Fun fact: Research shows that “Teens who knew more stories about their extended family showed ‘higher levels of emotional well-being, and also higher levels of identity achievement.’” - Emory University’s Journal of Family Life.
Ahh the holidays - the time of year when many see family the most. That uncle you can’t remember the name of giving you a great big hug. Grandma and Grandpa sitting quietly with a confused look on their faces as the children bounce off the walls. Mom and Dad pretending they don’t see the kids as they sip their Christmas Ale. Good food. Good drinks. Good conversations and your best chance to learn more about your family, hear stories you’ve never heard before, and connect with your loved ones on shared interests and history.
The holidays are the perfect time to dive further into your family members’ lives and the best time to give your loved ones the chance to tell some of their favorite life stories. Give them the chance to pass on some of the family legacy to you and your family. Legacy traditions, legacy stories, and a legacy of their own. All great topics for a keepsake legacy video project.
It can be difficult to know exactly where to start when navigating these conversations. There’s a lot going on and you may have quite a few responsibilities yourself to make sure the holidays go off without a hitch. So we’ve pulled together meaningful, thought-provoking questions you can ask family members to learn more about your family’s holiday history.
Questions to ask your elders
- What holiday traditions have endured since you were a child?
- Have you always celebrated the holidays in the same place? If not, how has it changed over the years?
- How much does it mean to you to have your family together for the holidays?
- How has the church during the holidays changed over the years? (Inspired by Lutheran Senior Services)
- Have you cooked the same meals for the holidays each year? Or has that changed over time?
- What’s one of your favorite gifts you’ve ever received for the holidays? What’s one of your favorite gifts you’ve given to someone else?
- Is there a specific holiday that you’ll never forget? Can you describe why? (Inspired by Psychology Today)
Questions to ask others of the same age
- Are there any traditions you have as a nuclear family that you do before we all get together?
- What did you have as a child that kids today don’t have? How was your life better? How was it worse? (Christine Carter)
- How did you cook the food you brought? Are there any family recipes that you use for those dishes?
- What was your most memorable holiday as a kid? (Marriage 365)
Sources & other question inspiration
- Psychology Today: 20 Questions to Ask This Holiday Season
- Marriage 365: 30 Holiday Questions to Ask Your Spouse
- Lutheran Senior Services: 20 Christmas Questions: Getting to Know Your Family All Over Again
- Christine Carter: 20 Questions to Ask at Your Holiday Dinner