which family member do you want to know more about? 
  • What is your favorite family memory? 
  • What is your favorite sport?
  • What is your favorite color?
  • Do you prefer coffee or tea? 

After adding questions, throw the ball around in a wide circle. Whoever catches it must answer a question on the ball. This game can be a productive way to get to know the family members you don't know and share meaningful memories. 

Family Reunion Gift Ideas

In some cases, those planning family reunions consider gifts for the guests. You can use gifts as prizes for games, give out party favors, or buy gifts for relatives that you rarely see. Whatever you choose to do, below are a few ideas for gift-giving. 

Photo Frames Or Albums

Many photos may be taken at your reunion. If your family likes to take photos, consider offering them an item to put the photos in. You may be able to find cheap photo frames or albums and decorate them with stickers with your family name, crest, or themes on them.

You could also consider buying wooden frames and painting them with each guest's name to offer them a personalized favor to remember the event by. If you want to allow guests to take photos to save at the event, you could consider having a Polaroid camera and album set out so everyone can add a photo for you to keep in an album. 

A Slideshow

Give the gift of photos by giving everyone a copy of a family photo slideshow. Ask everyone to send you shots of them going about their daily lives. The photos could be of going to the beach, playing sports, getting off the school bus, or another daily activity. You can combine them to make a slideshow of "A Day in the Life of the ____ Family." Make a copy for each family to bring home. 


If you have family members who live out of state or in a different country, consider asking them to bring souvenirs with them, like magnets, postcards, or other items that represent their home. Then, have each family place what they've brought on a table. Ensure there are enough items so everyone can take one home with them. 

Personalized Items 

Many gifts can be personalized. If you want to memorialize the reunion, consider buying objects with your family name and the year on them. For example, you could buy engraved pens, mugs, pencil cases, makeup bags, shirts, hats, drink cozies, or other items that people might use daily. 

Party Favors 

Many items can double as party favors. For example, magnets can be a fun option, and you may be able to personalize them. You could also add humor to your gifts by buying an item that says, "I Survived the _____ Family Reunion!" If you prefer to offer small knick-knacks and trinkets, consider making goodie bags for each person who attends to take home with them. 

Stressed About Planning An Upcoming Family Reunion?

Counseling Options 

If you feel stressed about planning a reunion, seeing family members, or avoiding family conflict, you might benefit from talking to a counselor. Counseling can be for anyone, and you don't have to have a diagnosis to see a therapist. Over 41.7 million US adults see a counselor yearly, and the number is growing. Many counselors can offer support with event planning, stress, family dynamics, and many other topics. 

If you're busy family planning and don't know how to fit therapy into your schedule, you might also benefit from a platform like BetterHelp, which can offer support and guidance. Online therapy can allow you to connect anywhere you have a reliable internet connection. Planning a family function can take time, so you may not have enough time to go to therapy. With online therapy, you can schedule an appointment whenever best works for you. 

Online therapy can also be beneficial for those who experience anxiety. One study found that those participating in online therapy experienced a reduction in the prevalence of their symptoms and severity. Another study found that online therapy was more cost-effective than face-to-face options, which may be beneficial for those spending money on planning a family event. 


Family reunions can be enjoyable and unique but may come with stress and worry. No matter your budget, planning a memorable and unique event is possible. However, it may not be possible to please everyone, and planning such an event might begin to take a toll on your mental well-being. If you're struggling to decide how to proceed, consider contacting a counselor for further guidance and support.

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