Mister Spiffy Selects a Reunion Type

Type – n. A kind, class, or group as distinguished by a particular characteristic.

Mister Spiffy Says: "Back then, we only had two types of reunions – ‘Yes, we’re having a reunion’ and ‘You expectin’ a reunion?’. What I wouldn’t do for the good old days."

The first problem for which you must find a solution is just what type of reunion you want to hold. Do you want to deal with the whole extended family (BIG reunion), or just your own little bitsy branch (you know, the Spiffy branch of the family)? Do you want an annual gathering (once a year), once every few years (which would be…uh, once every few years, obviously), or a once-in-a-lifetime event? Perhaps a ‘once upon a time.’ Oh, the choices…

Which Part of the Family Do We Invite?

The decisions on which side of the family to invite, and what type of reunion go hand in hand. Mister Spiffy advises against inviting all 300 descendants of Great Grandpa Jones to a pool party reunion, unless you have a really big pool.

The least planning intensive family reunion is simply invite those living in your own household ("Kids... think of dinner tonight as our family reunion"). OK, so that's not really a reunion since nobody is being "reunited". This means you need to figure out "who else" to invite. Start with your closest relatives and work out. Then stop when you've reached your limit.

  • Mom and dad (who may also be known as grandma and grandpa)
  • Brothers and sisters (Mister Spiffy says you better invite their families too!)
  • Then work your way up the ancestral ladder... grandparents, great grandparents, etc. But remember, every step back on that ladder adds a ton of new potential attendees. In fact, you will probably come to a point where you don't have any idea who all the descendants are. This is the type of reunion that is especially important to announce in our Family Reunion Registry, so that those relatives can find you instead of the other way around.

Regardless of how you decide which branches to invite, make sure you don't invite only some people in the branch and not others (even if there are hard feelings involved... this will only make them worse).

What Type of Reunion Should We Have?

The simplest reunion to host (and fairly cheap, if you have one every year) would be a picnic or barbecue at a family’s home or a nearby park. If you’ve never held a reunion before and are a rookie to all of this, Mister Spiffy says this could very well be the way to go. It takes less time to plan and doesn’t cost a whole lot. It’s the easiest to spring for, too. It can be rotated between the homes of various people over the course of years or you can just find a nice park and hold it there each year. Just make absolutely sure that there are plenty of trees to sit under for shade and for the smaller folk to climb on. Mister Spiffy understands children very well and that they like to climb things – and he would prefer if it were not the rose trellis leading up to the roof.

Other relatively easy-to-plan reunions include a nice dinner and reception at a good restaurant, or maybe a nice hotel and resort. These don’t require a large amount of planning on your part (which has always been a plus for Mister Spiffy). All you need to do is make reservations, plan a few activities for people to enjoy, and notify relatives of the address of wherever you happen to be going.

If your family is the outdoors type, try out a family camping trip. Make sure the campsite you reserve is large enough for the family and that everyone knows to bring their own accommodations (RV, trailer, tent, or just a sleeping bag). If everyone brings his or her own food (you know, sharing and creating a massive smorgasbord), this becomes very easy to plan and carry out.

But, Mister Spiffy feels obligated to mention – don’t plan this during the winter or rainy season when there will be snow or six-inches of mud on the ground up there in all the campsites. That’s usually a damper on the occasion. Literally.

Big reunions need to be announced very far in advance to give everyone enough time to plan around it and save up. This would include, but is not limited to, reunions at theme parks (like DisneyWorld…Mister Spiffy likes going there), or larger reunions where massive swarms of relatives descend like locusts upon an old family homestead for several very long days. You can also take one of those family cruises if your family wants to pay for it (and pay for it they will).

Most of these larger reunions will require a significant amount of planning by those in charge – and can demand quite a significant outlay of cash from those members attending. Make sure you are ready to spend Mister Spiffy-like hours planning one of these.

Mister Spiffy’s Helpful Hints – If this is your first attempt at planning a family reunion, send out a survey asking the relatives what they would like to do. This can help you avoid some obvious rookie mistakes.