For Families: Getting Buy-In

7 May
Not everyone is excited to wear the cheese hat at a fondue party.

Not everyone is excited to wear the cheese hat at a fondue party.

Last month I wrote that I would be starting a mini-series on building a theme party tradition in your family. I’d like to start with discussing how to get buy-in from various family members who may be reluctant to engage in such a tradition.

First, here are some of the reasons why I think a theme party tradition can be valuable for families:

  • Perhaps most significantly, implementing any kind of family tradition can help to heal broken relationships, and move people through losses. It’s a way to provide continuity and keep everyone connected through good times and bad.
  • Traditions like this also allow family members to cultivate and display hidden talents. A younger sibling can play a leadership role by planning the menu, an overworked mom can express her creative side by running an arts and crafts activity, and an elderly family member can be called upon to tell stories.
  • Theme parties provide an opportunity to learn about new cultures, cuisines, and more. I think this is especially great for kids, but really anyone can benefit from trying new foods, listening to new music, and discovering new skills.

And now, some strategies for building support within your family:

  • If your aunt is worried that it will be too much work, remind her that the point is to provide a role for everyone. It shouldn’t take too much time if everyone does their part. Also, this doesn’t have to be a monthly event. My family averages about two theme parties each year.
  • If your brother-in-law doesn’t want to cook, tell him that’s fine! As long as he can figure out another way to contribute, he shouldn’t have to do anything he doesn’t want to do (and no one should have to suffer through his meatloaf anyway).
  • If your little sister doesn’t want to dress up, that’s okay. The point is not to embarrass people, but rather to create fun memories.
  • If your dad thinks it sounds expensive, reassure him that it doesn’t have to cost any more than what you would normally spend on dinner. Decor and costumes can be created with stuff from around the house. It’s easy to think of activities that don’t require any special equipment. The point is not to be fancy, just to be a family. 🙂
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