Make Your Holidays About Heritage

The holidays are fast approaching and before we know it, we will be sitting around the tables or living rooms of those we love. Perhaps we will fall asleep on the couch in front of a football game after a nice feast of turkey and mashed potatoes, or maybe a game of flag football is in order. Perhaps, our children will be off in another room playing with cousins, or we will get all caught up opening Christmas presents and forget to talk to our Great Aunt sitting right next to us.

The holidays are an excellent time to work on your family heritage. And, you might just get some great ideas for some heritage scrapbook layouts in the process! Thanksgiving and Christmas are typically two holidays that we spend with relatives that we don’t often see. Grandparents, Great Aunts and Uncles, and even your own parents are great resources to unlock what the past was like. It’s easy to sit around and lazily waste away Christmas and Thanksgiving day, but if you prepare now, you can make the most of your time with these relatives, and uncover some hidden family gems.

First, come prepared. Think about making a list of questions ahead of time of things that you want to know about. Here are a few ideas to get you going:

What was a sport they loved to play as a child?

How did they meet their spouse?

What was the best Christmas gift they remember receiving as a child?

What was their staple food they always had at Thanksgiving dinner?

What as the most unusual trip they ever took?

Who was the most famous person they ever met?

Who was their best pal or friend as a kid?

Who was their favorite teacher?

Who was their favorite relative they got to see during the holidays? What about their least favorite?

What kinds of games did they play with their cousins during family get togethers?

Did they have pets growing up?

What was a favorite memory they had about their father or mother?

There are hundreds of these type of questions that you could ask your relatives. Think about what you don’t know about them, and what you have always been curious about. Get your children involved by having them make a list of things that they want to know about Grandma or Grandpa. Make sure they sit down with them and ask them the questions on their list.

Bring a video camera, tape recorder, or pen and paper to make sure that you don’t forget what was said. So many times, I ask questions about relatives, but don’t bother to write it down. The fact is, that it will get lost if you don’t make an effort to document it!

Once you have answers to these questions, you can work on creating entire layouts for your heritage album from the questions they’ve answered! Ask them if they have photos of their favorite teacher, pet, or trip they took. Make a note to get a copy so that you can turn their information into a treasured layout that will be handed down from generation to generation. Don’t waste away your holidays taking a nap on the couch. Instead, make it about your family heritage and create something beautiful that will last much longer than leftover turkey.

Meredith Ethington is the author of this blog. To learn more about Meredith, and her history with Scrapbooking and Genealogy, go here.

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