If you have a large family, Father’s Day can be a tricky celebration. Honoring all the fathers connected within a single family requires some careful planning and imagination.
If your family doesn’t already have a Father’s Day tradition such as going hiking or attending a ball game, perhaps creating a generational Father’s Day celebration could become one. Here are 8 great ideas for organizing an amazing celebration.
1. Create a Family Tree
Skip the old fill-in-the-names tree and go bold: purchase and commit to a full-size wall tree that will support framed photos of the patriarchs of the family. Ask members to bring favorite pictures of themselves and family members, and work to create a more life-sized family tree in your home; complete round 2 on Mother’s Day!
A quick Google search with “wall decal” and “family tree” will yield many options; prices range from $20-$100+ dollars depending upon the size, colors, number of leaves, and whether or not picture frames are included. Check out an example here.
2. Begin a Family Story Archive
Digitally recording others is so simple with today’s technology. Consider inviting the fathers, grandfathers, great-grandfathers, step-fathers, and godfathers over to digitally record their favorite stories about growing up. Ask the men about their favorite memories and create a family story archive.
3. Interview the Generations
Work with the children in the family to come up with a list of interview questions for their father, grandfather, and so on. Then, the children can interview the men about their favorite toys, best vacations, best invention during their lifetime, most memorable historic moments, a time they got in trouble, best life lesson, and so on.
Family Tree Magazine compiled a list of great questions to get kids started; check out their recommendations here. Compile the interviews into a family book and make copies for everyone.
4. Capture Generational Handprints
Handprint art can be a special memento to capture important family celebrations. What better way to celebrate Father’s Day than by the hands that have caught others and hands that have hugged? For photography-savvy people, consider organizing the hands in a circle and taking a black and white photo. For those with younger children, perhaps painted handprint art would be more fun.
Let the generations paint each other’s hands and then press it to the paper. After drying, between each of the fingers, write down important information such as the father’s full name, birth date, birth place, and best life lesson. Or, place the hands one on top of the other like this example.
5. Enjoy a Family Picnic
If not all the family’s members are well enough to travel, organize a family picnic and bring the generational celebration to them. Simply sharing time with grandparents or great-grandparents can be the best gift of all during Father’s Day. See if you can prepare some of their favorite foods, or traditional family favorites.
6. Family Photo Collage
Sometimes longstanding traditions are the best ones! Invite the generations over to share stories and work to create a family collage of the family’s patriarchs. Every household can work to create a photo collage with images of all the members. Invest in a nice frame, and display the collage where children can see their relatives and their heritage, and be reminded of the love their family shares for its members.
7. Write a Dear Dad Letter
Dear Dad letters are letters written to a father (or father figure) talking about why you appreciate them as a dad. Younger children and adults can write the letters, hand-deliver them, post them, read them on Skype, or leave them by gravesides.
The act of acknowledgment is often a better gift than a tie or fishing lure. All too often, we forget to truly share why we appreciate the people that make a positive difference in our lives. For children too young to write, another adult could transcribe their thoughts about their dad, grandfather, great-grandfather and other male role models in their lives.
8. Map Your Family’s Journey
This can be a great activity, especially with slightly older children. Find a decent-sized map of America (or the world) and gather photos of all the generations. Invite family members to cut and glue photos of themselves where they lived, traveled to, or have some type of connection to. This collaborative representation visually depicts the range and effect a single family can have on the world.
Celebrating the experiences of years lived and years ahead will always be a worthwhile endeavor. Writing that parenting is hard exists as an excellent example of understatement. Truly, it takes a village. Celebrate Father’s Day by recognizing the contributions of all the fathers connected to your family. A generational celebration works to honor family traditions while beginning some new ones as well.
Mix and match from the above ideas, or share your idea in the comments below. How would you bring together the generations to honor them on Father’s Day?