Christmas time and Family Stories belong together as does yummy pudding and custard.
Don’t miss the opportunity
Christmas time is a time when families come together or if they don’t physically, they certainly do mentally and emotionally. Christmas time is a time to rehash, all the stories exaggerated or not, of family members’ quirks, strange behaviours or extraordinary life events and experiences.
Everyone has a story and children love to hear them. The stories they love most are the everyday stories we perhaps easily forget, how parents and grandparents met, what happened in the ‘old days’ and at school, and of course, they love a bit of ‘naughtiness’ and humour thrown in the mix.
My grandchildren love the stories of when their father at their age, broke the front window of our house, and then a few hours later, the window of his bedroom at the back of the house. They love the story of when he was being particularly naughty and knew he was going to get a smack (as children did in those days); he anticipated his punishment and put a book down the inside of his pants. Of course, I add in that I knew the book was there and let him get away with it anyway, (I think they love this bit best).
Equally, they love hearing of Dad’s successes, claiming the title of Australian Champion of VJ Sailing, his leadership roles in the community and at school. The grandchildren easily relate to all these things and, so they become part of the family story.
Families come together because they need a shared past with their kin. People’s identify is strongly tied to the family characteristics and family traits become something to be celebrated and cherished. Even the ‘odd’ people in the family take on a different role when the time is taken to listen to their story and perspectives.
Family stories are part of the family culture and tradition and people need family rituals to reinforce their belonging and emotional wellbeing.
Establishing a link between family members and generations through simple stories is one of the most powerful gifts you can give children and Christmas is the ideal time to start your collection.
Recording family stories
Capturing family stories need not be a tedious event. It can be fun and interactive. Smartphones are the magician of the current generation in my view and a very useful tool for capturing life stories.
Older children or adolescents may be thrilled to be asked to approach various people in the family, take them to a quiet spot and record their life stories. It may be useful to equip the young interviewers with some key questions and leave them to it. Young people are very resourceful once they listen.
Other ways to ignite and record family stories could include:
- Forming a small circle and starting a conversation by ‘remember when’ will stir up memories that may have lay dormant for decades.
- Circulating a photo and allowing conversation and memories to explode.
Even if the family Christmas is a small occasion, rekindling memories in the same way and recording them is a warm and fuzzy Christmas day activity.
What happens then
Many families have a tech-savvy member who could collate all the stories and put them on a CD or a family website.
Some families have a writer who could transcribe the stories and put them into a beautiful book for all to share. You could also share any photos from that photo box under the bed that we all have – that would be amazing.
Contact Write My Journey
Alternatively, you could contact Write My Journey and we could write the stories up into a family story album, linking the stories and bring the album to life with much more.