Among the many lessons that living through Covid-19 has taught us, it is to never take freedom for granted. Planning and attending weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, and other life events were once the norm. Now? Grandparents can only see their newborn grandchildren through phones and glass windows.
When the fog and misery lifts, as we all hope it will, seeing our loved ones again will be a blessing. However, the truth is, we simply can not wish away a pandemic. As a result, family reunions may take a different form from the carefree bonding sessions we are used to.
Let’s discuss some ideas to help you plan a glorious family reunion.
Photo by August de Richelieu
When and Where?
In the event that you and your loved ones all live in the same state, you are in luck. You will only be planning for local travel which is a lot easier to navigate. On the other hand, if you are all spread across different locations, that might be a little more complex.
Save the Date
As with most events, the ideal date will have to be one that can fit into the schedules of those involved. That said, you may want to consider travel restrictions such as the requirement for quarantine after landing at some airports. While it is likely that they will be eased as solutions for Coronavirus come about, it may be a slow adjustment. Your proposed date should factor that in.
A great way to cut down on logistics would be to choose a location based on the majority. How so? If most of your loved ones live on the East Coast, for example, let that be the venue of the reunion. It would make logistics less complicated.
However, consider the elderly like your parents or grandparents. Even when vaccines begin to be administered, their health might still be vulnerable. It would be prudent to go to them. A family reunion would never be the same without them.
The infamous ‘Patient 31‘ probably never imagined that they would wreak so much havoc. Yet, they did. There is, therefore, a need to exercise caution. The ease of restrictions and the availability of a vaccine will not mean that everyone is suddenly cured.
In light of this, discuss safety measures with your family. Consider taking tests and isolating for a week or more before the event. If a vaccine is available, get it. Hold each other accountable for the sake of everyone’s well-being.
A Festive Look
Hosting at home may be a lot more convenient and safer. If you choose to, some festive decor would be appropriate. You might be planning a Christmas get-together but it will be an occasion that signifies much more. Births, weddings, milestone birthdays, and anniversaries have not taken a break due to Coronavirus. Unfortunately, neither have the tragedies of life such as death.
Decor and the setup of the venue will anchor the mood for the event. Surviving a pandemic is certainly something to be thankful for so a festive look would be in order. Besides streamers and party favours, lighting is also a great tool. Not sure where to get them? Not to worry, click here for some great options.
When the mood is set, ensure that you have enough seating for everyone. Look into hiring some extra tables and chairs in case you do not have enough.
A Taste of Home
One of the things we all look forward to during family events is a warm hearty meal. Grandma’s special pie or an aunt’s inimitable pierogi are treasured as much as family heirlooms. So, you will certainly have to plan generously for food and refreshments.
There are a couple of options you could explore. A potluck, a cook-up where you all make meals together or hiring a catering service are all great ideas. It all depends on your family tradition. On refreshments, you could arrange to offer soft drinks and have everyone bring their desired tipple.
One of the greatest impacts of Coronavirus has been the loss of jobs and incomes for most people. It would be unfair to expect the host to cater to everyone’s needs and solely bear the financial burden. Everyone chipping in on costs to take that burden off their shoulders would be a better way to go about it.
Opening your home up to other people comes with its fair share of responsibility. If you end up being the one to host, you will need to get your home ready. Similarly, if your parents or grandparents are hosting, lend them a helping hand.
You will need adequate supplies in terms of groceries, utensils, and toiletries. It would be ideal to shop in bulk so that you do not run out, it saves you money too. When that is done, arrange to have the house cleaned. Set up any extra rooms for guests that may need to stay over.
Inspect the home for safety hazards for children and get them addressed. Sharp objects, fragile items, tiny knick-knacks they can swallow, and open pools are a few examples to wary of. In the same breath, consider anyone on your guest list that may have special needs and endeavour to accommodate them.
For those that have lost loved ones during this tragic pandemic, this may have been a trigger to read. Still, it is important to surround yourself with people that make you feel loved and cared for. Friends that have held your hand through life’s upheavals can be family too.
It is such a great fortune to be able to gather those you care about at a table and break bread with them. Granted, planning Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s might be a lot different than usual going forward. Still, it is imperative that we celebrate them when we are finally able to.
If we learn nothing else from the turn of events this year, let us never forget how fleeting life can be. Make merry together while you can.