- Trading cards. Make or order trading cards with photos of family members on one side and personal statistics and information on the other. To make your own, glue a photo to card stock or oak tag and write your information on the back. You can laminate the cards for durability. They are fun to share and make great name tags. Office supply stores such as Office Max and several Web sites offer laminators at reasonable prices. Check local copy centers to see if they offer personalized trading cards, or check out Web sites such as Custom Sports Cards.
- A family tree. Make it yourself or have it made. You can create a whimsical wall hanging of your family tree using your favorite scrapbook supplies.
- Binders and folders in which to store important reunion papers. Go to office supply stores or Staples to find binders and folders. Decorate the covers with photos or stickers and write "Smith Family Reunion 2008" to customize. You can order personalized binders and folders at Marnex Products.
- Shopping bags to hold all your welcome packet goodies. Try your local Chamber of Commerce or visitors bureau to see if any businesses are giving away bags as promotional items. They often do for large groups like reunions. You can also order personalized bags from Marnex Products.
- Reunion T-shirts. Make your own, with white T-shirts, stencils, and fabric markers or paint. For a professional look, create iron-on designs on your computer with T-shirt software and transfer paper. Office supply stores and Office Max have T-shirt software and transfer paper; you supply the shirts. Copy centers often offer customized T-shirts, with or without photos, and some provide same-day or next-day service. You can also look in your local phone book for printers who carry personalized T-shirts. On the Web, check out customink.com for inexpensive tees, with online graphics and text styles to create your own designs (you can upload photos, too); citywidetees.com specializes in customized products for African-American reunions.
- Get-acquainted activities. Help bring people together in a low-key, friendly way. Put half a joke or riddle in each packet. Gather the clan and have people introduce themselves before they read their half of the riddle. The person with the other half introduces him- or herself and reads the punch line. Another idea is to make baby picture trading cards and put one in each packet. Guests can try to find the grown-up or older version of the person on the card. Try purchasing a jigsaw puzzle with the same approximate number of pieces as attendees. Mail a piece to everyone and have him or her bring it to the reunion to assemble the puzzle. Buy two or more puzzles in case pieces are lost or missing. When the puzzle is assembled, it can be mounted to a board and awarded as a door prize.
Continued on page 4: Party Favors