Hosting or being part of a family reunion planning committee takes a lot of energy and forethought to pull off a successful event. Besides handling the logistics of family travel, ordering or arranging menus, and coming up with family-friendly entertainment, you might be thinking about a theme to tie the event together.
Themes for family reunions can be really helpful because it provides a common ground that people can rally behind. A themed family reunion can also be really exciting especially for kids. Here are some popular ideas for family reunions along with bonus tips to inspire your plans.
Sports Themed Family Reunion– Most families can get behind a sports themed family reunion simply because of the concept of competitive spirit, team building, and a healthy activity. One of the easiest games to play that doesn’t require a lot of specialized knowledge or equipment is softball. Reserving a baseball field in a park is fairly easy and cheap too. A bonus feature of a park location is outdoor grills and ramadas for the post-game feast. Traditional baseball fare such as hotdogs and hamburgers are simple to pull off. You can also make custom jerseys for the family team with names and if you want to get extra fancy, even add numbers on the back.
Home Again Family Reunion Theme– No matter how spread out your family becomes, visiting the old homestead invokes a sense of nostalgia and warmth. Perhaps the old place has an affectionate nickname like your family’s name ranch, headquarters, camp, or base. This theme is pretty straightforward but you could expand on the nostalgia by making old family recipes and playing old-fashioned games like horse shoes, blind man’s bluff, and arrange a pie eating contest. If there is an icon of the homestead such as a windmill, a barn, an old tractor, or a well that everyone can identify with, you could decorate the family reunion t-shirts with this image. Even if it’s no longer standing, it will be a conversation starter to enlighten the younger generation concerning the family’s roots.
Christmas Theme- The holidays are a perfect time for families to get together and it’s such a delightful time of year when lots of people have time off from work and school. Depending on the finances, you could even hold the reunion at a ski lodge or rent out a series of cabins. Activities could include sledding, skiing and ice skating. For a great family picture, you get t-shirts, long sleeved tees, or sweatshirts printed with graphics that reflect the theme.
Easter Theme- Spring is one fine time of the year to schedule a family reunion. An Easter theme is particularly inviting if your family has a lot of very young members. Easter egg hunts, Easter egg relay, and baked ham with potatoes and glazed carrots are a delight. Easter is also a great time if people can’t take a lot of time off work and live in close proximity. Easter t-shirt souvenirs can be secular or Christian themed depending on your family traditions.
4th of July Theme– This holiday is made for family reunions and the big finale is typically put on by the city so other than daytime games and food it doesn’t take a lot of effort and it’s tough to top a fireworks display. Public parks or backyards are the perfect venue and since its summertime, just about any typical picnic fare will please most anyone. 4th of July themed family reunion t-shirts are a super fun way to make memories that can be worn year after year. Make sure to procure some kid friendly fireworks like sparklers for pre and post firework display shenanigans.
Thanksgiving Theme- Another holiday that is by default built for family gatherings. Thanksgiving themed family reunions central attraction will likely be the feast of turkey, stuffing, and traditional accoutrements. Even if your family can’t get together on the specific day, a Thanksgiving theme can be employed even in the middle of summer.
Military Theme- If many members of your family are in the Armed Forces, a military themed family reunion is in order. Put up pictures of loved ones in their uniforms and get recruitment posters from local Army, Navy, Marine, and Air Force bases to decorate the event. If you’re planning a unit or battalion reunion, be sure to collect pictures from members to display during your event. Military unit tees are some of the most elaborate designs we see but you can go with a more simple, one color design to save on the cost of printing.
Spring Break Theme- Hosting a family reunion during spring break is ideal since kids are out of school and the weather is fine. A spring break themed family reunion should feature ideas of renewal with lots of nature elements. Pinwheels, lemonade, and pastel colored confections can enhance this theme. T-shirt designs featuring bees, sun, or foliage offer unisex appeal or you can theme it around the destination.
Fall Festival Theme- Fall is desirable time of year to gather the family and the timing offers some unique opportunities for decoration and games. Use straw bales for seating and pumpkin and gourds for decoration. Cider, candied apples, and roasted corn on the cob are standard fare. T-shirt souvenir designs can utilize fall colors like red, orange, yellow, and brown.
