Ever Thought Of A Cross-Generation Party?

What do you think of when you hear the word “party”?

If you’re a parent, it’s likely that you’re thinking of baking cakes, decorating the house and sewing your child’s costume for a birthday party.  The party is successful if the kids have fun and if nobody is upset or breaks anything – or gets injured, as children often do!

If you’re not a parent yet, you might be enjoying a different image of a good party.  A good party is a party with fancy cocktail glasses and sultry dresses, preferably with the latest pop music in the background and a tasteful mise en bouche – unless you’re at a 70’s revival, this will not be a prawn cocktail.

In short, a party differs depending on your age and your social situation.  So it might seem like a silly idea to try to bring together people who, at first, don’t appear to have anything to share.  But, there are considerable advantages to throwing a cross-generational party, and we’re not even talking about cutting down organisational time and costs!  Here’s how to make it work for all your guests and for yourself too.

Why throw a party: a sense of belonging

For a lot of people, whether they are parents or not, a party is synonymous with fun.  It’s the type of fun activity that can vary depending on your age and interests.  However, there is a misconception that prevails among most party-goers and party organisers: most people, indeed, think of a party as an event that is designed to entertain.  Somehow, throwing a party or going to a party becomes a selfish event.  It has become something that you do for your own benefit and not with a desire to interact with others.

That is precisely for this reason that you need to create a cross-generation event so that you place interaction at the core of your preparation.  Somehow, it seems that people have forgotten what parties are truly about: it’s a way to create a sense of belonging to a group. With this in mind, you can consider two types of events that can bring people of all ages together.  Firstly, there’s the traditional family reunion that gathers relatives and re-establishes a connection.  After all, while you may know your cousins and your in-laws, how well do you know the family of your grandparents’ siblings or the ones of your great-grandparents?

If you’ve never seen a family tree before, you’d love to research your heritage and connect with your distant relatives.  It’s always a good idea to discover your roots and meet relatives you didn’t know.  But you don’t need a bloodline to talk about roots.  You can engage with your local community to throw an event and learn more about the history of your town.  Roots are everywhere, in the past and the buildings around you.  Knowing where you belong can help you to find out a direction in life.

Let’s avoid age themes

So, the first mistake to avoid is to divide your guests by age.  Age is but a number, and while you can’t expect a five-year-old and a 50-year-old to have the same conversation, it would be foolish to assume that they have nothing in common.  Maybe they share a love for their town, or maybe they had the same ancestor.  In short, if you choose to embrace a cross-generation event, you need to accept that children, seniors and young adults will be mixing.  And it’s a good thing!  There are already too many age-related divisions in our society, whether you hear about the digital Millennials or the traditional baby Boomers, it’s important to let these considerations out when you’re attending or planning your party.

Pick a decor that brings people together

However, staying away from generational themes doesn’t mean that the party will be dull or boring.  You can still introduce exciting decor that gets people in the mood without building up gaps.  Let’s say you’re planning a family reunion with distant relatives that you haven’t met before.  It’s a good idea to print out extracts of your family trees and pin these on the walls so that you can gather facts, people and info by bloodline - this will not divide people as relatives are, by definition, related to each other.

How about exploring the story of your grandparents’ siblings during the 1940s and 1950s in Britain to bring all relatives together?  You can even plan a typical 1970s decor with disco lighting and old music to create the right ambience.  If you’re up for a challenge, and if your family is international, why not add an international party buffet?  Maybe if some of your ancestors came from Italy, you could offer a simple bruschetta bar to represent their part of the family tree?  Or how about wine and cheese to discover the French bloodline – however, if you choose this, you will need to add an alcohol-free version for kids.  In short, you can find inspiration in your roots – whether you’re planning a family-centred or a local community event – to create the right atmosphere.

It’s a party: people want to have fun

Admittedly, while your party is about discovering the past that connects you to others, there’s nothing that says that you shouldn’t have fun at the same time.  So you can prepare some fun additions to bring a smile to your guests’ faces.  If you’re used to weddings or children’s parties, you’ve probably come across the idea of a DIY party bag.  What’s stopping you from finding inspiration in this amusing element to create the perfect party memory bag for your family reunion or your community event?  You could share small printouts of the family tree and add some iconic photos for your relatives.

For a community event, why not add a list of local independent businesses and places with maps of the area in old times? And finally, the most important in an event: the drinks.  Most people tend to drive nowadays so that they can skip the alcoholic offer.  But you can entertain your guests with non-alcoholic cocktails and juices!

In the end, you might wonder why a cross-generation party matters.  But it’s all about demystifying the selfish idea of a party and creating mindfulness and togetherness.  Everyone has common roots; it’s time to embrace them!

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