Ask almost anyone and you’ll get the same answer: “What’s [insert holiday] all about?” Time spent with family and close friends! But, often, we hit the event at the same speed with which we’ve tackled all our preparations, and the time is spent before we’ve taken a deep breath. How can we slow down and preserve holiday memories so the moments last? Here are a few tried-and-tested methods to capture fun times:
Write It Down
I know what you’re thinking. “I already barely have time to write/eat my meal sitting down/sleep, now she’s telling me to squeeze in a holiday writing session?!” Nope. Get a cheap stack of 3×5 note cards and have attendees write down one thing. It’s your choice: favorite tradition, Christmas wish list, a gratitude, New Year’s resolution, etc. Gather them up (or have one of the kids gather the cards — that will increase response rate, ha!) and keep them in a card box. You could also put them together, snap a photo, and send it to the respondents. Go over them the following year to compare responses.
Record the Audio
Have you ever tried to video a sky lantern? It doesn’t work. One of last year’s delightful serendipities left me with an attempt at videoing the Christmas Eve launch of a sky lantern my aunt brought for the kids. Instead of a total loss, it’s an image of a bright spot in a dark sky, with the audio of us laughing, panicking, and wondering at the new experience. The sound of my mom squealing with laughter and the little cousins trying to figure out how high the lantern would soar is priceless, and makes me happy every time I listen to it. The best part? Audio can play while you’re doing dishes, laundry, walking the dog–whenever. You can spend mundane moments reliving fun memories with family. And if you’re extra ambitious, you can set the audio as a soundtrack to a photo slide show, and hand out copies to everyone involved.
Let the Kids Do the Photography
If you are determined to photo all the special moments of time with family, you run the risk of missing out on those very experiences. A neat third alternative is to let the kids have the cameras and go to town. It keeps them occupied and involved, and you’ll end up with some unexpectedly poignant portraits. Plus, when the point of view is a few feet shorter than adult-height, the perspective can be touching and unique. Will you have to delete lots of blurry feet and thumbs and up-the-nose shots? Sure, but you need an excuse for a little after-Christmas couch time, anyway.
Schedule a Follow-Up Remembering Session!
The point of these tips is to enjoy the memories, so don’t forget to actually look or listen to the materials you’ve preserved. An excellent way to spend a little time with your loved ones and the memories you’ve all made together is to have a calendar party. Get a plain calendar (or let others bring their own) and have snacks and hot drinks while you all fill out the events of the coming year: birthdays, anniversaries, goals, milestones, and fun get-togethers. Especially if you passed out note cards, spend some time discussing what you want the next year to bring.
If, like me, you find yourself telling someone, “We need to do something fun soon!”, get that intention scheduled. And keep it!
The holidays come and go so quickly, with so much preparation, that it can leave your head spinning. Slow down, savor the experiences, and capture fleeting moments to relive all year long. How does your family preserve holiday fun?