Ready or not, December is upon us. Many people are happy to see the end of 2020 coming! It has definitely been a challenging year for many. At the National Institute, we have been continuing to offer quality online education with over 230 courses to choose from. The first Monday of the month means another rotation of courses will be starting on December 7th.
December is also a time for Remembering Family Traditions. The Holidays are filled with a combination of memories of past celebrations and opportunities to create new ones. Our 2020 holiday plans will certainly be different than in past years, but perhaps, it is a unique opportunity to really examine our usual traditions and explore how they established their place in our own family. How have they changed from one generation to the next? Have you shared your holiday memories with younger generations? Have you asked the older generations about their childhood traditions and memories? This is the perfect time to initiate those conversations. The bonus is – if you do this in a virtual format, you will have the opportunity to record their memories in their own voices. What a precious family keepsake!
It is a time for Preserving Family Origins. Many holiday traditions originate from our countries of origin. Watch for traditional holiday foods made only for this time of year. Special family recipes are pulled out and prepared with love. Grandma’s recipe carries on the family tradition, but it carries memories with it as well, not only for the tastes and smells, but also of the person who prepared it many years ago. They are not forgotten, especially when sharing with younger generations, so they know why we continue the tradition.
Share those stories. Record those stories. Document their origins. Search out how they became your family’s tradition. You may discover parts of the story you have forgotten, but when a sibling or a cousin relays their memory and “the rest of the story” may be revealed. Look at photographs of past celebrations. So many stories are triggered by old photos, sparking memories and reminiscing with family members. These times are so important and pull the generations together.
Investigate how your ancestors celebrated the holidays in their time, especially the immigrant ancestors. How was it different “in the old country”? Did they bring traditions with them, or did they embrace new traditions? Most families are a blend of old and new, evolving with each generation. Learn all you can and be the one to preserve your family’s stories.
Are you looking for online courses to help you in your research? Be sure to include some topics that dig into your ancestors’ lives beyond the official documents. Preserve their traditions and stories for their descendants, and for future generations.
Visit our website for a complete list of online courses offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. Check our Course Calendar here.