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Living Genealogy and Family Reunion Awards

Living Genealogy

By Dori (Babcock) Van Watermeulen

"Living Genealogy" is a collection of ideas to inspire traditions and strengthen ties between children and long-distance relatives. Here are some helpful ideas:

  • Grandparent Cookies:
    When grandchildren "can't visit grandparent(s) during the holidays", suggest that the grandparent(s) send a cookie tin with about 2 dozen small cookies to each grandchild. The recipe should be one that is not to be made in the child's home and should be able to "travel well" through the postal system. These special "Grandparent Cookies" are opened on Christmas Eve, and to slowly be enjoyed through the week of Christmas.
  • Kissing and Cuddling:
    Current pictures of each child with their grandparents can be kept in sturdy plastic frames (with magnets attached on the back) attached to the refrigerator in the kitchen (where a child would be WITH those grandparents if they were able to be at Grandpa & Grandma's house). Be certain to keep attached to the refrigerator at the child's level, so they can "kiss those pictures and cuddle their grandparents" all over the kitchen.
  • Memories Shared On The Telephone:
    During the visit to a grandparent(s) home, devote about a dozen pictures to "capture what the child and grandparent enjoyed together". Upon arriving home, have the film developed as "doubles". The photos are put into two small photo books in identical order. One book is sent to the grandparent(s). The other is kept by the phone for the child's use. The child and their grandparent(s) will enjoy "reliving" those memories on the phone together.
  • Sharing Special Story time:
    Have a grandparent(s) read stories to the grandchild onto an audio cassette tape. Then send the tape and story to the child. Similar to the narrated children's books/tape sets, favorite stories can be continued in a most loving narration that only a grandparent(s) can do. Don't forget to sing songs, too. And, how about recording stories of "family history" to the child?
  • A Flowerpot of Love:
    Make construction paper flowers about 3 inches in diameter and attach to popsicle stick stems. From small photos of the child(ren), cut out centers for the flowers (tracing around a "quarter" works well). Add green leaf cutouts to the stems. Arrange the flowers in a pot or small basket. Works well for a May Day gift, Mother's Day, Grandparents' Day. A variation: Make multiple cutouts of the child's hands in a variety of construction paper colors. Glitter around the outside of each "hand". Attach to popsicle stick stems.
  • Secret Keepers:
    Save a those small plastic canisters you receive when purchasing rolls of 35mm film. Thread a string through the lid to create a necklace. Have the child decorate these - one for themselves, and one for each grandparent. What little grandchild doesn't love to share special secrets to be kept with a grandparent in these "Secret Keepers", even if the secrets can only be whispered over the phone because Grandpa/ma are too far away for a frequent visit.
  • A Living Photo Gallery:
    Create your own gallery of family photos with throw pillows for a living room/family room couch. On the front panel of the slipcover for the pillow, create a "frame" out of felt to zigzag onto the front panel. Embellish with glittered textile paints around the outside of the frame if desired. Create a pillow to display each child or grandchild.
  • Snoopy Tree:
    This is a smaller Christmas Tree that has only "homemade gifts" under it. These "tokens of love", to be opened late afternoon of Christmas will be cherished more than the other "purchased" gifts. Is a great place for those precious "small family members" to share their artwork.

Family Reunion Awards (and possible
gift ideas for each category)

  • Most Recently Married... a collection of recipes from past and present relatives.
  • Youngest Descendent... a baby bib cross-stitched to read "I'm A Future Ancestor!"
  • Most Family Members Attending... His & Her barbecue aprons for food prep to keep those "eager eaters descending upon them well-fed" after the reunion.
  • Largest Family... a throw pillow with a pocket that serves as a "picture frame" to hold a 4"x6" photo.
  • Oldest Attending... a blank pedigree chart to fill in.
  • Traveled The Furthest... blank "license plate holders" for the car can be purchased with raised lettering included to "personalize" the license.
  • Who Has the Most Grandchildren... a pocket/purse size calendar to keep track of all those precious dates to remember.
  • Person with the Longest Name... a set of writing stationary with the Family Crest.
  • Baldest Male... customized baseball or golf cap.
  • Child & Parent Who Look Most Alike... a nice photo frame for a picture taken that day at the reunion of the award recipients.
  • Who Looks Most Like the Earliest Known Ancestors on Photographs... a frame that holds 2 3"x 5" pictures with the ancestor in one and slot ready for a picture of the award recipient.
  • Who Is Pregnant... Christmas ornament of a small potted tree for "Adding the Next Branch" onto the Family Tree.
  • A "Thank You" to the reunion organizer... Have each family sign the reunion guest book with their address, who was attending, and a short "thank you" to who organized the reunion. Present this to the organizer at the conclusion of the awards program.

To each person who participates in organized relays give a rosette with their name done in calligraphy. Participation in each event is rewarded with a sticker to be placed on the rosette. Those rosettes will be treasured reminders of fun memories at the reunion when placed in a scrapbook, along with the child's "Family Genealogy" charts.

For more great Family Reunion ideas: See Grow your family tree.

OurStory.com - Create your own scrapbook.

Copyright 1995-2007 by Robert Ragan - All Rights Reserved.