A family gathering is (usually!) a happy and crowded event. If you are the one hosting it, a family reunion can also be quite stressful and awkward with some of your more distant family members not even being acquainted with each other. You’ll need to gather all of your creativity and imagination to make a family event memorable, to involve all the people present and to introduce everyone to each other.
An excellent and easy idea for that would be to create a family tree together. Wouldn’t that be nice: younger kids and your more senior relatives all working together to create an ancestor chart to keep as memorabilia and learning more about each other in the process? Creating a family tree brings your family closer together and it’s much more interesting to bring to a family reunion than a family history book.
You can make it even more fun by getting creative with it!
PAINT A FAMILY TREE MURAL ON A WALL
An on-the-wall family tree chart is best at showing the big picture. Your family members can all participate, creating something big and beautiful together and seeing how exactly they are related to each other. What you need for this family tree craft is a blank wall, colored paper or paint to draw with, individual pictures of all family members you know about and frames for each photo. Ask your relatives to bring their family photo album and exchange family photos in the process. If you don't want to draw on the wall, you can print a big poster of a blank family tree and decorate it before hanging it on the wall.
Remember to map out the project in advance – it may get messy with the paint and you wouldn’t want to forget to leave space for someone in the process. A great idea is to sketch an actual tree with as many branches as there are members of your family or map the family tree out on the floor beforehand with the photos you’ve gathered.
Usually, a family tree includes the pictures of the youngest family members at the bottom and the eldest ones at the top. Add branches that go from one photo to the other with paint or ribbons show connections between children and their parents. It is also great to add some personal information to the photos. Complete the tree with full names, birth and marriage dates and even a short biography if you have enough space for it.
MAKE CREATING A FAMILY TREE FUN
Both children and adults will be more involved in creating a family tree if you make it fun. A great idea is to create a game asking questions about the family members whose photos you are about to hang on the family tree. A person or a team who knows the answer or makes the closest guess gets a candy or a prize. The tricky part – again! - is preparation. You will need to gather as much information as you can about everyone on the family tree and write down the Q&A’s for reference.
A FAMILY TREE-TYPE PHOTO
If there are several generations of relatives present, a great idea for a family tree would be a portrait with all the family members together: the grandparents standing with their siblings, their children sitting in front of them with their own kids in their laps or on the floor.
TREE-RING FAMILY CHART
If you are all gathered to celebrate a birthday of one of the youngest family members a great present would be tree-ring poster. It’s stylish, memorable and fairly easy to create. All you’ll need is a big sheet of a good quality paper and a steady hand to map out the rings. These don’t have to be neat by the way - think about actual growth rings on the trunk of a tree. Draw as many circles as there are generations of your family you know about and write the name of the child in the center. You can write the parents’ names in cursive in-between the first and second ring, the names of the grandparents between the second and third and so on.
LIVING FAMILY TREE
Another great idea for a family tree is to hang up photos of the family members on a real (or fake!) potted plant – just make sure that the branches are strong enough. Use some vintage clothespins, clips or ribbons to hang up the photos placing them in the same order as you would on an actual family tree. If you have a tree in your backyard you can decorate it with a string of family photos and fairy lights during an outdoor family event.
FAMILY TREE BOOKSHELVES
Another beautiful idea that will look great in any home is a bookshelf family tree. Choose the right spot and hang up five or six small shelves, placing the younger relative’s photos on the bottom shelves and the senior family members up on the top ones. Decorate with souvenirs, candles and any other memorable decorations you can find