My family has spent the last three Thanksgivings at a ranch house that we rent (thanks VRBO) in New Harmony, Utah (near Cedar City--which is near St. George). All five of the Allan siblings live in Utah, while my parents live in Tennessee, so it just makes sense for them to come out here to spend the holidays with us.
Out of all the amazing places we've traveled together (Stinson Beach CA, Moab, cruises, Washington DC), Harmony Haven is everyone's favorite. We look forward to it and talk about it all year long. What's so special? It's a super kitschy ranch house on a working ranch (the owners live in the bunkhouse so they can rent out the main house). The house is filled with taxidermy, shag carpet, funny wallpaper, uncomfortable furniture, and cowboy memoribilia. It's definitely not the most impressive place we've ever stayed, but we have the most fun at Harmony Haven.
This year we decided to make our Thanksgiving trip our first official Allan family reunion, now that nearly all of us are married.
Here are some of the things we did for our reunion:
1. T-shirts: Nothing says family reunion more than matching t-shirts! My brother and his wife were in charge of the design this year and they turned out fabulous.
The shirts say Allan Family 2k15 with a picture of a cat wearing sunglasses on the front and all of our names on the back.
2. Food: since it was Thanksgiving, there was no shortage of food. One of our traditions is to have all the appetizers on the night before Thanksgiving--this way you can enjoy all the yummy dips, balls, puffs, and rolls without filling up before the big meal. Everyone contributes something so we have a huge spread. Then of course we have a delicious Thanksgiving dinner and tons of pies on the day itself.
3. Talent show: We didn't do a full talent show this year, but Jason and I did a great stand up comedy routine together and my brother and his wife sang a song together.
4. Service: We put together craft kits for Primary Children's Hospital (gallon size ziplock bags filled with everything needed for a simple craft to be distributed by my neighbor who is a child life specialist). I was in charge of this this year. I brought cardboard masks and everyone else brought things to decorate them with--sequins, feathers, crayons, gems, etc.
5. Family awards: My parents gathered up a bunch of my brothers' old trophies and came up with a special award for each of us. We had a little award show where they gave them all out and then we spent the afternoon posing with our trophies. Such a fun tradition!
6. Turkey Bowl: We get together with my cousin and his kids who live in New Harmony and have a Thanksgiving football game before dinner.
7. Other traditions: The Allan family's favorite game to play is Bartender. Yes, a bunch of non-drinkers love to pretend that we are at a bar. I have never laughed as hard as when we play Bartender--it may sound weird and not fun, but every family has that game that no one else gets. We also love watching movies together (the dumbest Syfy original we can find), coloring, and playing games together.
We have so much fun at our little reunion spot!