Ideas for an Epic Holiday Family Get-Together
By Christine Hill
Nothing is better than getting the whole family together to spend some quality time during the holidays.
However, it can also be a monumental undertaking. Planning food, entertainment, and accommodation for everyone takes time and stress. You want to be able to enjoy the holiday and actually spend time with your family, but if you’re the host, you probably spend most of your time running around like a chicken with your head cut off instead.
Well, there’s only so much you can do to keep your stress reined in during this time of year. But here are a few tips and ideas that I’ve seen be wildly successful in the past. So, if you’re planning a huge family get-together, read on for some inspiration. And then, share your favorite tips and ideas below!
Have a Kids’ Zone
One of the hardest things about a family get-together is making sure that the entertainment and activities will appeal to all ages. However, your job will get a whole lot easier when you realize that not everything needs to appeal to everyone at the same time. There will be times when the old folks want to just relax with a book or talk about old times, and the kids are bound to get restless and whiny over it.
Curtail the family tensions by providing a fun playzone and outlet for the kids. You can have an area set up that’s entirely dedicated to kid’s activities. Here are some ideas:
- Paint and accessories to make pet rocks
- Holiday handicrafts like paper snowflakes and popsicle stick reindeer
- Holiday stories and activity books
You might also designate a few older kids or adults to take special time to direct activities for the younger kids. Think about setting up a nativity play for them, or ask a senior member of the family to read to the kids out of your favorite Christmas treasury. You might also have a few adults in charge of snow activities like sledding and building snowmen.
Record as Much as Possible
Amazing memories are made when family gets together. Come prepared to record and document what goes on. You’ll probably want to have a camcorder for talent shows or special moments from the kids. But what I’ve found really handy in the past is handheld audio recording equipment for the late-night talks. That’s when the old stories and memories come out of grandma and grandpa, and you’ll want to record those reminiscences for the future. Handheld recorders don’t have the same pressure that a video recording does, and you can be inconspicuous and record long measures of time. You can get an audio recording with your phone, but sometimes it’s worthwhile to invest in a quality recorder that will pick up the subtleties of sound and cut atmospheric noise.
Do a Secret Santa Gift Exchange
Getting gifts for everyone during a holiday family get-together is just way too much. And the thing is, no one else wants to deal with that many gifts either. They’re difficult to transport and they drain the bank. Instead, pick names out of a hat ahead of time so that everyone is getting a gift from someone at the get-together, but you yourself aren’t in charge of putting together something thoughtful for every blood relation you have.
Bond with Some Awesome Branded Apparel
It might seem like going to extremes for just a family get-together, but if your family is like mine, it’s a monumental event when we get everyone in the same place. And nothing makes a memory quite like customized apparel. T-shirts or hats are the old favorites, but don’t feel too limited. You could also get bags, water bottles, flashlights, or other cool items. Challenge someone in your family (or a couple people) with design chops to put together something more than bare text.
Custom apparel has a few great functions. First, it’s a keepsake that your whole family can cherish and flaunt. Secondly, it creates unity in the family right from the get-go. Thirdly, it can help if you go out somewhere to always spot the members of your family (this is especially handy if you’ve got a lot of little ones running around). Last of all, it can make a great Christmas present.
Ask Everyone to Help
The best way to keep the task of planning a family get-together from becoming too stressful is to balance out the responsibility. Ask smaller groups to take charge of portions. For example, one brother can handle Friday’s dinner plans and another can take care of Saturday morning breakfast. Ask family members ahead of time to prepare something for a talent show that you’ll have one night. Ask someone to take charge of a venture to drive and see the Christmas lights in the area. Although it might feel like a cop out at first to spread the responsibility around, it makes for a better experience for everyone! When people participate and are all involved in making something great, they’re more likely to have a good time.
How about you? What kind of great ideas have you seen done for family get-togethers?
Christine is a professional writer and an avid reader who’s passionate about storytelling in all its forms. At any given moment, she’s in the middle of at least three books on anything from human psychology to ninjas. Although she’s a marathon swimmer and enjoys camping in the mountains, she believes there’s nothing better than a carton of ice cream and a Dawson’s Creek marathon.