Whether you’re a mom or you simply have motherly role models in your life—or both—Mother’s Day is always a reason to celebrate. Once the kids move out, however, getting together as a family becomes more challenging. Regardless of where everyone is located, distance should no longer be a reason for a mom not to see her kids, or even her own mother and grandmother, on Mother’s Day.
With today’s technology, engaging in meaningful family time is easier than ever, regardless of which city, state, or country people live. Use today’s tech to your advantage this Mother’s Day and consider planning a virtual family reunion. Of course, you can always give your mother a typical Mother’s Day gift. Better yet, make the virtual family event your surprise gift. Either way, we’ve got tips to help.
Mother’s Day is celebrated every year in the U.S. on the second Sunday of May, so there’s no need to worry about choosing a day. However, picking a time can be a bit of a chore if you want to make sure as many people can attend as possible, especially if you have to factor in time zones. After all, a family reunion can get quite large, and you have to respect other family members’ Mother’s Day traditions when planning your virtual reunion. For example, your child may be married to someone who is a mom or who also has a mother to think about on Mother’s Day.
Your mother may have her own ideas for what she wants to do that day. Be considerate and choose a time that works for everyone. Consider scheduling the virtual reunion for an hour in the morning or evening so people can attend before or after whatever else they may have planned. Even if it means making it after dinner, asking people if they want to wear their pajamas, and ensuring that your mom can simply wear her favorite women’s loungewear instead of getting dressed up for the call could be a fun way to end a special day.
When planning a virtual event, it is important to remember that not everyone has the same software preferences. For example, you might be familiar with Zoom, but that doesn’t mean that everyone else is. Someone who has to download and use an app or platform they’re not familiar with may not even attend because the process intimidates them. Check with everyone before committing to a platform to make sure that everyone is familiar with your choice and won’t have any issues using it. Keep time limits in mind as well. Some platforms have time constraints and charge a fee to go over the specified amount of time. Also, remember that some people might be using laptops, some might be using tablets, and others might be using their phones. Whatever website or app you choose should be accessible to everyone.
Having a conversation during a video call isn’t as easy as having a conversation in person. It can be difficult for people to know when it's OK to chime in and talk. And some people may dominate the conversation and talk too much! Setting ground rules and sending them out beforehand is a good idea to solve that dilemma. A simple reminder, such as “Get familiar with the mute button, and use it when you’re not talking,” can really help.
It isn’t only ground rules you might want to set. You might also want to have a plan for when the conversation lulls. For example, you could have an impromptu scavenger hunt where you call out an item and ask people to bring it back to the camera the quickest. Or you could have a trivia contest about events in your mom’s past. Lands’ End gift cards make great prizes for the winners!
Once you have all the details ironed out, send invitations to everyone you want to participate. If you’re confident that everyone uses email regularly, an email invitation is perfectly fine. But keep in mind that if you’re emailing a large group you might not be in regular contact with, your email could go straight to their spam folder. A paper invitation is ideal for these instances. Include the time, website link or app, and any agenda items. If you want everyone to wear matching printed reunion T-shirts, include the link to where they can order one as well, taking into account options for children’s, women’s, and men’s T-shirts.
Keeping all these tips in mind, you may find that your virtual family reunion is so successful that it becomes an annual Mother’s Day tradition!