Provide an assortment of breads, spreads, meats and cheese and let everyone assemble their own grilled cheese sandwiches. A big pot of your favorite soup makes a nice addition too. Once everyone's bellies were full, we played several rounds of favorite games. This idea will be making a return appearance, I'm sure!
This idea is my sister's doing. Her family has put togeter some pretty epic cookie houses (including this Harry Potter inspired creation)! To try this with your family, think outside the box.....graham crackers, pretzels, wafer cookies, candy, etc. Have a contest, or work together to come up with one amazing structure.
Do an art project together! When my family came to visit, I had shirts all ready for them in their sizes. Everyone made (or chose) a stencil and we used bleach to "paint" designs onto the shirts. Tip: Pre-wash the shirts before hand and order a size larger if they are not pre-shrunk.
My family did this a few years ago when all of our extended family got together. Have each person draw a name of another family member to buy a gift for. Give everyone a dollar (or two) and send them in pairs or small groups to the mall with a time limit. The goal is to find something fun for the person on their list. Some of our family got creative, even sweet talking shop owners out of free items to add to the gift.
*Tip: provide gift bags (or even brown lunch bags) to make the wrapping time go faster.
I have to admit...I haven't done this one with my family, but I did do it with my art students and it was a big hit!
Have each person design a coloring page. For small families, have everyone design at least 2. Copy them onto newsprint, design a cover and assemble for everyone to have their own to fill in throughout the year. We used book binding glue to attach the pages, but if the book is thin, you can just use staples.