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Choose a Theme

Your family reunion will be more memorable and interesting if you build it around a particular theme.

A theme is a central idea around which you plan your family reunion. Here are some examples:

  • A particular ancestor. Perhaps there are people still living who remember an ancestor who has gone to his or her reward. You can focus on that ancestor, digging out all that's known about him.
  • An aging family member. A person doesn't have to be dead to deserve honor. Do you have someone in the family who has turned 85 or 90? What about a reunion to spotlight the life of that person?
  • A family goal. You could create a family scholarship fund, erect a memorial to a deserving ancestor or raise funds to help a particular charity.
  • Historical heritage. Suppose your family has a lot of ancestors from good old South Carolina, USA, but now you're scattered in other locations. You could focus your reunion on that state. You could choose the country of Kenya, or the city of Amsterdam or any other place a branch of your family hails from.
  • A historical era. Look at life in the 1800's, for example, with a focus on what it was like for your ancestors.
  • Ethnic heritage. If your family's ethnic heritage forms a strong part of its identity, why not celebrate that?

Benefits of a Theme

There are several benefits to having a theme for your family reunion.

  • It's easier to plan your reunion. With a theme, you design your invitations and decor around your theme. Your program deals with the theme and so do your other activities. Even the location may be decided by your theme. For example, suppose one of your family lines came to the United States from Sweden. Your invitations can feature a Swedish flag and a headline such as "Enjoy a Taste of Sweden." Your food can be a smorgasbord of Swedish dishes. You can have a program about life in Sweden and perhaps learn a few Swedish words. You may even want to hold the reunion in that country. Having a theme opens the floodgates of your imagination and takes away the stress of having to make a lot of unrelated decisions.
  • A theme makes the reunion memorable. Family members will say, "That was the reunion where we honored Grandma Smith." It's not just another family party. When the reunion is over, family members will leave with the feeling they have roots, too.
  • It helps you reach your goal. If you set a goal for this reunion, building the theme around it can help you achieve it. Suppose your goal was to collect information about Great Grandpa White. Setting the theme of the reunion around him will give you the chance to invite everyone to bring materials about him.

Choose a theme that you will find personally rewarding or that you think will benefit your family as a whole. Be sure to write it down; it will become a central element in planning and holding your reunion.