Are you looking for a special lasting gift?
Why not give the gift of your time with a close relative or friend and record his/her life story? You could make up a gift card and put it into a Christmas or Hanukkah card, offering your time to sit with someone to record his/her story. Our lives are usually so full that offering our time is in itself a gift for any season.
Too few of us value our own lives and accomplishments. Maybe you have the time to write about your own life for a younger relative or you can write for an older relative who would enjoy telling his story. Writing your story for a child who is looking at Family History at school is invaluable and special for him or her. If you keep a journal of your time spent with a family over the holiday season, a child could add her/his thought to it. It would make memorable reading later on.
I have just been recording on a digital recorder, the memories of a lady of 94 whose family want her story and her experiences written down ( as well as recorded on CD). It is a gift they can all share at Christmas and it gives the lady who is telling her story, a great deal of pleasure. Another friend wanted to record her life for her daughters so I asked questions and she told her story into the recorder. I know it is wonderful for a family to have the audio recording after someone has died because it is another link with the person. I recorded my father in law who died 20 years ago ; my grand children can now hear his voice and funny stories. That delights us.
Taking time to do this is therapeutic for the storyteller and the recorder. It reveals a keen interest in someone’s life and shows that another person cares deeply enough to take the time or spend the money to make a book our of the recording. If you have a personal digital recorder, you will find it an asset for interviewing older relatives. It is unobtrusive and it is voice activated. You can also upload to your computer to produce a CD as a gift.
There is also much fun in looking up old photos and generating talk about that experience. Meeting family members at Christmas (or any holiday) time is another opportunity for looking at old albums and of producing more memorable pictures that can be used in a life story. I find one memory leads to another and funny stories can be incorporated in a memoir verbatim with the corresponding photograph.
I urge you to take the time to do this. If you need a short guide, there is one on my website at www.truestorybooks.com. I suggest methods, questions to use and give help with technical details. Having done fifteen life stories, I know they are gifts that are treasured.