Special Anniversary Theme-Important milestone anniversaries like silver and golden anniversaries of matriarchs and patriarchs are a great reason to have a family reunion. Obviously the theme should be centered on their marriage and their lifetime achievements. Decorations should adhere to silver or gold depending on the anniversary. Commemorative t-shirts can feature the couples wedding picture when digitally printed.
National Origin Theme- If your family roots are steeped in traditions that cross other borders, a national origin themed family reunion could be a lot of fun. Immersing the younger generation in traditional family culture and recipes could be educational and help to keep traditions alive. Resurrect old world games, songs, and sports that are inherent to your culture. Flags or map images are popular for t-shirt designs.
Old West Theme- Western themed family reunions can be very easy to pull off if your venue is a ranch with horseback riding and campfire cookouts as part of the experience. If you’re not fortunate enough to book a ranch, you can recreate the theme with straw bales, cardboard or blowup cacti, steer skulls, rope for practice wrangling, and cowboy cookout food like beans, steak, and cornbread. The western theme is completed with custom t-shirts featuring a western design.
Iconic Destination Theme- Destination themed family reunions can be really exciting when you choose places like Las Vegas, Disneyland, or New York. Like any vacation destination, there are often offers for large families that provide quantity discounts. It will be even more memorable with t-shirts that celebrate the destination in the design.
Nautical Theme- Whether you’re actually by the seashore or just making it seem like it, the nautical themed family reunion will make a splash. Decorate with seashells, fishnets, anchors, and oars. Have a clambake with traditional ingredients like corn, potatoes, and of course clams. A t-shirt design with an anchor and rope rounds out the event.
Luau Theme- If you can’t go to Hawaii, bring the experience to your family by hosting a luau. Smoked pig, tropical fruit, salmon, and beer should take you a long way. Grass skirts, lei’s, blow up palm trees and coconut glasses, along with Hawaiian music and Luau tees makes it a tropical breeze to bring the island to your family reunion.
Fiesta Theme- Grab your sombrero and break out the tequila, its family fiesta time. This theme appeals to young and old as it calls for some of the most popular food on the planet, Mexican! Depending on what area of the country you hold your event, oftentimes Mexican style decorations are easy to come by and can even be authentic and low cost. Colorful tablecloths, pinata’s, and of course delicious dishes like enchiladas, tacos, and refried beans make this theme perfect and affordable. Dress up the crowd with custom family reunion t-shirts that complement the theme.
Check out more themes and t-shirt ideas for family reunions.
Moisture wicking sounds like a highly technical modern invention. It’s actually a physical phenomenon known as capillary action that has the capacity to enable liquid to defy gravity. It was first observed and documented by none other than Leonardo da Vinci. He may have been the first to recognize, observe, and document but humans have unwittingly taken advantage of moisture wicking materials since we learned how to weave wool.
Wool’s water resistant properties make it an ideal material to make clothing out of, but wool fibers offer a secondary benefit in that it wicks perspiration which allows it to evaporate rapidly. Sweating in a freezing environment sounds counterintuitive but if you’re working on a mountainside herding sheep in the snow, you’re still going to generate body heat and thus sweat even if it’s freezing outside. The dual protection from wool could mean the difference between life and death.
Wicking brings moisture away from your body through capillary action allowing your skin to stay dry if you’re working out or experiencing other physical exertion. Man-made moisture wicking materials are not expressly water proof even though it’s easy to draw that conclusion from the name. Many high tech materials do offer some capacity for this. Moisture wicking clothing feature capillary tubes that are alternating hydrophobic, (water repelling) and hydrophyllic, (water loving) and is responsible for the wicking of moisture that takes place. Water molecules are sucked into these tubes and attract other water molecules by a reaction called hydrogen bond.
