Mister Spiffy Shares Some Ideas

Idea – n. A thought, conception or notion; a plan of action.

Mister Spiffy Says: "I just got lost in thought. It was unfamiliar territory."

Here are some ideas that can add that special something to your family reunion. Some of these can be spontaneously done at the reunion, some need a little bit of planning before the reunion, while others require a quite substantial amount of work. If you have any other ideas that you would like to share with Mister Spiffy and the other people who visit this page, let Mister Spiffy know. If you're looking for ideas for activities or games, Mister Spiffy says to click here.

Welcome Address

Whether your reunion is large or small, it's nice to have a "Welcoming address" to kick the thing off. It doesn't have to be long... 5 - 10 minutes unless you have a really good speaker in the family. Here's a few things you might put in a welcoming address...

  • Welcome everyone to the reunion, and thank them for coming.
  • Mention which different families (or family lines) are at the reunion.
  • Give a general outline of the day's (or weekend's) festivities.
  • Thank the people who helped put the reunion together.
  • And of course, add a few well placed jokes or inspirational thoughts.

Certificates and Awards

Create certificates to be passed out to family members. Use your imagination and try to think up as many categories as possible, so that you can recognize the largest amount of family members that you can. Possible recognition categories include these basics:

  • The oldest and youngest family members
  • Who traveled the least and greatest distances to attend
  • Who has attended the most consecutive reunions
  • Youngest grandparents
  • Couple with the most children or grandchildren

And now some of the categories Mister Spiffy came up with! He calls them "Mister Spiffy’s Eccentric Awards."

  • "Bizarre Gymnast" Award…who can do the most things with their tongue?
  • "Balancing Act" Award…who can stand on their hands (or head) the longest
  • "Historian" Award…for someone who takes pictures of people when they least expect it
  • "Get Up and Go" Award…the person who sleeps the latest, if it’s an overnight reunion
  • "Fire Dragon" Award…whoa! What morning breath! (Actually, it's probably not wise to award this one)
  • "Plant Life" Award…that one family member that they have at every family reunion who just sits there and watches everyone else have fun
  • "Miss Universe" Award…that one girl who wakes up in the morning looking perfect after two days of camping

A Family Recipe Book

Create a family recipe book using the favorite recipe (or a few of them) from each family. Collect the recipes beforehand (it makes you look organized, Mister Spiffy says) and put them into a word processor. You can include food and family-related clipart to spice up the book’s look. Make sure you give credit to all the contributors. Everyone likes to see their name in print, even when the only people to see it will be their family. Print a copy of all the recipes and take them to your local copy shop. They can put them together in a book format and bind them for you. You might want to ask family members to chip in for the printing, or take orders for the in advance to pay for it. Mister Spiffy says that you can pay for it yourself, of course, but most people wouldn’t prefer that.

Family History Book

If you have a genealogy software program capable of automatically printing books of your family (descendants of the main person, along with pictures, notes, etc), print a book of your family and make it available. If your program can print photos in the book, ask family members for a picture to scan in and include in the book. Have a marker available for corrections and updates to the book for next year’s reunion (you know, babies and all).

Large Family Wall Charts

One of the most popular items at many family reunions are the large family charts which show all the family members and how they are related. They start with the ancestor and show all the cousins, aunts, and uncles and other relatives attending the reunion, and lets you see how everyone is hooked together. You can even add pictures of family members (if you have them).

