Are family birthday parties and other celebrations becoming hum drum? Does it feel like you are pulling teeth to get your close family members to attend? Do you have grand plans to entertain and commune with one another, gravely disappointed when you end up traveling from room to room on party day, watching people disengage with one another and retreat to their own corners?

Rest assured, there are ways that these family celebrations can be spruced up to such a point that your family begs you to continue the tradition of getting together to celebrate. Whether it is Grandma and Grandpa’s 50th wedding anniversary party, or a birthday bash for Johnny, who is turning one this summer, here are some ways to go all out at your next family gathering, causing your posse to beg you for more:

 

Collaborate!

 

Don’t take on all the details by yourself—have your spouse, your kiddos, and even your best friend help you brainstorm and come up with ways to make this party truly special. Bringing in fresh perspective will allow you to hear about and plan activities that haven’t been on the roster before. Your dutiful spouse can run the piñata station while your bestie whips up her signature cocktail behind the bar; fun and frivolity will ensue as you adopt the philosophy of “the more, the merrier”. In order to allow everyone to spend more time at the party, you can even consider renting out a private event venue to hand off the responsibilities to a professional.

 

Plan a Delicious yet “do-able” Menu

 

Wow your guests as they come in with some killer appetizers and fruit punch (spiked, if you prefer) and then settle down around the barbecue for some good brats and chips later on. Pick favorites that you know family members will love and that you can freeze and use later as leftovers. That’s one of the perks of planning; you get to keep all the leftovers if you wish!

 

Don’t Forget the Music!

 

Set up a DJ station and get some good tunes going that will inspire a party atmosphere. Hook a laptop up to a speaker system and have people put in their favorite requests. Ask a tech-savvy teen or even Uncle Bob to man the DJ station as you float around tending to other party details. Circle back around and inspire the development of an impromptu dance floor in the corner of the living room as everyone relaxes and soaks up the ambience you’ve created. Music can make or break a party; go all out and whip your guests into a musical frenzy.

 

Don’t Leave Activities to Chance

 

Food and music do not a party make; we need things to do! You need to pull those wallflowers out of their shells and inspire them to join the fun—try an impromptu game of lawn volleyball, a croquet tournament, or even lawn darts. Relay races for the kids are a great way to channel all of the extra party energy they have into something productive. An outdoor movie experience or a bonfire where s’mores can be roasted can top the evening off on a high note. Whatever the occasion, make it feel special for your guests, and they will be more likely to participate in what you have planned for them.

 

Planning a family gathering does not have to feel like a hassle; it can be fun and rewarding for all. Doing a bit of organization beforehand, and asking for help when it is needed will be essential as all of the moving parts come together in the perfect union of fun and fellowship. What are you waiting for? Get planning! Salud!

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