Sports apparel that is made with more filaments per yard has more “channels” or capillaries, (wicking action) to suck moisture to the surface of the material. The reason the water molecules don’t get sucked back down into the material is because of evaporation. Once the sweat hits the surface, it has the chance to evaporate more easily than if trapped in a material like cotton that does not have wicking properties.p>
Properly fitting moisture wicking apparel is essential to take full advantage of capillary action. A close fit works best since sweat does not vault from skin to a shirt. Most moisture wicking sports apparel manufacturers offer form fitting gear that can almost double as a sports girdle. If tight fitting clothes aren’t your thing, there are more loose fitting options.
How moisture wicking apparel can help your athletic performance is a subjective experience. Since sweating is the body’s natural mechanism to cool the body down, you may experience feeling overheated depending on the amount of exertion you’re expending. Some people don’t care for a cool tingling feeling in place of the normal sweating that takes place. However wearing cotton doesn’t help much either since the sweat your body produces to try to cool you down is trapped beneath a surface that does not allow evaporation. A good compromise between these two materials is a polyblend of either nylon and cotton or polyester and cotton.
However, reduction in chaffing is something that anyone has to appreciate; this is one irritant that can be diminished by wearing athletic performance wear. Most avid athletes will have two wardrobes, their streetwear and their performance wear. Just like everyday clothing, customization of athletic performance wear is desirable for events or competitions. Because of the nature of the material, screen printing a design is the normal method of decoration.
The same properties that make moisture wicking materials attractive to athletes can make it a challenge to custom sports apparel printers. The ideal material for screen printing custom t-shirts is cotton. The reason for this is you can print almost anything on cotton without worrying about any production issues. Cotton is also very easy to sell because it’s affordable whereas performance wear can be pricey.
Printing on any synthetic fabric like moisture wicking shirts is more challenging because it does not absorb ink as readily as cotton. Furthermore, the way performance wear is dyed is through high heat immersion dyeing which opens up the fibers to receive the dye. To cure screen printing inks, heat is required, so when a garment goes through flash curing on the press in case of multiple ink passes or deposits, or the curing process that happens when the garment is sent through the conveyor dryers, there is a chance that the original dye from the fabric will soak into the freshly laid ink layers. This is called sublimation. Low bleed inks and inks that require a low temperature to cure are ideal for printing on athletic performance wear.
We’ve custom printed athletic wear for crossfit competitions, competitive races, professional sports teams, gyms, school athletic departments, and recreational leagues of all kinds. If you need assistance evaluating which options for performance wear are most suitable for your activity, event, or competition, call, email, or chat with one of our custom apparel professionals. We can offer expert advice and money saving tips to make your next purchase of decorated athletic wear an exceptional experience.
Family reunions don’t have to be expensive. There are lots of money saving tips that will help stretch your budget without skimping on family-friendly entertaining activities, family event souvenirs, great food, and an exciting venue.
Treasure Hunt- Entertain young and old alike with a treasure hunt. There are free printable maps and icons to include in your own custom designed treasure map. If you’re crafty, you can mimic the aerial view of your venue. Make your own treasure by spray painting articles with metallic gold paint. Even plain rocks could turn into loot with this customization. Other ideas for cheap treasure are lip gloss, yo-yo’s, hard candy, glow bracelets, temporary pirate themed tattoos, bubble solution with creative wands, and sparklers..
T-shirt Piñata– Test this out with the lightest candy pieces you can find and use the strongest type of tape to adhere the candy pieces to a t-shirt. Make sure whoever is lucky enough to be the piñata has a strong constitution for being chased.
Hula Hoops- These aren’t just fun for kids. Simply having these really cheap toys at your family reunion is going to incite some laughs from the adults. Choose teams and make keeping the hula hoop off the ground a competitive game. You can also fill a kiddie pool with soapy water and use the hula hoops to make extreme sized bubbles for the kids!
Water Balloons- Start an epic family feud with water balloons. On a hot day relief from the heat along with good times will quickly ensue. Water balloon baseball with a plastic bat can entice the whole family to give it a swing.
Kites- A time honored family pastime that’s fun for people of all ages and skill levels. Even grandma can have a go at flying a kite once it’s been launched into the air.
