WRITING DOWN FAMILY STORIES IS THE PERFECT GIFT
The holidays not only give us time with family members…it also gives us the desire to remember the people, places and feelings of holidays past. While the memory of Thanksgiving is fresh, and a new month of holidays to celebrate are at hand, this may be the perfect time to put those beautiful remembrances in a safe place for future generations to cherish. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Create a family story journal.
Write down your special memories of past holiday celebrations and other important events in your life whenever you think of them. Take your book to family parties and reunions, and ask older relatives to do the same. This can be as plain or fancy a ‘book’ as you wish. Many office supply, stationery and book stores offer bound books with blank pages suitable for this purpose. Even a wire-bound notebook from the local drugstore will do the job nicely—the treasure is held inside. You might choose to can read aloud selections from this journal before or after sharing a meal together at family gathering.
Create a family story website.
If your family is far-flung (and these days, whose family does not have a bit of geographic distance between members?), invite relatives to post their stories on a group website. Relatives can access this treasure chest of family memories anytime they wish to read or contribute to the project.
Create a family story video.
This is fun to do if you have a lot of extended family members in one place for a special event such as a wedding or family reunion, and someone willing to be the videographer. The only equipment needed might be a cell phone. Action shots and a few well-chosen interview questions should record the moment nicely. The clips can be combined on a home computer, and shared with each other later via email or DVDs.
Collect family recipes for a cookbook.
Memories of people and places and times in our lives often revolve around foods served at special occasions or at someone’s home. Ask family members to share these recipes and the memories with each other. One family member can volunteer to have them all printed together in a booklet or posted on a group website.
Putting down memories is not easy in our busy world, but the quiet time spent sharing treasured family stories with a young child or elderly relative is a good reward for all your cut-and-paste, investigative reporter efforts.