Have you ever noticed how when we are having a bad day, it is often those who are closest to us that we snap at, while we are nice to strangers? Most likely, we do this because we know that our family will love us regardless and they are more likely to understand that our bad mood is temporary. I do try to keep in mind that my family does not deserve to be snapped at just because they will accept it from me, but sometimes I forget and then I am racked with guilt afterwards. This led me to an activity that I try to do regularly and have seen my family members repeating it themselves.
Every few months or so, I sit down and write a short note to each family member telling them how much they mean to me. I mention any special moments we may have shared since the last note and list what I appreciate about them. I will then leave the note in a special place for them to find it and read on their time. I want them to know what it is I love about them, not just that I love them.
I have seen my daughters repeating this with not only our immediate family, but with extended family as well. It always means so much to me to get a sweet little note from one of them and I am sure the rest of the family feels the same way. This could even be done as a family activity one night. Gather a bunch of small note cards and/or some nice stationary and have everyone find a quiet spot to sit and write notes to each other. To help further communication among each other, you could then read them out loud together, or you could just read them silently later on.
This is an activity that has gone over well in my family. If you are not comfortable expressing your feelings to others, try just writing the notes and putting them away somewhere. Then if you do decide to share them later, you have them already written and if you never decide to share them that is ok too. Just writing them out helps to remind you of each person's individuality and why they are special to you.