Balloon Stomp– blow up balloons and tie it to one leg of participants. Players will have to try to pop others balloons while protecting their own. This game can get a little rowdy so it’s probably best if everyone is barefoot playing on grass turf.
A Regular Piñata– Great for young and old alike and it only requires the purchase of a piñata, a cheap rope and some candy to stuff it with.
Frozen T-shirt Contest– Prepare as many t-shirts as you can by soaking them in water, wringing them out, then folding and placing wax or plastic sheeting between layers. When contest time comes, hand out to players quickly and whoever gets their frozen t-shirt on first wins the game.
Family Member’s Home- Obviously the most affordable choice is for a family member to host the family reunion at their home but this may be problematic if you have a huge family. In that case consider the following options:
Local and State Parks- These are often very budget friendly options which depending on the size of your gathering may not even require a fee. Some activities that usually incur a permit fee are beer consumption, bouncy houses, and live music but these are typically a nominal cost in the scheme of the entire family reunion.
Group Rates at Hotels– Hotels typically have facilities for business and social gatherings so renting this combined with the business they’ll receive from your group staying at the hotel could warrant a very pretty bundled price for the event.
Airbnb- If you haven’t heard of this, it’s a fantastic option that can be cheaper than renting a venue and dealing with lodging. Private home owners offer their homes for rent. It might be a bit tricky to get the schedule you want so plan well in advance and be sure to evaluate the reviews of the renter. People than own vacation homes in desirable areas offset the price of maintaining the cost of the home. Oftentimes there will be exciting local attractions to attend.
Ski Lodge in Summer- Off season rates often apply for these types of facilities depending on the area. Plus a ski lodge is going to be located in the forest which offers up plenty of outdoor space for activities.
Beach House in Winter– A beach house rental during Fall or Winter is going to cost less than in the middle of summer. And the beach is always an attraction and offers a chance for awesome cookouts and volleyball tournaments.
Church Camps- Check with local churches to see if they have hostel style lodging for their summer youth camps, if your family reunion is planned off season, these facilities may be available for rent at a sweet price.
Camping- Of course! Camping offers a cheap venue that doesn’t require a lot of investment and is usually thrilling to the kids! Think of boating, fishing, and hiking opportunities. Local state parks typically have additional facilities like toilets and showers. Food preparation might be a little trickier with camping but simple often means cheaper. If family members don’t own tents and aren’t keen on making the investment, camping tents and gear are actually available for rent on sites like Outdoors Geek. If you have attendees that can’t comfortably sleep on the ground they even have cots for rent!
If you’re making a menu for the family reunion or giving suggestions to family members that will contribute, keep seasonality in mind. Vegetables that are in season are much more likely to be on sale or lower priced than off season veggies. Plus, in season vegetables and fruit are likely to be much tastier than the alternative. Shop local Farmer’s Markets too.
Comparison shop more expensive ingredients like meat by checking grocery websites. When it comes to a large purchase, 30 cents a pound can add up to a huge difference. If you have a very large family reunion scheduled, you may even consider contacting a local farmer to purchase meat in bulk by literally purchasing a side of beef or pork. Do your research on this method because if you purchase too little or don’t know the difference between the weighing methods and price per pound, you might end up paying more, (but still healthy since these are naturally fed and raised beasts.)
If you’re serving buffet style anything, keep the more costly choices at the end of the buffet. Family members will normally load their plates up as they go along and will see they have plenty on their plate before hitting the expensive foods.
Keep your alcohol to just beer and wine. You can take advantage of sales for these beverages months in advance so keep your eye out for Bev Mo types of offers where you can buy one and get the 2nd for 5 cents. You can stretch wine by making your own sangria which is also delicious and will slow down family members from becoming intoxicated.
Make a Fancy Soda Bar– Allow your family reunion guests to make their flavor of soda. You can often find Torani flavored syrups for cheap at discount stores like Bealls Outlet, SteinMart, Ross, TJ Maxx, and even dollar stores. Buy seltzer water, crazy shaped straws, and provide sliced fruits like lime, lemon, watermelon, pineapple and berries. Don’t forget the whipped cream. The line for this attraction is going to be busy all day.
