This year’s holiday festivities might look a lot different. Whether it’s a smaller group gathering or making use of technology to stay connected with other another, this year is a great reminder to the importance of family.
But how well do you know your family — the people you should know better than anyone else? You may be surprised at how much you don’t know about the people you’ve known the longest.
“Legacy sharing and storytelling are such an important part of our culture.” said Ms. Naomi Smith, Lifestyle Enrichment Director at Meridian Village in Glen Carbon, Illinois. “This is an excellent time to gather stories of our parents or grandparents. We can be socially distant yet connected with those we love in a very meaningful way.”
Intentionally gathering and sharing stories can be done in numerous ways. The main goal is to be intentional and have fun. “When you start diving deeper into the past of your loved one, it’s really interesting to see what stories come out,” said Ms. Smith. “I’ve seen some who write down their own story through question prompts, others choose to record either with audio or video, and some make it into a game of 20 Questions! Whichever way you choose to record these stories, you’re forming connections and collecting important family history for yourself and later generations.”
What better time than the Christmas season to start? The questions Ms. Smith uses are below, but feel free to modify them to suit your own unique family!
Questions for your loved one
- When and where were you born? What was going on in the world?
- Tell us about your parents and grandparents.
- Who was your favorite aunt or uncle and why?
- What is an accomplishment of which you are the most proud?
- Where were you on these important dates in history?
- Pearl Harbor, End of World War II, John F. Kennedy being shot, 9-11. What do you remember about those days?
- What was church like when you were young?
- What are some funny things that your children have said or done?
- What are inventions you remember seeing or using for the first time?
- Tell us about the early years of driving a car.
- What were winters like when you were young?
- Describe your school days.
- What are your memories of these holidays? Easter, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, or others.
- How did you meet your spouse or a person of significance to you?
- Tell us about animals in your life: dogs, cats, horses, or others.
- What family traditions do you remember as a child? As a parent?
- Have you had encounters with famous people?
- Describe your house when you were young.
- What are some memories of trips you have taken?
- What was your favorite food as a child?
- What are the first jobs you had?
Learn more about facilitating family conversations by watching our Education Series Video on Having Difficult Conversations.