by Delia

No, not the breakable glass ornaments, nor the plastic ones of your favorite cartoon, sports or movie characters. And not for that green (or pink or silver) tree that appears every year in December. And not just people who celebrate December, either. The ornaments I mean are the the people and facts with which you decorate your family tree, either on paper or electronically.

The holidays are an ideal time to reconnect with relatives to gather facts and oral reminiscences. Ask an older relative about holidays from his or her youth such as the kinds of gifts requested, given and received; family food traditions; shopping; or attendance at parties or religious events. You will please your interviewee with your interest, and the stories shared will add substance to your family portrait. Ask a new in-law about their family traditions, adding to your information about this new family member and making him or her feel included. And, who knows? You might like to incorporate a new family tradition to your own.

Of course, you will want to record these shared memories, either by recording the speaker, or at least preserving the memories in print to be shared with future generations. So remember to take the time to decorate your family tree!