Mister Spiffy Spreads the Word

Word – n. News, information.

Mister Spiffy Says: "I love getting the mail. It’s always bills, but that still means that someone out there cares that I’m alive. It’s so comforting."

Once you select a date and a location, it’s time for that big, no-turning-back-now step – sending out the invitations. Once you work up the nerve, make sure you send them out as soon as possible to give the guests a fair amount of notice. You want to give everyone a chance to put the date on their calendars, juggle their schedules, and plan their vacation time.

After you’ve tracked down addresses for everyone – or as close as you’re going to get – design and mail the invitations. Then, a few weeks before the reunion, send something else out – a small little reminder to each family. You know how they are. Mister Spiffy is like that too.

You can use your computer to keep in touch with family, too – if you weren’t aware of that already. Your family newsletters, e-mail and online chats can help you keep in touch with everyone out there on this stretching sweep of planetary mass until the next family reunion.

The Invitation

This is normally the first exposure that your family members have to the upcoming reunion. It may take them a moment to get over the shock, so don’t make it too surprising. Make it neat and interesting, clean and orderly, to build up interest for the reunion. If necessary, mention that it is a Mister-Spiffy-Authentic reunion – that always gets the masses pouring in. You can use any simple word processing program or paint program to make the invitations, but a program specifically designed for this would probably make it a little easier. There are lots of drawing programs out there – Mister Spiffy has tested out most of them and found a bunch of good ones – that are designed to create cards, invitations, name tags, certificates, and anything else you could possibly want for a family reunion. Here is a program that will print invitations, name tags, certificates and other reunion related printouts. Use the invitation as the first introduction to the theme you’ve chosen for the reunion. Even if all you use is a word processor, Mister Spiffy suggests buying special decorated paper to spice it up a bit.

The content of the invitation should be clear, and definitely include –

  • Date, time, and location of the reunion.
  • Contact person’s (in other words, "your") phone number and address. Don’t assume everyone has it – if you had to hunt them down, they probably don’t know yours, either. Just presume that everyone is as unorganized as you are.
  • A description of the exciting upcoming event.
  • Cost per person or family and what is included in the ticket price, if you are charging admission fees. If any items are extra, be sure to state those and the cost.
  • Payment procedure.
  • A pre-addressed response card or form. If your family is on the "cheap" side, you might want to put a stamp on it as well (and get those 33 cents back with the admission fee).
  • Directions on how to get to where the fun is.
  • Mention if the guests should bring along any special clothing or equipment.

Following Up

A few weeks before the reunion, Mister Spiffy always appreciates it when he receives a small reminder about things that he had probably forgotten. Include what the weather is likely to be, a synopsis of all the planned reunion activities, and a list of items that guests should bring. If you’re doing a genealogical thing, Mister Spiffy says that each family should bring old photographs and family heirlooms to display throughout the reunion. Always remember a polite and sincere "Thanks for your interest, can’t wait to see you at the reunion" message at the end.

Keeping In Touch

In generations long past (like when Mister Spiffy was a kid), most family members lived within only a few miles or even a few blocks of each other. You were able (or perhaps forced) to interact with all of your extended family daily. Today, that’s not the case. It’s not unusual for there to be hundreds of miles between relatives and months between phone calls and letters. (Except Mister Spiffy – he writes to his dear old mother every week). Staying united as a family is not easy. Your home computer can make keeping in touch a little bit easier.

  • Invite your relatives who have computers to join in a family online chat.
  • Send out a family newsletter several times a year.
  • Create a family homepage, where you can post family pictures and information.
  • Create a family directory, with names, addresses, birthdays, and pictures.

Mister Spiffy’s Helpful Hints – Mister Spiffy wishes to inform the masses of fans he has out there that invitations are a very, very important first impression. There’s not much else to say other than make them good, for the reunion’s sake.