If you surround yourself with people for whom you harbour a genuine fondness and that love is reciprocated then in the end it doesn’t really matter either way, but you’d likely still want to make the effort to make sure any extended family events you plan are actually enjoyable. There are few things in this world which are worse than situations wherein it’s nothing but painful awkwardness everybody just wants to get away from at the first chance they get, especially if it starts feeling like everybody is just going through the motions.
It should be fun, fun which is attested to by the desire for the extended family members to want to do it all again the next time some kind of celebratory get-together is called for. How do you do it though? How do you make sure the extended family-do you plan and host goes down well and actually makes for some well-deserved down-time during which everybody can have a blast or just relax?
Plan with the kids in mind
This is the ultimate secret to the successful planning and execution of an extended family event that will duly meet its main purpose, which is to bring everybody together and continue to create some happy memories to hold on to. Plan for the kids and make sure their entertainment is well taken care of.
Plan one or two main events to go with some complementary distractions, such as setting up a main play area (with jumping castles and the likes) which gives the adults a good vantage point from which to keep a casual eye on proceedings.
The adult fun should be taken as it comes
As far as the adult fun goes, this will fall into place naturally. Once the kids are taken care of and the big kids can relax a bit themselves, the flow will dictate how proceedings develop, for example popping a champagne bottle might just signify the beginning of the ‘parallel’ party.
It’s usually great to just be in each others’ company and catch up as well, isn’t it?
‘Communal’ gifts everybody can enjoy as a shared experience
Finally, there’s really no need to complicate matters by breaking your head trying to get everybody in attendance a gift. It was indeed after all their choice to honour your invitation and come by, so don’t think too much about the emergent and associated traditions such as feeling an obligation to reciprocate something like a physical gift which each your guests brought. If they’re really your family then such gestures come from a good place – they come from the heart and it’s only a means through which to perhaps lighten the burden you nominated yourself to carry by inviting everybody over to your place.
If however you do feel some kind of obligation to mark the occasion with some gifts, make them communal in nature, such as buying thanksgiving gift baskets of which the contents everybody can enjoy as a shared experience. Whatever is leftover by way of consumables can be distributed as something for the road.