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By Donna Mulligan

Each year my (very extended) family gathers for a long weekend reunion in the Adirondacks in upstate New York. We couple our reunion with the dates of an annual Harvest Festival. This allows our extended family of 20 or more to earmark this particular weekend on a yearly basis.

Although the destination for our reunion has always remained the same lake retreat, we have varied our accommodations from year to year to year. From hotel rooms to time-share condominiums, individual family cabins and private home rentals. As our families grew out of strollers and baby proofing, our accommodation needs changed also. The kids find it exciting to explore a new resort and their amenities each year.

The most important element in planning and achieving a successful family reunion is to be flexible. Sometimes our extended cousins and their families can make it, some years they can’t. Sometimes all my siblings fly in for the event, sometimes they just can’t. Every family member knows they are always welcome.

Another tip is to let everyone enjoy what they want to do. We all have different interests, and the weekend should be a pleasant, not dreaded, event. Whether it is fishing, or shopping, hiking or tubing, or simply watching the boats on the lake, we intentionally don’t plan on everyone doing everything together.

Reunions are a special time for grandparents. My mom looks forward to this reunion all year and has an overwhelming sense of pride seeing her children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews all together.

Honestly, I have a very close family. I look forward and enjoy this time with them every year.

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Donna Mulligan is a full-time working mom to 3 hockey players, ages
18, 16 and 12. Her family’s favorite travel destinations include
Killington, Vermont, the Adirondacks, Florida’s Gulf coast, and Quebec

Tagged: Family time

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