Every year on Christmas Eve, I prepare some sort of family heritage gift for each of the kids. Some of the things I’ve done in the past include stories written about my grandparents, albums of their school pictures, I’ve typed all of the cute things they said as little children, I’ve given them things from their German heritage like a Weihnachts Pyramide or a Spritz cookie maker with recipes. One year I gave them each a Hoehner harmonica with a story about Grandma Grace who played the harmonica. One year they got Christmas quilts.
In the next post, I will detail more of these kinds of gifts, along with ideas I’ve collected from my family history students over the years.
Every year the kids look forward to Christmas Eve to see what idea I’ve come up with. These are some of our favorite family moments.
Several years ago as the last of my 3 kids finished high school, I went back through journals, calendars, photos and school papers to compile a life chronology for each of my kids from birth through their 18th year. I told them it was up to them to keep the chronology up to date after that. Well, they didn’t. So for this year, part of my gift was to make that easier for them, and to start gathering the information about our 3 grandkids.
Below is an outline I put together to gather the information for each year. I printed copies and put them in a booklet they can fill in when they have time to sit and remember things. Some of them will do it in their computers. That’s great. These questions will help them remember what happened each year and what things they might want to jot down. If you keep this up at the end of each year, when you’re old, you’ll have a great start on your personal history.
You can copy and past these prompts to a single sheet of paper that you can use in your own family.
Chronology for Children
Height / Weight
Where I lived / Home address
What Mom and Dad were doing
Changes in our family and extended family (new siblings, marriages, deaths)
Favorite toys or things I like to do
Favorite movies or shows
Fun activities (lessons, sports, music, etc.)
School or classes / Names of teachers
Birthday gifts received
Christmas gifts received
Favorite places to visit
Trips taken with family
Visits from friends or family
Things happening in the big world
Number of Temples
Disasters, calamities, wars, pandemics
Other (use the back)
Chronology for Adults
Family (moves, births, deaths, marriages, changes in parents’ family and your own)
Education (School attended, teachers, grades, accomplishments, graduations)
Lessons, sports, music (extracurricular activities)
Attended church where?
Name of Ward and Stake
Special blessings, callings, activities
Home Teachers/Visiting Teachers, close church friends
Jobs, employers, responsibilities, career changes, salary/changes
Music, sports, clubs, societies, hobbies, interests, talents, favorite games played, favorite movies, music
Awards or Recognitions
Elections, calamities, wars
US President: LDS Prophet: How many Temples:
People you spent time with, neighbors, church leaders, associates, bosses, work friends
Health issues, spiritual experiences, favorite books, projects, Christmas, holiday activities, big purchases, etc.
Other (use the back)