Capture Family Stories During the Holidays

Christmas, Hannukah, and other holidays are filled with—family stories.

The stories we hear and the ones we tell are part of a family’s legacy. And they go hand in hand with the photos and videos we take. Unfortunately, written memories and visual ones have usually been separated.

Until now.

Read below to see how you can digitize all of your older media files and store them with your current images and videos —along with written descriptions.

Young mother with children, her mother and grandmother
Me (Melody), my grandmother, mother and children in 1996. I loved hearing my grandmother’s stories and now my children, adults, can continue hearing them

Why gather family stories

The stories you gather help connect the generations and pass along important values and life lessons. Tales true or even tall tales give younger generations a sense of identity and belonging. And family stories are simply entertaining.

They also help build skills as described in this article The Importance and Benefits of Family Storytelling (the link is at the end of this post):

You can ensure they develop the skills they need to navigate the world as successful adults by sharing stories from your past. For example, storytelling can improve your child’s listening skills, language skills, and sharpen their memory.

What you gather now isn’t just for you to enjoy now, but for your children, their children, and their grandchildren to see and read over and over.

Here’s a sobering note. The World War Two veterans, followed closely by Korean War veterans, are in their mid-to-late 90s and for many this will be their last holidays so capture their stories while you can.


How to record family stories and memories

Pre-plan some key questions to ask when you get together this Thanksgiving or during the holidays in December.

Blank book, markers, pen, postit notes
Photo by Monstera, Pexels

You might get some groans so you can give your guests options like:

  • Recording on video using your phone or computer
  • Recording audio only on a smartphone or computer
  • Writing down some fun stories

Make it clear that no one has to be perfect. You’re just getting raw data, the stories themselves. You can choose to edit later.

Have older family members go first. They can break the ice and they often enjoy telling stories of what they remember because they’ve lived through so many changes.

Questions to ask

Use these questions or think up ones tailored to your family:

  • What have been your favorite meals during (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years)?
  • How were your holidays when you were younger different than they are now?
  • Do you remember anything unusual about your celebrations—like the weather, any family emergencies?
  • What challenges were you facing during any holidays (like unemployment, illness) and how did you still make the holiday enjoyable?
  • What life lessons have you learned?
  • What’s something you would like to share?

How to keep people comfortable when gathering stories

Make sure there’s no pressure to perform. No one has to be the funniest, or most profound. You’re simply reciting stories that have happened. The fun facts and funny tales, and serious moments, happen as the sharing begins.

Give people space to record their stories. Have them go to a room where they can close the door if they’re recording on video or audio.

Put the emphasis on being relaxed and having an enjoyable time.


How to Permanently Safeguard Family Stories

Once you’ve got the family stories recorded, now it’s time to store them.

I firmly believe that your best option is using the complete memory-keeping system, FOREVER®.

FOREVER® makes it possible to:

Melody and Jack inset with film reels
My dad and I in recent years with the prized film reels.

I’ve been a photo coach for nearly 30 years and the transition from turning traditional scrapbook albums and VHS tapes into digital files was exciting but also overwhelming. In the early 2000s, I saw that we were leaving the world of film and moving into the digital era for good. At one point, I bought a scanner to help my clients scan pages in their photo albums but it was a lot of work.

FOREVER® makes digitizing easy and safe. All files are digitized in their Green Bay, Wisconsin facility so they stay in the U.S. The digitizing team also ensures that you’re files are safe and they’ll personally contact you if they have questions on your material.

You can store your files in your FOREVER® account that you personally own. It’s yours and it’s guaranteed accessible for a lifetime plus 100 years and beyond.

I’ll be glad to go over the guarantee if you have questions.

You can try FOREVER® with 2 GB of storage space for free and see how easy it is to upload, create albums, and get your files in order.


Consider Photo Coaching

Today, families are burdened with tracking older files in their scrapbook albums, VHS tapes, plus slide shows and 8mm home movies. They need help.

I know how much photo coaches are needed to help families who are losing track of their all their treasured files.

I’ll share with you about the need based on my industry knowledge and experience.


I’m Here to Help

Adult daughter with her senior mother
Me and mom today

Contact me and I’ll be glad to answer any questions.

Your family stories are unique so preserve them for many decades and generations to come.

As mentioned above, you can try FOREVER® using 2 free GB of storage space.

Why not write your family story and discover all you can do using FOREVER®–the most secure platform that lets you put all your memories in one place?

Visit the EVENTS page of my website where we’ll have virtual events for writing your family story and learning all the ins and outs of FOREVER®.

Click here to read the full article on the benefits of family storytelling that I referenced above.


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