Nobody has to remind you to take pictures during the holidays. We do it without thinking.

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No matter how beautiful, images of our activities only tell part of the story. What about the sounds, smells, textures, and tastes that make up our experience?Here are some ideas from the Smithsonian Institution Archives for documenting other parts of our holiday traditions to keep them alive in the fullest sense!

  • Create a journal.  Tell the story of an event.  Share it with other members of the family to capture more details.  Including information about who, where and when comes in handy when you want to recall some detail from a previous event.
  • Write down and share recipes.  Take pictures of food (tablets and smart phones are great for doing this).  Write down a recipe and save it on your computer.  Include information about who made that dish, its origins and family memories and stories associated with it.
  • Make video/audio recordings of people singing, telling stories, reading poetry, or in the case of my family, attempting ventriloquism.  It is easy to download these files from a camera/smartphone/tablet to your computer.
  • Scan paper documents/pictures.  Today’s all-in-one printers make it easy to scan a document.  And there are hand-held scanners that allow you to copy images/documents from a book or album.
  • Save these files on a computer and organize them.  It is good to name and group files by date, location or name so that you can find them later.
  • Save hard copies of select files.  Pick the best, or most favorite and print them out.  Create a family holiday scrapbook that can be shared.

Whatever you’re celebrating in the coming weeks, celebrate with gratitude and joy!