Make Your Holiday Get Together Memorable with These Genealogy Activities
The holiday season is a wonderful time to gather with our loved ones. It may even be the only time of year that you can visit with certain family members who live far away. This is why the holidays offer the perfect opportunity to gather around relatives to talk about genealogy and your family tree.
Make your holidays even more memorable this year by trying out some of these fun family history activities at your annual get together.
Fun Holiday Genealogy Activities for Families
1.) Create and Play a Genealogy Game
Before you pull out the usual board games you play with your family every holiday, make this holiday tradition more interesting and personal by playing a family history-related game. Younger family members will especially love this activity! Think about creating your own family history trivia game that involves family members who are in attendance at the gathering. This will help both young and old relatives learn more about your family’s story. Another fun activity is to go through old family photo albums and have your guests guess which family members are in the photos. This can also aid you in identifying family members in old photos whom you can add to your family tree later.
2.) Share Family Recipes & Stories
As you’re preparing your grocery list to grab the items for the meal, treats or finger foods that you share year after year, take some extra time to write the stories behind each family recipe. When your guests gather in your home to eat, share the stories of each dish. Is it one of your creation? Did your grandma start the tradition? What is the food’s country of origin? This will undoubtedly get your family members talking about their own recipes that you may be able to add to a family recipe book to be passed down to younger family members.
3.) Share Memories Around the Table
Just as you take turns going around the dinner table to share what you’re thankful for at Thanksgiving, you can also encourage your relatives to share their own unique family memories. Do this by adding a stack of cards with oral history questions and conversation starters to the middle of the table before the meal begins. Feel free to throw in some holiday-related questions like, “What is your favorite Thanksgiving memory?” and “What is your favorite gift you received as a kid?” You’ll be sure to hear some fun memories from everyone that may lead you to discovering additional details to aid you in your genealogy research.
4.) Take a Holiday Family History Research Trip
If you plan ahead, you should think about forgoing the traditional holiday get together at home to organize a trip with relatives. Think about a spot that is important to your family’s history. You can always opt to visit your ancestral homeland, but the location doesn’t have to be far from home (or as expensive). Visit the high school where your grandmother and grandfather met and fell in love. Head to the cafe that your great uncle once owned. The memories and stories will be sure to flow especially if you have these family members in attendance.
5.) Collaborate on a Family Heritage Tree
In addition or in place of your typical holiday tree, ask each family member to bring a handmade ornament to your annual gathering using either small family heirlooms, keepsakes or family photos. Once all of your guests arrive, take turns decorating your “family heritage tree” with these special ornaments. This is a great opportunity to have each guest talk about his or her ornament and why it’s significant to your family’s history. Oh, the stories!