Christmas Entertaining

Planning the Perfect Family Holiday Reunion

When you’re a vegan with two dogs and in a long-term relationship, trying to get all your relatives under one roof can be one of the most stressful things. Having dealt with all the schedules and details of my past holiday reunion with my relatives, I’ve learnt the hard way, so let me share a few tips to make your holiday reunion planning go smooth and easy:

1. Plan ahead.
If you have relatives all over the country, you may need to give them a few months’ notice about the upcoming reunion. Coordinate with your relatives as to which date is easiest, and check your home and neighborhood if it can accommodate everyone. Some may need to stay in nearby hotels and other relatives that live along the area, and may need to reserve a space beforehand. Also check in advance if your house is conducive to pets, young children, and older men and women, as your relatives are invariably sure to have one or all of these in their household.

2. Coordinate.
Whether you call, write, or post on a private event page on your favorite social network, get everyone’s contact details at hand, and ask them about special needs, like a space for their newborn, or your garage space to park their vehicle. If you can get everyone to communicate beforehand and communicate with each other, you can get a feel about everyone’s needs, wants and ideas, with hopefully little surprises you have to deal with when they arrive. Check head count, time of arrival, and all the other pertinent information to head off any bombshells.

3. Have a potluck/Order in.
While my household is used to eating vegan fare, some of my uncles and aunts are strictly meaty. For any dietary needs, like diabetic meals, have a potluck. Ask them in advance what they plan to bring just so you don’t get three pans of stuffing, and two pies with no main dish. If your family is not really the cooking type, hire a caterer and split the expenses beforehand. When I offered last year to cook a full vegan holiday meal, an aunt offered to cover the expenses of a home cooked meal bought from a restaurant. It made preparation so much easier, and I got to cook some of my dishes as well. Everyone was happy with the feast.

4. Designate tasks.
A nephew who had recently bought a camera was assigned to take the photos. My niece who loves to plan events created a program to keep the children and the adults occupied between meals. My aunt set the table with her expert hands. Everyone chipped in to help, and this made us all bond over the event we all helped create. I had time to enjoy the event as well, not being cooped up trying to cook for everyone, or set all the tables and the like.
Planning the perfect family holiday reunion really is not just for one person to stress over. It being a family event, try to get everyone involved and have the time to host and enjoy the reunion as well. Trust me; you’ll thank yourself in the end!