Family gathering

8 Tips on How To Survive a Family Gathering

I’m sure this is something that some of you have experienced before – family gatherings that didn’t turn out as planned. In this post, we will be sharing a few tips on how to survive a family gathering and ideas on how to spend the time more meaningfully.

Whether you have a family gathering once a year or every few years, these gatherings are important. Even though modern technology keeps us all connected with family, social media is not the same as a face-to-face get-together. You can deepen your family bonds by sharing a meal, having conversations, or working together towards a goal. To find out more, keep reading.

For some family gatherings are joyful and memorable occasions that bring back fond memories. However, for others it didn’t turn out as well. If there are lingering tensions, hurts, or disagreements, these gatherings can feel more like punishment, especially if some family members have strong opinions and difficult personalities to deal with. However, you don’t have to dread these family gatherings. Most family get-togethers last for a weekend or a few hours. During this time, it helps to set your differences aside and look for ways to work together to make it pleasant for all.

How To Survive A Family Gathering

8 Tips on How  To Survive a Family Gathering

  • Involve other family members in the organizing and planning phase.
  • If you’re planning a sit-down dinner, maybe arrange seating in such a way that there is space between family members that have tense relationships.
  • If some family members make you uncomfortable, remain calm and polite but try to stick to neutral conversation topics.
  • When the conversation is heading towards unwanted territory, change the subject.
  • Keep in mind that your personal life is private, and you don’t have to share emotional or personal details with anyone if you don’t feel comfortable doing so – this includes family members.
  • If you’re trapped in an uncomfortable conversation, it is perfectly fine to exit the discussion. These events are usually large, so you can escape to reconnect with other family members that you haven’t seen in a while.
  • Stay busy – there are usually plenty to do at these gatherings. Volunteer to serve food or keep the children occupied. Staying occupied will keep you away from uncomfortable or difficult encounters.
  • Family gatherings are supposed to be meaningful and fun. Don’t let anyone make you feel uncomfortable. Rather focus on strengthening bonds with family members that bring positivity into your life.

Ideas To Make Your Family Gathering More Meaningful

With some planning and organizing you can have a fun and meaningful family gathering that is fun for kids and adults alike.

Having a Good Old Fashion Family Braai

You can’t go wrong with organizing a braai. Sometimes this type of event can be more economical. Everyone brings their own meat, and every household can bring a salad or side dish. There are so many braai salad recipes to choose from. Arrange beforehand who will bring which dishes.

Having a Picnic

Everyone enjoys picnics. You can have a picnic on the beach or at a designated venue. Everyone can pay a fee towards the venue and catering, or you can have a picnic in the park where everyone brings a few dishes.

Fun and Games

Nothing brings people together across generations than having fun with games like scavenger hunts, quiz nights, or a sports day. Family members can be divided into teams and compete against one another. Everyone can club in to sponsor a few prizes. And after all the fun and games, everyone can sit down to enjoy a meal and share stories. You can ask relatives to bring mementos and family photos for everyone to look at.

Family Cook Off

You can have a fun family cook off with teams competing against each other. Afterwards everyone can sample the different dishes and vote for the winning team.


We hope these tips on how to survive a family gathering have been helpful and that you will try to incorporate some of them the next time you are organizing or attending a family occasion. Be sure to give some of the ideas for a more meaningful family gathering some consideration. The idea is to have fun and strengthen family bonds. 

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