Three Ways To Break The Ice At Family Reunions

Are you hosting a large family gathering during the upcoming holidays and are becoming anxious at the thought of trying to keep everyone entertained and engaged? This can be particularly difficult for those whose family members live in various parts of the country and are of different ages and backgrounds. These days, it's not uncommon for extended family members to keep in contact with one another through social media yet not really know each other well, and this can result in awkward moments in large family gatherings. Fortunately, there are ice breaking strategies available to help hosts in your position ensure that their gatherings go smoothly and that everyone has a good time. Here's what you can do to help everyone feel comfortable with one another:

Get Out the Old Photos

Ask everyone who's coming to bring their favorite family photos -- the older, the better -- few things spark the imagination more than learning about family history from first-hand sources. This provides an excellent bridge between generations -- it'll mostly be the older people bringing the photos. For even more engagement, you could ask if anyone has gone the genealogy route and researched the family tree, and if so, you ask if you could print out copies of this for everyone. Because everyone thinks their family is interesting, conversation will soon be freely flowing, and participants will develop a deeper connection with one another. 

Encourage those who don't have historical family photos to share to bring their own baby pictures.

Play Virtual Reality Games 

Virtual reality games are an activity that everyone can enjoy no matter how old or young. Unlike family photos and genealogy, however, virtual reality games usually involve the young people leading the way and to use their expertise at navigating modern technology to show their older relatives something new. There is a huge variety of games available -- for instance, you can be riding a magic carpet through space exploring an African jungle, or going back to the time when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. Soon, after introducing virtual reality to your family gathering, the ice will be broken and everyone will be happily entertained -- they might even be having so much fun that it's hard to pry them away when it's time for everyone to go to the dinner table. 

A good virtual reality system is a great investment for your home because no one will ever be bored -- you'll find plenty of use for it after your family gathering is over. 

Play a Gift-Giving Game

When you send out invitations for the festivities, ask each person to bring a relatively inexpensive wrapped gift so that everyone can play a gift-giving game. Have each person draw a number out of a hat to determine the order of who picks from the pile of gifts. The person drawing #1 starts the game, selects a gift, unwraps it, and holds it up to show the rest of the crowd what it is. The next person can either choose another gift from the pile or decide to take the one that the first person got, and that person then has the opportunity to choose another gift from the pile. The progression continues, with each person deciding whether or not to keep the gift they chose or take someone else's. The person who chooses last is the lucky one -- they get to have any gift they want. This game is a great way to get people talking and having fun, and in the end, everyone winds up with a gift even though it may not be their first choice, and many trade among themselves after the drawing is ended to get something they like better. 

Your family gathering will be remembered for years as a wonderful time by all who attended.