Easy Interview Tips for Holiday Gatherings

December 9, 2014  - by 

For capturing and preserving family memories and stories, there’s no place like home for the holidays. Take a little time this holiday season to capture precious memories that are sure to become part of future family traditions.

Look for opportunities
Once you have decided that you want to capture family memories and stories, you’ll start to see opportunities to make it happen. Whether it’s in the kitchen with Grandma making her famous rolls, trimming the tree with your dad, or driving in the car to an event (or the store to pick up a missing ingredient), you’ll have chances to ask family members what makes the season special to them.

 Ask the Right Questions
Getting family members to share stories is easy if you ask the right questions. Simple, open-ended questions that evoke memories can work wonders to loosen the memory. Start with easier questions, and work toward the deeper end of the pool. You could begin by asking about a favorite family Christmas tradition, their first memory of Christmas, or maybe even their favorite Thanksgiving dish. Here are some additional resources and suggestions for interviewing family.

Helpful Hints for Collecting Family Stories (LDS.org)
Christmas Project: 52 Questions in 52 Weeks (FamilySearch.org Blog)
Creating Oral Histories (FamilySearch.org Wiki)

Get the kids involved
Using a smart phone or camcorder, even younger children can join in the fun. People are almost always more comfortable and open with children. Having children help not only has the potential of disarming and delighting, it also shows your children the importance of family heritage and gives them experience they can use to add to the family story treasury as they grow older.

Pay it forward
The stories you capture can be uploaded, directly from your smartphone, or the Internet, to FamilySearch.org, where they will be available to future generations of your family. Read a blog post that shows you how to do it.

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  1. How do you help a young woman who was abandoned at an early age to celebrate her ancestry and to establish family traditions?

    1. You can start traditions now and figure out what legacy you want to leave for future generations. Read inspiring stories. She can definitely do Family History work, that would be a bit tricky but a great adventure.