CELEBRATING FAMILY HISTORY AT CHRISTMAS TIME
by Holly T. Hansen
Family History show celebrating family traditions during the Christmas holiday season on Big Blend Radio.
With Christmas just around the corner, most of us are thinking about family and spending time together for the holidays or about holidays past. Let’s share some family history this Christmas!
Pull out that old shoebox full of pictures and scan them to more easily share with family members. While you have them out, let the grandchildren and others ask questions. What does the picture tell about the person or place you are looking at? Do you have a picture of a woman in the 1890s? I’ll bet she is wearing a long dress. Ask your family members what they think it would be like to wear a long dress doing the activities they participate in today. How about going out to cut a Christmas tree? Share memories of your past Christmas tree cutting experiences.
Have you collected old coins or money in foreign currency? Is there a story to tell? This is family history. Just looking at the year printed on the coin or paper money has a story to tell. How many Christmas memories can you share by looking at the year on a coin?
Prepare a story to tell about an ancestor and then make a Christmas Crossword Puzzle with details found in the story. Tell the story to the youth in your family and then hand out the crossword puzzle and see if they can fill in the squares by answering the questions. If they have struggles, read the story again and talk about the ancestor. Be sure to laugh and have fun.
Tell the children in your family the kinds of games you played as a child on Christmas. It won’t take you long to notice how things have changed for you and them. Share your childhood traditions. What stories did you read as a family, who did you visit, or what was your favorite Christmas treat? Did your family have a nativity scene? Was there one at the Church? As a child did you ever participate in or watch a play depicting the Savior’s birth?
If you have a collection of old Christmas cards, it would be fun to bring them out and see how cards have changed over the years. Old cards are often fancier and more elaborate than those we see these days, and chances are some of them contain wonderful personal messages from family and friends. Christmas cards have lost popularity over the years, so you may want to consider preserving some for posterity.
Classic Christmas movies can evoke lots of great memories, especially with those you’ve traditionally watched with your family. Make a matching game with lines or songs from different movies and see how well people remember the details.
Interesting Christmas ornaments can hold stories of their own – where they came from, who bought or made them, and when they were acquired. Some families give a unique ornament to each child, every year at Christmas time. Take pictures and make notes about why they were chosen so everyone can share in the nostalgia, even after the children leave home with their ornaments.
Do you remember special recipes that you could count on your grandmother making for Christmas every year? Whether your favorite was wassail, butter toffee, homemade rolls or cranberry sauce, maybe now’s the time to gather up your favorite family recipes and pass them down from your generation to the next.
It could be fun and informative to make a family Christmas timeline that tells where you were each Christmas and who you spent the holidays with. Pictures from each year, plus a list of activities and memories would be priceless.
As you share your Christmas memories this year, take note of the joy it brings and you’ll no doubt be inspired to create new ones that will be cherished for years to come!
Family History Expos has a unique Capturing the Memories book to help you preserve Christmas Memories to share with others. It comes as a 52-page notebook. There is also a CD with all the questions contained in a Word document, allowing you to insert pictures and add more questions if you desire.
Holly T. Hansen aka “Miss Holly GenTeacher,” is the President and Founder of Family History Expos, Inc, and as an author, lecturer, editor, and publisher, has been instrumental in helping thousands understand the principles, strategies, and sources they can use to trace their roots in today’s ever-changing technological environment. She is the mastermind behind more than 50 Family History Expos held across the United States, and is dedicated to helping individuals and families, one-on-one, with their personal research needs. Currently, she is involved creating podcasts, webinars, and video presentations to help people move forward in their family history endeavors from the comforts of home.