Corn on the Cob– Buy in bushels, soak in the early morning and put on the barbecue grill with husk intact. The corn should be ready for consumption when the silk is scorched and the husks are dry. Salt and butter are optional but hardly needed with this tasty cooking method.
Carb it Up– People love comfort foods and are not going to be as concerned with their waistline at a festive occasion like a family reunion. Serve less expensive dishes like macaroni and cheese, scalloped potatoes, biscuits and gravy, fried chicken legs, and bean and rice dishes.
Taco Bar- This idea is great for saving money and taking care of everyone’s dietary needs such as gluten-free corn tortillas and vegetarian and low cal seekers with beans and accoutrements. Plus the meat is easy to prepare ahead of time in a slow cooker. You can stretch the meat by adding beans to the pot. Buying cheese and shredding it yourself is a cheaper alternative than preshredded. You can even put the older kids to work with this task and they’ll feel like their contributing. Dry rice and beans are about as cheap as it comes and are perfect accompaniments to this idea. By adding a love of vegetable toppings to the bar, people will be less likely to overstuff their tacos with meat because they’ll want room to add all the extras.
There are lots of cheap options for family reunion souvenirs but consider mementos people will actually appreciate and find useful.
T-shirts– This is one of the most popular options for family reunion souvenirs because they are typically cheap when ordered in bulk and they can be used during the reunion to foster family unity. To keep costs down, a basic white t-shirt is almost always going to be the lowest priced choice. A one color design printed on one side of the t-shirt likewise is going to keep the price affordable. What you may not know is using all the available space on one side of the t-shirt does not cost more. You can include text and art to utilize the entire printing canvas without incurring additional ink costs. Specific colors do not cost more either unless it’s glow in the dark or some other kind of specialty ink color so go bold with your color choice. We offer some of the best family reunion t-shirt design templates online so you don’t even have to worry about the outcome looking professional and high quality. All of this but without the high price tag.
Custom Family Reunion Tote Bags- How many times have you wished you had an extra reusable bag to tote belongings around in? Not only is this a practical family reunion party favor, but it’s cheap to have these personalized.
Aprons– If your family loves to cook, having a family design emblazoned on a custom apron will thrill your event attendees.
Caps, Hats, and Visors– Some people never leave the house without their headgear so make a design that keeps the family spirit alive all year round.
Here are a few extra tips that aren’t necessarily cheap for your family reunion but could be vital. Prepare a first aid kit that includes bandages, antacids, aspirin, sunscreen, lip balm, feminine hygiene products, tweezers, and antibiotic ointment. Also bring a fire extinguisher, flashlight, and make a list of local emergency numbers as well as on call transportation contacts for anyone that has too much to drink.
With this cheap and easy family reunion tutorial, you should be well on your way to throwing the best frugal family reunion possible without sacrificing on the stuff that makes great memories. Good luck!
Photoshop is the default program for designers looking to render raster based images with special effects. Since its inception in 1988, this design program has infiltrated its way into common language as a verb describing any photo which has been manipulated. It’s been photoshopped! And it keeps getting more sophisticated as new versions are released with enhanced features and new developments. It used to require a significant initial investment and designers would hold off upgrading as long as possible because the cost was a barrier. Now an individual can purchase a monthly plan for as little as $19.99 a month for an annual plan or $29.99 a month for short term use. Either way, it’s vastly more affordable in the Cloud. And a membership means you never have to upgrade to the latest version because it’s consistently the latest version.
With that introduction you might think we’re affiliates with Photoshop, that’s not the case, we just love the cool things you can do in Photoshop to make brilliant t-shirt designs. So here are some tips and tricks to take your next t-shirt design project to the next level of professionalism. For these tutorials it’s really important to remember to work with a canvas preset to a minimum of 300 DPI for t-shirt printing and to keep in mind these design ideas will require the digital print method..
