Give Family Reunion Gifts
that Make a Difference

woman holding gift

Family reunion gifts should celebrate your family. Whether you give gorgeous family tree art or hand out a cheap promotional logo product, personalized family gifts are best.

Personalized family gifts are a wonderful way to commemorate and add meaning to your family reunion.

However, gift ideas for families aren't always the easiest thing to come up with, right? (Especially if it's been awhile since you've seen Great Aunt Hilda!)

There are many kinds of family reunion gifts. But before you go crazy or spend any money, you must first determine the recipient and purpose of the gift. Remember: you want to give something that will be memorable AND meaningful.

family reunion favors

Family reunion favors are a small momento or little something to give to everyone who attends the reunion. These could be given out at the registration table, set in a basket in the kitchen (that's what I did!), be part of the centerpieces at the family dinner or banquet or even dropped from an airplane. (I have to be honest - I don't know much about that airplane bit. It sounds expensive and I'd worry about things dropping on people's heads.)

Of course, not all family members will value a promotional logo product as highly as others. So stretch your dollar and make wise choices. With a few meaningful quotes or pictures of families, you could make your own inexpensive party favors.

Regardless of what they are or how much they cost, be sure to include the cost of the reunion favors into each participant's registration fee. OR... maybe one of your relatives would be interested in sponsoring a gift item. We all need a rich uncle. And there are a few lucky families out there who have a generous rich uncle who would love to buy everyone a cool water bottle if given the chance.

personalized thank you gifts & awards

If you're lucky enough to have a family reunion planning committee, a few personalized thank you gifts might be in order. Or maybe you'd like to give out some special awards (instead of free award certificates). If you're planning a variety show or contest of some sort, consider meaningful family reunion gifts as prizes.

Like what?

WELL... I'm so glad you asked!

The thing is, you want to determine what kind of gift or token of appreciation would mean the most. And that's going to vary from person to person.

Have you ever read Gary Chapman's, "The Five Love Languages"? Not all people give and receive love in the same way. A beautiful poem read aloud might be more meaningful than a personalized beach towel - or the other way around! While one person might be over-the-top thrilled with fun family board games, the next person might better appreciate new research about your family heritage.

family tree home decor

I love this personalized family tree scroll that combines meaningful quotes with pictures of families.

There are others things you could give, too. What about the meaning of your last name written beautifully and then framed? Or a collection of family reunion poems or genealogy quotes?

If you want to make your own and need unique homemade gift ideas, check out all the fun things you can make with photos.

family reunion gifts for a special tribute

The next category of family reunion gifts is the really special item that you want to give to honor the oldest living member of your family or a tribute to parents on their 50th wedding anniversary.

It's the extraordinary item that adds to your family heritage and is remembered for generations. (No pressure.)

This kind of tribute gift is probably the hardest to come up with and perhaps the most expensive - but can also be the most meaningful.

I recently put together a "magazine" for my parents for their 50th wedding anniversary. I'll be honest - it took almost forever and required lots of coordination with family.

It included:

  • original wedding photos,
  • the story of how they met,
  • a 50-year timeline,
  • notes from the in-laws,
  • memories of grandma and grandpa from each grandchild, 
  • pictures from the family farm, 
  • jokes, and even 
  • a crossword puzzle. 
  • Mom and Dad contributed their own piece of marriage advice. 

When it was all said and done, both of them said that the "50 Lessons in 50 Years" portion was their favorite part. And you know what? That was my favorite part to put together, too. I just started a group text message with my siblings and asked them what our parents had taught us over the years. The list came together quickly and included a beautiful combination of humorous and somber memories; things like: "Hide the ice cream!" and "Always keep your bottom covered," to "Stand for the flag," and "Animals die." It was fun to reminisce and remember things that each of us had forgotten.

It took some serious time and effort to put together but I LOVED how it turned out! My parents laughed and cried when they saw it for the first time and now all of my siblings, nieces and nephews have a beautiful piece of family history. The project was worth every single second, every single penny and then some.

I've heard elderly grandparents and older parents say time and time again - in the end, all that matters is family.

So if you're in search of an especially meaningful gift, make it family-based.

Before you get too excited about any particular product or idea, be sure that you've determined your budget.

Unfortunately, cases of the sky being the limit are few and far between. If you're lacking that rich uncle who wants to sponsor all of the family reunion gifts, maybe your siblings or cousins would want to contribute money towards a special gift?

“No matter what you've done for yourself or for humanity, if you can't look back on having given love and attention to your own family, what have you really accomplished?” - Lee Iacocca

My all-time favorite is a combination of love notes and letters to the person(s) you're honoring from all of his/her/their family and friends.

Yes, this will take some work and coordination. I didn't say it would be an easy gift. I just said it'd be meaningful. ; ) Maybe the most meaningful he/she/they have EVER received.

A sister-in-law recently put together an amazing gift for her daughter's 16th birthday: a collection of hand-written letters and cards from all of the women her daughter knows and has grown up with. She had everyone secretly send the cards and then assembled them (envelopes sealed so the advice and comments were confidential to/from each woman and the birthday girl) in a beautiful box. What an amazing gift! And the thing is, that lucky niece of mine will be able to refer back to those many words of encouragement and love years into the future.

family: live, laugh, love

the gift of your time & coordination

The best family reunion gifts
are individual and unique.

The last type of family reunion gifts that I'd like to address aren't even really gifts. Well, I guess they could be.

But I'm talking about the fun items like family reunion t shirts or a family recipe collection book. These are the meaningful projects that YOU coordinate but from which everyone benefits. The cost is usually shared equally. But without YOUR gift of time and coordination to the project(s), they wouldn't happen.

Keep in mind that as you give your time and talents preparing for your family reunion, you are loving them and showing a great service.

Family Reunion Website

So. Whether you turn a picture into a puzzle, create personal photo calendars or engraved jewelry, give service gift certificates, flowers or gift baskets...

The most unique gift giving ideas are developed when you spend time thinking about your options and thoughtfully matching a gift to its recipient. Meaningful gifts rarely happen by magic. Rather, they stem from the thought behind the gift. It really is the thought that counts!


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