"Box with Gift" by Robo Android
It's that time of year when many people are searching for that perfect gift for someone special. Why not take the opportunity to do more than exchange "stuff;" why not exchange - and create - memories?
Here are some suggestions that will help you tap into the power of storytelling:
Charms and Jewelry
Among my mother's bits of jewelry was a charm bracelet, which my daughter now wears with an extender, as a necklace. Each tiny gold object represents a person, place or event. I enjoyed sharing the history of this heirloom with her as we remembered a dearly loved relative.
There are a number of popular charm bracelet options available, so if you haven't inherited such a piece, you can begin creating one now.
Lockets and Ornaments
Personalizing objects with images is a lovely way to remember special occasions and share family portraits with future generations. Either purchase a frame and insert your own photo, or visit a site like Zazzle to design and order customized items.
Audio Recordings, Books and Albums
Why not interview a grandparent, or just capture random musings about your childhood and days gone by? You can purchase picture books that will "record a story" in your own voice; fotobabble, where users create "talking photos," provides a free alternative.
There are dozens of sites where it is possible to write a book or collect photographs for private publication. It might be fun to include family members in the creation process rather than just present them with a finished product. Photos can also be share in a physical album, on a CD or archived in a website or wiki. Please remember to label and tag as much as you can!
When the urge to declutter hits (maybe a New Year's resolution?), select and share both objects and their stories with others. My family has had fun reminiscing about clothing, toys, household items, and, of course, books and photos. I treasure my mother's WAC dog tags and her apron.....the tiny bib overalls that both my children wore as babies... some of my father's WWII aviation instruments and one of the soft and snowy handkerchiefs he always carried with him. Sometimes the plainest, most ordinary things trigger the dearest memories.
The Gift of Time
American essayist and poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, said that “The greatest gift is a portion of thyself.” Although presents add to holiday merriment, making a conscious effort to spend time with those you love is the greatest gift of all.
Share your stories, help others create their own stories.
“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” -Kahlil Gibran