How an App Can Make Traditions Last


The holidays are here, and every family has their own unique way to celebrate. Holiday traditions can be an important part of your family history, whether it’s a story that you tell every Christmas Eve, an old family recipe that’s prepared every December without fail, or a decoration that’s been passed down through generations.

You can help ensure that these traditions are part of the celebration for years to come by preserving the memories for the future. Don’t wait until the holidays have come and gone to start—the best time to save these family memories is while they’re being made!

With the help of your phone and the FamilySearch Memories app, documenting your family traditions is simple, so you can get back to the festivities.

The Tastiest Traditions

Nothing brings a family together like good food, especially around the holidays. Many families have a traditional dish or meal that plays a central role in their holiday gatherings. Whether you’re sipping hot cocoa, baking cookies, or carving a turkey, these moments are an important part of your family history.

FamilySearch Memories is full of interesting and heart-warming stories of how people have carried on their family’s special traditions. I came across the account of Jennie Ashworth, who was famous for making traditional Hungarian cookies for the family Christmas party every year until she passed away on Thanksgiving Day in 1965. Despite the painful loss, Jennie’s daughter found a special way to honor her mother that Christmas. “When the day of the Christmas party came, her oldest daughter, Jo Ellen Ashworth, felt it was important to continue the tradition, and she made and brought Hungarian cookies. Jo Ellen’s aunts . . . were very touched when they saw her bringing in the cookies that her mother had always brought.”

Preserve your family’s special recipes by using the Memories app to take pictures of pages from family recipe books, or of your loved ones enjoying the food together. Add a Story describing your memories of the tradition and what it means to your family. Looking back on these memories can often be even sweeter than the goodies themselves.

Tales of Christmases Past

What does Christmas sound like at your house? Maybe you read passages from the Bible together. Maybe you have a childhood Christmas memory that you like to share with your children. Or maybe there’s a special Christmas song that you sing together every year. The stories that are shared when the family gathers together are precious, and they can be easy to save for years to come.

At a recent gathering with my family, I recognized an opportunity to preserve some family memories as we all sat together in a circle, laughing and sharing stories. I quickly pulled out my phone, opened the Memories app, and with a few taps of my finger was able to record an audio clip of each story that was shared. Those stories are now saved in my Memories gallery. Not only was I able to save and share those special stories with my living relatives instantly, but now the voices of my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins have been saved for future generations to hear as well.

Pull out your phone at your next family get-together, and use the Memories app to capture the audio during those special moments. You’ll be extra grateful to have those memories saved if you’re ever unable to have the whole family together for the holidays.

Trimming the Tree

Deck the halls with boughs of holly—or whatever makes your home feel like Christmas: stockings that you kept from your childhood, an ornament that represents a special vacation or family memory, a nativity set that once belonged to a great-grandparent. No matter what it is, take some time to share what makes it special to you.

Hailee Hanks shared the story behind some of the ornaments she received from her great-grandmother every year as a child.  “She took much time and love to get all of her great-grandchildren a personal ornament,” Hailee explained. “I still love to hang them on my tree and remember the year I received certain ones and everything I love and miss about great-grandma Jane.”

These special objects can be a beautiful part of your family history. Tell their story by snapping some pictures with the Memories app. You can include details about the significance of these items by adding a story with a photo and description of the items.

Don’t let these unique family traditions slip away with the passing years. Take a few minutes to write down a story, take a picture, or record a song. These memories are what makes this time of year so special, and they become even more meaningful when we share them with those we love. With the Memories app, you can take action to save traditions from Christmases past and present—and carry them on into the future.


About the Author