Summer Family Reunions
(The Freeman) - March 16, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Just like snowflakes, no two families are exactly alike. One family might plan a massive reunion in order to catch up after 10 years apart; another might schedule mini-reunions every six months, despite living in the same town and seeing each other constantly. Organizing a family reunion has many purposes that are unique to each family. What all families can agree on, however, is that a family reunion provides an excellent opportunity to leave home and make memories in a new place – together. And summer may just be the perfect time.


Each family has its own mix of reasons for planning a reunion. It might be a just-because sort of thing, or it may be planned to coincide with a major family milestone, like a 50th wedding anniversary. Some families establish a routine of having a reunion every year, or every five years, to make sure that far-flung relatives don’t drift apart from one another. Even in families that see each other often, having a dedicated day or weekend when the focus is all about togetherness is useful in helping relatives reconnect.

Another purpose of a family reunion is to give young kids a chance to meet and get to know their cousins, aunts, uncles and other relatives, and for anyone else who is new to the family – like new spouses – to meet the extended group. For older relatives or those in poor health, a big family gathering presents one last chance to see everyone. These gatherings are also a way for families to celebrate their shared heritage and culture, to exchange family stories and to honor the memories of any relatives who have passed away.

Those sentimental reasons aside, some families find a reunion as a great excuse to take a wonderful vacation with all their nearest and dearest relatives.

Some families who all live in close proximity to one another may plan low-budget reunions in their own hometowns. But when the purpose of the gathering is to unite relatives who live far from one another, choosing an appealing destination is part of the fun. To settle on a destination, it helps to think about what will work for the older and disabled members of the clan. For example, planning a reunion in a heritage city may not be ideal if the place has uneven streets and mostly old buildings without elevators, which is hard for family members in wheelchairs.

An ideal reunion destination is one with amenities that appeal to little kids, older folks and everyone in between. There shall be plenty of room for everyone to gather and room for everyone to spread out. The place should be easily accessible by plane, boat or bus and preferably where everyone will have an easy time going to the venue upon arrival. It is also good to consider that some family members may have medical issues, and so the reunion should be held near hospitals and other medical facilities rather than in a remote area.

Resorts of any kind are convenient options for reunions because they’re spacious, offer various activities and dining options and have services like babysitters and spas that come in handy when adults need a break. Finally, if everyone’s budget will allow, why not a cruise ship for a family reunion? Like resorts, cruises have plentiful activities and no one has to cook – leaving plenty of time for the whole family to just relax and bond. ( - Kathryn Walsh

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