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The Beauty of a Family Retreat

Posted by on February 7, 2013

I don’t know about you, but December usually leaves me wiped. Between final exams, work deadlines, visiting family and General Holiday Chaos, January finds us bleary-eyed, dazed and 5 lbs heavier.

Enter the Family Retreat.

A few years ago, someone gave us the great idea of going on a personal family retreat at the beginning of each year. This is a fabulous idea, although I have no idea whose it is. [Apologies]

Here’s how it goes down. In November, Varun and I pick a weekend in January and book it off: no social engagements, no church obligations…nada. Then, we spend about a month scouring the internet looking for hotel deals and looking for a free place to stay. This year, I had an enlightenment: a retreat centre!! I called up a beautiful local retreat centre and for $95/night we had our own cabin/suite complete with a living room, kitchen (with pots and pans), bedroom and bathroom. Not only was it newly renovated, the retreat grounds were beautiful!

Our retreat is a time to rest, reconnect and dream together about the upcoming year.

family retreat Collage
A few people have asked us how the family retreat goes down. So…if you’re interested in doing one, here are some tips.

Note: If you’re single or have kids, some of my points might not apply. Be creative. Go with another single friend, ask friends (like us!) to babysit, go for a day retreat….

Planning your family retreat:

-Choose someplace quiet, spacious; away from everyday life (money-saving tip: consider doing a house swap).
-Go away for as long as possible! We’ve found 2 nights gives you time to relax, have fun, and spend time together and apart.
-Bring journals, books, music and Bibles. We also bring Monopoly Deal and a movie or two.
-Pack snacks and goodies.

Enjoying your retreat:

-Sleep! We binge on naps and sleeping late.
-Limit cellphone and internet usage.
-Spend time alone journaling, reading, reflecting and praying.
-Spend time together remembering highlights of the past year. We list things we’re thankful for and thank God together.
-Spend time talking about concrete plans for the new year: desired changes, dreams and goals. We write out our goals and clear ways of achieving them. We also spend time praying about these goals and asking God his plans for our year.
-Have fun! Go for Hikes, walks, swimming, games, movies.

That’s all I got! This is a new tradition in our family and we’re still learning and experimenting. If you do family retreats, I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas! How do you relax? What do you find helpful in planning family decisions and making goals together?

*Don’t forget, today is the last day of the Once was Lost Adoption grant! Head over and check it out πŸ˜‰

4 Responses to The Beauty of a Family Retreat

  1. Tim Chan

    January is a great time to do this! Olive and I took a day early in January to do something similar (unfortunately with a baby, we couldn’t stay overnight like we did earlier on in our marriage). It was great to get away, and have important conversations about the coming year, but also dream about the next 5 and 10 years as well.
    (we wrote more about that day in this blog post:

    • Amelia

      Thanks for sharing your post, Tim! Good point about 5, 10 years! At this point, we’re thinking through some major decisions, so planning for 5, 10 years is a bit foggy for us. But totally true–it’s important to have some perspective!

  2. Liana

    So nice! πŸ™‚ What retreat centre did you book with? i was thinking to do a bed and breakfast for our 2nd anniversary.. maybe a retreat centre is a better option… lots of Nature!

    • Amelia

      Crieff hills, in between Guelph and Hamilton! It was lovely! Tons of hiking and soo peaceful!

Thoughts? I love hearing from you!