If you don’t already know this, having children makes time move so much faster. You may plan to journal about all the events and milestones in your child’s life, and then suddenly she’s pushing two and you’ve barely written a thing down because you’ve been so busy experiencing it all! This is what’s happened with me, and I do my best to jot down some of my memories when I have a chance so they’re not lost forever.
The holidays are a great time to share stories and memories with family, and to gather information so you can share your children’s history with them when they get older. Preserving family memories can come in many forms including photos (always good to label them with dates and names) and video. Three other ways to hold onto your family history that I think about a lot this time of year are traditions, recipes, and holiday memories.
- Traditions — Some traditions are more conscious than others, such as gathering at the same place for Thanksgiving year after year. Others, such as the subtleties of who prepares the meals, who washes the dishes, and who watches the football game become ingrained in our memories even though we may not think of them as conventional traditions. What are some of your favorite holiday traditions? How have they changed over the years? It can be fun to talk about the experiences with those who share them, and write down what they have meant to all of you. This can actually turn into a really great holiday gift to share with family as well. My family traditions have shifted a lot over the years, but for Thanksgiving, my mom’s family always celebrated my grandfather’s birthday as well, and we continue to honor it each year.
- Recipes – The foods that we eat growing up often define us. They become our comfort foods as we move through different stages of life. Recreating the smells of your grandmother’s kitchen in your own decades later can tie you to the past in such a joyful way. Recipes shared from generation to generation offer a wonderful opportunity to remember family throughout the years. How incredible to know that the bread you are baking is from the same recipe that your great grandmother used! Putting together a family recipe book can serve as a reminder of your favorite dishes and can be the starting point for creating new versions of favorite classics.
- Memories – To me, Thanksgiving will always be about time spent at my grandparents’ house. I can still see my grandfather standing in the kitchen making mashed potatoes. I can remember knowing when he dozed off in his chair as he watched football by the sound of his snore. Wherever Thanksgiving takes me this year, to that house, or my in-laws, or somewhere else, those memories are what formed Thanksgiving for me. I am so excited to know what Thanksgiving will mean to Chloe as she grows up, and to share my own memories with her.
As we head into the often stressful holiday season, making our rounds and trying to fit as many visits in with friends as family as we possibly can, it can be calming to take a few moments to reflect on what the holidays have meant to us through the years, and to focus on the parts that we enjoy and look forward to. Knowing that the rest gets us to those moments can be a reminder of the joy that is waiting to be discovered all over again each year.
What are some of your favorite family memories and how do you keep them alive?
Peace, Love, and Wellness,