Make a great first impression by handing your guests welcome packets as they arrive at the reunion. These bags can be filled with both helpful information and fun treats. If your reunion has a theme, the contents of your welcome packet are like an introduction; they set the tone for the event. Include an item or two that expresses your theme. For instance, if you are doing a luau theme, a plastic lei would be perfect.
Being organized will make your job easier, so fill and label the bags ahead of time, then store them alphabetically. Local businesses often supply promotional items (like pens, pads, and magnets) for large groups. Even though you may get a bunch of pens that say "Steve's Ice Cream, Newport, Rhode Island," you're getting free pens that offer some local flavor. Freebies can stretch a tight budget, and out-of-town guests will enjoy the free souvenir. For more complimentary treats or regional brochures, contact the local Chamber of Commerce or Visitors Bureau and tell them you are having a reunion.
It's also nice to include regional gifts like sourdough rolls (if you're having the reunion in San Francisco) or maple sugar candy (if your clan is gathering in Vermont).
Continued on page 2: Basket Basics