This special effect takes some testing to find the right background and font that will pair nicely in a combination. Photos that have a lot of fine detail probably won’t turn out like you hoped. It’s imperative to start with a very high resolution photo. A bold, fat font is recommended to provide enough “real estate” to make out the background photo.
- Open your image in Photoshop
- Unlock the background layer by double clicking on the image. A dialogue box will open, click okay.
- Duplicate the layer by right clicking and choosing “Duplicate Layer.” This is a copy, turn off the original layer by clicking on the eye icon next to it.
- Make sure your new layer is on top of the original by dragging the layer above the original in the layers toolbox.
- Choose the text tool and the font you’re using and type you text. The color of the text won’t matter. When it looks how you want, drag that layer below the image.
- Highlight the copy layer by clicking on it in the layers toolbox. Right click and choose “Create Clipping Mask.”
- You can then manipulate the size of the text or the size of the background picture until you get the exact effect you want.
- When you get it how you want it, you can merge the layers under “Layers, merge layers.”
You’re ready to export for a custom digitally printed t-shirt. This same method can be used for shapes. Try experimenting with textures too. The effects are limitless since digitally printed t-shirts are printed pretty much the same way you would print out a picture with your personal printer.
Here are some additional examples:
There are fonts that simulate fire but when you’re looking for high impact, nothing but the real thing will do. Here’s a tutorial that will heat up your design.
- Change your background color to black and create a document inside Photoshop, 4000 pixels wide is a reasonable size.
- Pick a font for your project, like the previous tutorial, a fat, bold font will provide a lot of space to show off the effect however a serif font will allow the fire effect to be extended to the baseline of the text.
- Select the text tool and type your text in white then commit your changes by clicking the checkmark in the upper navigation.
- Resize your text to fill most of the canvas with the transform tool or CTRL/COMMAND T to activate the tool.
- With the text layer selected, you’ll now need to rasterize the text. Before rasterizing make sure you’re text is spelled correctly and formatted the way you want it to look for the entire project. Access rasterize text under Layers and choose “Rasterize Type.” Your text has now been transformed into pixels rather than text.
- With the Text Layer selected, navigate to Image and choose Image, Rotation, Rotate 90 CW.
- Next go to Filter, Stylize, and choose Wind. This will open a canvas where you’ll verify “Wind” is checked and then choose “From the Left,” click OK. The changes will be hard to see so you’ll need to reapply the same filter multiple times to give the wind a more pronounced effect. Repeat until you feel it looks right.
Now we’re going to rotate the canvas back to its original position by navigating to Image, Rotation, Rotate 90 CCW.
- We’re going to mute the streaks by applying a Gaussian Blur to the image. Go to Filters, Blur, Gaussian Blur. A toolbox will open up where you’ll need to adjust the settings. Make sure you have preview checked so you can see the changes you make on the canvas in real time before you commit. Change the pixel radius to what you think makes it look like authentic flames.
- Now go to Filter, Liquefy which will overtake your screen. Click on Forward Warp Tool in the upper left hand navigation. On the right, change your settings to Brush 100, Brush Density 50, and Brush Pressure to 100. Now you’re ready to warp the wispy streaks you made with the wind filter. Click and drag short distances left to right to drag out the wisps randomly. Include the wisps coming from your font’s serifs.
- It may be difficult to see at this point, you can click OK and check your results and then go back to manipulate more by accessing Filter, Liquefy again. You can also change the effect by using multiple brush sizes.
- Now we’re going to add color. Right click on your text layer and choose Blending Options.
- Choose Outer Glow and change the color box to #f20d0a, this is a fiery red. Click OK.
- Click on Color Overlay and change the color box to #f2820a, a fiery orange. Click OK.
- Click on Satin and change color box to #933110, a deep rust color. Click OK.
- Click on Inner Glow and change color box to #dfbc34, a smoldering yellow. Click OK.
You’re now ready to export for custom t-shirt printing with realistic looking fire text to add to your custom t-shirt design. We recommend printing this effect on a black t-shirt for maximum impact. You can upload straight to our design studio . If you do print on a black t-shirt delete the black background before exporting.
Here's an additional example printed on a black t-shirt.