Making and Recording Family Memories

As the holiday season approaches, it can be a great time to look back on the past. What do you remember from the year? What do other members of your family remember? It can be very interesting to compare these memories and it’s often surprising to hear how differently everyone remembers the same events. Even more surprising is how something that was so important to one person may not even be remembered at all by another.

There will also be family memories for you to share.

They won’t be remembered exactly the same way because everyone in the family experienced them through their personal filters, but you can all make an effort to create and record more of these memories by talking about them, together.

Not only can this be fun in the moment, but it can bring you a lot of pleasure in the future when you look back together or individually.

When families are young, there’s often a lot of recording of family moments. In the past, this was done with cameras and old home movies. There were photo albums or shoeboxes filled with pictures of the first baby’s early years and big events. Then as the family grew, there were fewer pictures of each child. Not because you love the oldest child more, but because you had your hands full.

When your children are very young, it’s possible to direct the activities as well as how and when you record them. Consider your personal preferences and have activities that fill you with joy. At the same time, pay attention to how your children react. They’ll give you great clues even at early ages about things they like to do and things that don’t light them up.

It’s always wonderful when everyone’s having a great time and when each member of the family is doing something they love to do, but rather than stressing out about having the perfect activities and creating the best memories, just try to have fun.

Think about your own childhood. What do you remember the most? If your parents are still alive, you can ask them what memories they thought they were creating. It can be an eye opener to realize that adults often work hard at making happy moments for kids to remember, but the best part of that time may have just been being together with their parents. Hopefully, this knowledge lets you relax a little bit and focus on being there rather than creating the perfect event.

As the kids grow up, you can include them in making choices about activities that will become fond memories in the future and how they would like to record those memories.

When it comes to recording these events, here are some suggestion to keep in mind:

  • Capture the memories in a variety of ways, rather than relying solely on one method. Technology has a way of changing and if all your memories are recorded on video, you might not be able to view them in the future unless, you find a means of converting them to the new media. Remember VHS tapes?
  • Take photos and videos, but focus more on the people and less on the scenery. Be sure to include everyone, even the camera-shy people in the shots. Not everyone has to be in every picture. Allow every family member a turn behind the lens. That way, no one’s left out. And you never know… You might instill a love of photography or filmmaking one or more of your kids by doing so.

As much as one person might enjoy being the director, remember you’re creating family memories, so you want to document that the entire family was there.

  • Collect postcards from places you visit to augment your own pictures. Often the image will be much better, but it won’t have your family members in it. You can write short notes on the back of the postcards too, either of what you did that day or about anything interesting that happened. By combining postcards and personal pictures, you can get a full memento of the experience.
  • Journaling is another way to help capture memories. Encourage each family member to create a journal or travel book of their own. You may elect to share your journals with each other or allow each person to have their own private book, opting to share only selected portions.
  • If you’re artistic, you might consider making scrapbooks from photos and various trinkets picked up along the way. These can be physical or digital. The advantage to the digital books is that they don’t take up a lot of room, but again, you may become a victim of technological advancements. You may consider having a physical book created from your digital photographs for that reason.

Holding a book, photo album, or scrapbook in your hand is a different experience from watching a video or slideshow. While old home movies are making a comeback, many people like to be able to control the experience, lingering and speeding through sections at their discretion.

Consider your family members’ skills and interests both in planning activities and in recording them. Having some books to hold or home movies to watch in the future will be fun, but the most important part is just in having fun family experiences together.

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