One way to create meaningful family trips is to take some time during a trip to honor a family member or a special event (or both). Sometimes the very reason for the trip is to celebrate that important family event–like a significant anniversary, a milestone birthday or the achievement of a big goal.
Everyone likes to be recognized once in awhile, and to celebrate an important event surrounded by family makes it even more memorable.
A few years back my sister-in-law, Tonya, and I were both turning 40. Tonya’s husband asked her what she would most like to do to celebrate that special birthday. She wanted to go on a trip with her parents and all of her siblings. So Tonya’s husband and my husband planned a surprise Alaskan Cruise with the whole family to celebrate both our birthdays.
Then, while we were on the cruise, they reserved a room where we could hold a short family gathering. In honor of our birthdays, each member of the family took a turn telling Tonya and me what they liked or admired about us. Even though it may embarrass us a bit, everyone needs to know they are loved and appreciated by their families, and why. To speak praise out loud helps us build stronger ties and deepen our love for each other.
As if the trip and the compliments weren’t enough, my thoughtful sister-in-law, Robyn, had collected letters in the weeks before the cruise from my family and friends recalling good memories we shared, and put them together in a book, which she presented to me (and Tonya) on the ship. That book is something I will always treasure–it holds words of gratitude and friendship from those closest to me.
The Alaska cruise was a great trip! It was beautiful, exciting and fun. But more than that, it touched my heart to have those I love spend thoughtful time, money and careful planning to make it memorable for me. Any trip, big or small, can be made more meaningful by setting aside some time to honor those we love. A little bit of thoughtful planning can make a good trip unforgettable and can strengthen our family relationships in the process.