As the family gathers….

Whatever holiday traditions your family follows at this time of year, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s, or just school holidays spent at an amusement park, chances are that you will see family members in the next week or two, and be reminded of fond memories. Take a few minutes from decorating cookies and watching football to ask an older relative to share a memory of holiday customs of his or her youth, or the recollection of some significant event in his or her life. And really listen to the story, making it part of your own history, perhaps even writing it down, noting who told the story. Next year, that person may not be able to impart this little slice of history, and a golden opportunity will be lost.

At the same time, if you are the older relative, take a few minutes to think of something to impart that would provide insight into your life and that of your ancestors. Because not everyone will think to ask for your recollections, take a few minutes to record your knowledge, either on tape or digitally, via a scrapbook or the written word, and provide copies for relatives, challenging them, even children, to do the same next year. It’s never too late – or too early – to record your family’s history.

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