Saturday, September 13, 2008

How to share your family history with your family.--Gifts

Giving a gift of a family history item can be a good way to share your family history with your family. And putting together family history gifts gives you a deadline--always a good thing in genealogy. My family made a pact several years ago that we would only give family history gifts at Christmas time--none of us need any other fluff for Christmas--and it has been a wonderful thing for us. My Mom is always a little more stressed through the Christmas season because she is trying to get a genealogy project done on top of the normal schedule, but the payoff has been worth it.

Giving a gift of an heirloom or family history project on a special occasion makes the item even more meaningful. They make great wedding presents or baby shower presents. We do lots of genealogy charts for special occasions at Generation Maps. Wedding presents or wedding anniversaries are especially popular along with birthdays, Mother's day, Father's day, etc. Besides genealogy charts, other good gifts include:
  • Books about family history in general. (I'm sitting here at UGA this weekend with Jerry Millar of The Genealogy Shelf. Lots of great books.)
  • Books about your family’s history. (My mom is great at this. But that is an upcoming post.)
  • Copies of the documents/pictures you have collected. (Try Heritage Collector or Passage Express for an easy way to burn CDs for your family, but you may want to give printed copies as well.)
  • Heirlooms. (If you are ready to part with something, it is better to give it as a gift before you die, than let them fight about it after you are gone.)
  • Computerized information, transcribed letters, scanned pictures, video.
  • Traditional Food. (Food is always the way to go in my book. One of my favorite Christmas gifts is my Great-grandmother's secret recipe for Honey Candy that we make every year. It is fun to make it together and wonderful to look forward to.)

Yearly occasions also make great deadlines for family newsletters, updates of the family scrapbooks or personal histories. New Year's or birthdays make a good time to get those things done. My mother has asked for only one thing from each of us for Mother's day--again she doesn't need anything else--a page of a memory from our childhoods for a scrapbook. It has only been a couple of years but is already getting to be quite a book with lots of fun memories in it.

You might think you have a family that isn't all that interested. A couple of thoughts: 1)back to our digital archiving discussion, even if the gift isn't terribly appreciated, you have made another copy of your data in case of a problem. And 2)I was one of those uninterested recipients for many years. But eventually it kicked in (kicked in hard obviously). Don't give up, they may be soaking in more than you think they are.

So, lets see, it is the middle of September, you still have time to do something spectacular in time for the winter holidays. What are you going to do?

1 comment:

my Heritage Happens said...

Hi Janet,

I love reading your blog and have tagged you with the "I Heart Your Blog" award. The details are on my blog Heritage Happens.