In this period of social isolation, there’s no better time to think about your family and organize your family memorabilia. This is something you can do as an individual, a family living together or as a wider family working from their individual homes.
For an at-home family memories party, send an invitation by email, text or phone to family “guests” to encourage them to go through their own family memories to organize them and to share them with the other “guests.” Offer a date at least two weeks off so your “guests” have time to prepare. On the party date, you can all share photos, recipes and stories by email or video-meeting.
As you begin going through your memorabilia, have a computer printer-scanner ready so you can scan paper photos to digital form for sharing with family. Have photo paper ready so you can print photos for folks.
This might be an opportunity to download photos from your phone to your computer. You can get those photos organized and free up space on your phone.
Make memory boxes to fill with family treasures–old photos, jewelry, letters or mementoes–label them and attach the story that goes with each. Plastic storage tubs with lids work well. If you have lots of larger mementoes, you can take photos of them in order to preserve the memories; then let go of the actual items. Be sure that you place your items in categories that it will make it easy to locate them later. You may want to divide them by year or occasion.
You make want to select your favorites of these photos to place in a frame or decorative wall hanging. You may want to place photos in large collage frames. You can upload your family photos to websites like Shutterfly.com and create professional photobooks. You can also place the photos in photo albums, or create attractve scrapbook pages with photos, colorful scrapbook papers and accessories. You can cut out family faces and bodies from photos and glue them to blank papers so that your children can draw bodies and pictures with them.
So many other ways of preserving family memories are available. Compile a family recipe book of heirloom recipes passed down from previous generations. If you don’t have any, start with the living generations and collect some of the favorite recipes. If you have traditional Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter (or other ethnic meals) meals, list the foods that are included. If you have family birthday meals or cookouts, what do you serve? Who did the cooking? Include photos of folks in the kitchen. Interview family members about their memories of foods they eat and family members cooked.
My dear first cousin made a Nannie’s Recipe book for my family one Christmas with some of my grandmother’s handwritten recipes, as well as ones she clipped from the newspaper. We have many common food memories that come from eating at Nannie’s house every Sunday for lunch and every holiday. We take turns on the holidays making some of our favorite Nannie recipes, and this cookbook is a treasure.
You can also record family stories on your phone or video camera–ask different family members to share their favorites. Then create a family PowerPoint presentation with photos and your videos inserted.
These are just a number of ways you can organize and preserve your family memories. On the designated party date, everyone in attendance online will have many special memories to share with each other. Enjoy!