Need a fun activity to do virtually with your family this year? (works great in person too if you’re fortunate enough to be together) Try a Day in the Life interview. It’s short and loads of fun for everyone.
One way to affirm those you love and help them recall good memories is to put on your journalist hat and ask them a few questions.
Bonus tip – kids love playing this role and you can capture great video footage or still shots of them interacting with relatives.
People are often delighted to relate stories of a specific time in their life, especially when they get to pick it. Just ask, “What age was particularly special for you?” Then, ask relevant Day in the Life questions around that time period.
- A video or voice recorder – your smart phone will do just fine (optional)
- A willing relative or friend
- 2-4 photos or items to serve as memory prompts (optional)
- Paper and pencil
- 1 hour of time
We love to hear our family and friends reminisce about holidays. Hearing these stories and sharing memories strengthens our family bonds. Relating stories is also a terrific way to help the younger generations connect and develop a sense of family and place. They need to hear memories and wisdom passed down from their elders. They love to hear what childhood was like back in the day or hear about how Grandpa traveled 24 hours on military leave just to be with his sweetheart, Grandma.
So much changes over the decades, world events, technology, customs, a Day in the Life interview can open the door for a sneak peek into the story of someone you care about. Even the many things that stay the same nurture traditions. Make sure you add plenty of sensory details as you go through the following questions. You’ll all be glad you did!
Tip: If your interview pal is giving very short answers ask about a sensory detail, like “What color was it?” or “How did that taste?”. This will help warm them up to describe the memory further and usually prompts other memories.
Here’s a few starter questions (For example’s sake we’ll target childhood and Christmas):
- How did your family celebrate Christmas (or Hanukah or another special holiday)?
- What things did you do leading up to the holiday?
- Describe how you felt that morning/evening.
- Which relatives typically visited? Describe one of your favorites and why you loved them.
- Would you describe a particularly memorable holiday?
- Describe a favorite food from that holiday. Did you help make it?
The book Recording Your Family History, by William Fletcher provides interesting prompts and questions for recording childhood holiday memories:
“Think back and describe who would be there around the table and what it was like for you on that holiday.”
The Travel Channel has a fun list of 20 Holiday Traditions Around the World. Las Posadas in Mexico is one of my favorites. Take a look to spark your creativity.
And a few more ideas:
- What was your favorite tradition?
- Were there special religious festivities as part of your holiday celebration?
- Did you ever receive or give a gift with especially great meaning?
- What do your holidays look like now?
- What holiday foods from your family history are still part of your celebration? Tamales? Lutefisk? Baklava?
Life is full of celebrations – they set the rhythm of our years. We love to share the details of special ways we mark the days. This holiday season talk with your family and friends about some of your cherished traditions and customs. This is a wonderful way to connect even virtually during the restricted visiting this year. Loop a neighbor into the fun to help them feel loved and part of the party.
I’d love to hear about your holiday memories, drop me a line or share it on FaceBook.