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A Little Planning Can Make for the Most Memorable Family Gatherings


Many families will be gathering this summer to share traditions and make new memories. More than seven out of 10 people agree that the best way to continue their family's traditions is through gatherings and celebrations, according to a new survey by Kelton Research. With each passing year, however, 68 percent of Americans admit reuniting with family is becoming harder. To ensure that your family continues to build lasting memories, a little early planning goes a long way.

Whether you're preparing for a large reunion for family members around the world, or an intimate gathering for those nearby, follow these helpful tips to ensure your next gathering creates memories that last a lifetime:

* Put together an invite and address list. Determine if you want a small gathering or want to include distant relatives. Identify one person from each family branch and begin assembling contact information for each person on your invite list.

* Gauge interest and availability. Reach out to a few relatives and get feedback on dates, locations and possible reunion theme. Keep in mind travel distance for all family members and consider extending the reunion festivities to span a few days.

* Create a budget. Determine how much money is needed for food and travel, and if other family members will share the cost.

* Find a location. Is there a place with special significance to your family or is a family member willing to open up their home?

* Plan the menu. Gather favorite family recipes and ask family members to be responsible for bringing those dishes.  And, don't forget that cooking together during the reunion can conjure fun family memories and help make new ones as well!

* Organize activities. Plan activities that will allow distant family members to get reacquainted. Download the Smucker family tree and re-discover your family's origins.

* Arrange for seating and rainy day accommodations. If you're hosting the reunion at a family member's home, consider chair and table rentals, as well as a tent for outdoor activities.

* Capture the day. Identify one to two family members to serve as the official reunion photographers/videographers.  

As a family-run company that has passed down time-honored recipes for the past four generations, The J.M. Smucker Company is eager to hear from families across the country about their recipes and traditions.  Families are invited to visit www.Smuckers.com to enter the "Spreading Smucker's Traditions" contest and share their family-favorite recipes and memories.  Between June 16 and August 11, 2008 consumers who enter their families' recipes that have been handed down for at least two generations will have a chance to win a five day, four night family trip for eight to the Walt Disney World Resort that includes airfare, transportation to/from the airport hotel accommodations for four nights, five-day Magic Your Way Tickets with Park Hopper option and commemorative Disney T-shirts and photos.  

Categories: Advice, Ideas & Stories, Feature Stories, MomShare,

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