Family Newsletter

A family newsletter is a great way to keep in touch with each other between reunions. It doesn’t have to be a monthly thing, no, not at all. Two or three times a year is plenty to keep everyone in touch. It doesn’t have to be long, and you can ask for a small donation to offset printing and mailing. Ask family members to send you information, and use your own word processor to write the newsletter. Here’s a few of Mister Spiffy’s suggestions on what to include:

  • Spotlight one of the family members
  • Print a list of upcoming birthdays and anniversaries. You might want to leave the year off for some of those over sensitive female relatives, or better yet, put in a year that makes her younger, and you've got a new friend for life.
  • Anniversaries of any particular event (next Wednesday marks the third anniversary of when Little Billy fell down the hill and broke a rib)
  • Print new addresses for families that have moved
  • Memorial stories on family members who have recently passed away

Family Reunion T-Shirts

Make your own family reunion t-shirts. Have a creative family member create a design for the reunion t-shirts. Many office supply or hobby stores sell thermal transfer paper, which you can print designs on, and then iron onto a t-shirt. You can find out when you send the invitations how many people want to buy a family reunion t-shirt, and collect the funds with the ticket price. If you have the design already done, send a copy of that design to help them make up their mind. Buy plain white cotton t-shirts in bulk and figure their cost and the cost of the transfer paper. Or if you don't want to do all the work yourself, have someone print family reunion t-shirts for you.

Guest Book

Buy a guest book (kind of like the ones at wedding receptions) for attendees to sign when they arrive. In addition to their name, you might ask them to write their address and phone number as well. Then, as the reunion winds down, ask them to enter a comment about their favorite moment at the reunion ("When dad got dragged through the mud during the tug of war"). Collect these books from each reunion, and have them available for laughs at future reunions.

Name Tags

Use your computer to print out nametags for all the attendees. In addition to the person’s name, you could add the city and state they live in. One fun thing to do if you have the time (and Mister Spiffy knows time is hard to come by) is to also add the meaning of the person's name. Hand the name tags out as the family members arrive at the reunion. Or, if you want a little less work, just buy a big pack of stick-on nametags and have people write their names (or nicknames can be fun) on there themselves.

Family Directory

As that creative name implies, a Family Directory would be…a directory of your family. Anyways, create a family directory to give as a take-home gift to everyone who attends the reunion, or you can charge a small fee to cover the cost of producing it. Use your home computer and a word processing program to create the directory.

List your family members’ names, addresses, telephone numbers, and e-mail addresses if they have one. You could also include their birth dates, ages, important anniversaries (like Little Billy’s trip to the hill where he broke a rib), special interests or hobbies, school information, pictures, and anything else you want to put in that describes them. Don’t forget to include college addresses, et cetera, for kids who are living away at school.

Compile this information into a book format. Use the plastic binders that you can find in the school supplies section of your favorite retailer to bind the information in a cheap manner, or you can take it to your local quick print or copy shop. They can reproduce as many copies as you need and attractively bind it with a variety of bindings in different price ranges.

Family Reunion Scrapbook

Scrapbooking is hot. After your family reunion is over, have the creative person in the family put together a scrapbook of the reunion. Then make copies of the scrapbook to send to people, or just bring the scrapbook to the next reunion for folks to browse through. What should you put in the scrapbook? Mister Spiffy thought you'd never ask.

  • A synopsis of the reunion (there Mister Spiffy goes again with big words... he just means a short overview of what everybody did at the reunion).
  • Photos that were taken at the reunion (group photos, individual photos, photos of activities, pictures of the location). If you have a scanner to scan these photos in, it will be much easier to make copies for everybody.
  • A record page for all those awards you passed out at the reunion (oldest and youngest attendee, greatest distance, Fire Dragon, etc).
  • A statistics page (how many people attended, how much food you went through, how long it took the back lawn to recover)

Family Reunion Website

To make a long story short... do the scrapbook thing above, but put it online for the whole family to visit throughout the year. In addition, you can post information about next years reunion. Mister Spiffy points out that when people see the photos of last years reunion, it will remind them how much fun they had, and will influence their decision to attend the next one.

Mister Spiffy’s Helpful Hints – Just like the activities, Mister Spiffy wants to make sure you know that you don’t have to do any or all of these ideas. These are just starters. In fact, he encourages you to use your imagination. He urges you to think creatively and come up with some ideas of your own. If you do, and they work out well, please send them in to Mister Spiffy to help other people out.