Family Reunion Ideas And Plans

Updated August 24, 2021

Medically Reviewed By: Sonya Bruner

Family reunions are like weddings: they can be incredibly fun and incredibly stressful - especially if you're the one planning them! It can be tough coming up with family reunion ideas because there may be a lot of different age groups and personalities to consider.

For instance, if you're planning on playing a game with the whole family, you can't exactly choose Cards Against Humanity and figure you're covered. You certainly can't play a game like that with young children, and chances are Grandma and Grandpa won't want to play it either. On that note, you may want to consider some of the following suggestions that are more likely to be family-friendly and please everyone equally (or, as equally as possible).

So you've decided to organize your family reunion - now what? Should everyone get together for a backyard barbecue, a formal dinner, an informal gathering at your house? Your family reunion should center on what you think a majority of your family members might enjoy.

For some families, a backyard barbecue with a photo booth can be a lot of fun. Add some props for even more silliness. And you can never go wrong really with a DJ. Encourage everyone to dance the night away so that even if they feel awkward around family members, they barely know; they can always choose to cut a rug when their favorite song comes on.

A great way to remember a family reunion is to have shirts made up to celebrate the occasion. Shirts are great because you can put anything you want on them, and they make for a great reminder for years to come. Even if you no longer fit into it in the future, you can make it into a pillow or quilt. Or you can let your son or daughter wear it. A shirt is so much more useful than, say, a commemorative bottle of bubbles, or an etched champagne flute.

But what are some ideas as to what you can put on the shirt? Well, anything. You can put something as formal as "The Smith Family" and the year of the reunion, or you can get crazy with it and put something like a family tree with everyone's names on it. That's certainly a unique idea!

You can also get specific shirts celebrating aunts and uncles, grandparents and cousins, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews. It can get a little pricey to do things separately, so you may want to come up with the idea that you can group and give everyone the same shirt. But if you don't have family reunions often, and you have a little extra cash to spend, then you may want to splurge on a shirt as a one-of-a-kind gift for the guests.

family reunion ideas - group high fiving


Family Reunion Theme Ideas

Is your family into sports? Set up a badminton or tennis net, and divide everyone into teams. Take turns playing different teams to give everyone a break. If you know some members of your family may get a little carried away with competition, it's best to keep the game as low-impact and lighthearted as possible. For these family reunion ideas, you can even set up simpler games around the yard, like horseshoes or croquet.

It's not the best idea for catching up with family members you haven't seen in a while, but you might also want to consider setting up an outdoor movie night. Sometimes you might want family reunion ideas that don't require lots of conversation! Add some blankets and pillows to the mix, and don't forget the snacks and, if it's still summer, the bug spray. Heck, you can even show the movie at the end of the night to make sure everyone's gotten some good conversation in first. (Bonus points for if you make the movie one centered on familial relations, like Life as a House or Father of the Bride.)

Family Reunion Game Ideas

You may think it is impossible to find a game that can suit everyone in the family, but there are oodles of games out there that everyone can play and have fun as a family. What follows are some truly unique family reunion ideas that can give the whole family amazing memories that last long after the party has ended.

  • Frisbee Golf With A Reunion-Related Twist - Frisbee golf is already a twist on the classic game of golf, but what if you added a family reunion-specific twist to the game? For example, for every hole, you can set up a station where people can learn a fact about another family member, or answer a fun question to help everyone get to know them better.

a family playing jenga


  • Hot Potato Camera - This is another fun twist on a classic game - plus it creates two sets of memories at once! The difference is, in this game, the hot potato is the camera. Set the camera's timer and pass it around, with each person holding it out as if to take a selfie. When the timer goes off, the person the camera takes a picture of is out. Plus, you'll get to have a ton of pictures after the game with people making the best faces ever - which you could then make into Shutterfly books and gifts for your guests.
  • Who's Who - Have everyone in the family send you a baby picture of themselves. Post the pictures on a poster board, and see who can guess the most pictures right within a certain amount of time. Have nice gifts ready for the winner and the runner-up, like a photo album or a candle.
  • Getting To Know You Ball Game - Grab an inflatable ball, and write a bunch of questions on the ball, like "Favorite restaurant?", "Favorite holiday?", "Least favorite food?", "Pepsi or Coke?"…you get the idea. Throw the ball around, and whoever catches it has to answer a question on the ball. This is a great way to get to know family members you don't know all that well, or learn more about the ones you do.

Family Reunion Gift Ideas

There are several times at a reunion where a gift might be appropriate. You can use gifts as prizes for games. You can give out party favors, either to all the guests or just to the kids. Or you can buy gifts for those relatives that you never see to give them something a bit more special. Whatever you choose to do, you may be looking for ideas to give to those specific people.

Here are some ideas to help gift-giving at your reunion go a little smoother.

  • Photo Frames/Albums - It's highly likely that an inordinate number of pictures will be taken at your reunion. Why not give people something to put them in? You can grab a bucketload of those cheap photo albums at the dollar store and give everyone an album as a party favor. Or you can get crafty with it and grab a bunch of cheap wooden frames from the craft store and paint and design them yourself - maybe even personalize them with each guest's name.
  • A Slideshow - Give the gift of photos yourself by giving everyone a copy of a family photo slideshow. Ask everyone to send you some shots of them going about their daily lives - going to the beach, playing sports, getting off of the school bus, etc. - and combine them all to make a lovely slideshow of "A Day in the Life of the Smith Family." Make a copy for each family within your family to bring home and enjoy.
  • Have Them Bring The Gifts - Do you have a bunch of family members that live out of state? Ask them to bring some souvenirs with them, like magnets, postcards, or anything else they would like to bring that represents their state. Then, have everyone place what they've brought on a table, and people can go up to the table and take one of each souvenir home with them.

family reunion ideas; trust falls and hugs


  • Personalized Items - You can get just about anything personalized nowadays. Pick up some mugs with "The Smith Family" printed on them, with the year of the reunion. Or buy an engraved pen set for the older members of the family. You can also get everyone a practical gift, like pencil cases for the kids, or embroidered totes for the adults.
  • Party Favors - Party favors can be anything you'd like them to be. Magnets are a good fit, especially if they're personalized. You can even give something funny, like drawstring bags that say "I Survived the Smith Family Reunion!" or something to that effect. Make up little goodie bags that have everything in them from hand sanitizer to keychains and water bottles.

Are you still stressed out about your upcoming family reunion? Our counselors at BetterHelp can help. Reach out to us anytime for tips and advice on how to survive your next family function.


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