Grandparents are a family’s link to the past; they’re natural historians and have a wealth of wisdom to share, if we’re willing to listen. Sadly, it’s all too easy to neglect our relationships with the older, wiser members of our families, realizing all too late just how precious our shared time together can be. Cherished memories are like the glue that holds it all together. Fond recollections of holidays or celebrations, but also the quiet quality time spent together can be more valuable than any photo album or heirloom. Here are a few ideas for building those treasured memories with grandparents, right now.
Take a trip to where they were born
There’s something really special about making a pilgrimage of sorts to the place your grandparents were born. If they’re able, invite them on a trip that traces back their early years, and if they’re interested, you could even turn the excursion into a dig into the family’s ancestry.
Just Go Holidays offers short guided trips to historic locations and fine houses all across Europe, Britain and America, or you could opt for a vacation with a literature or music theme, or visit a Christmas market during the festive season. It’s the perfect opportunity to have a fun getaway, learn a little about your own history, and make memories that will last well after you’re back at home and enjoying all the photographs.
Make a DIY documentary
Grandparents have had a rich, full and colorful life – start chatting with them about their memories and you may be surprised at what you learn about them! What was it like when they were children? What did they want to be when they grew up? What where their parents and great-grandparents like? What can they remember from the important historical events they lived through?
A great idea is to make a video diary of your conversations, and chronicle their lives in an informal “interview” that the grandchildren can participate in. You can also try the preexistent autobiography template It will help to improve creativity. Grandparents are likely to be flattered and you can have fun editing the footage into something the family can appreciate for years to come.
Create a cookbook together
One of your grandparent’s most valuable memories might be exactly how to make their famous apple pie or what the secret ingredient for their Thanksgiving stuffing is! Parents and grandkids can spend plenty of quality time in the kitchen helping grandpa and grandma prepare the recipes they themselves may have learnt from their grandparents – it’s like a (delicious) history lesson.
Offer to compile the family favorites into a cookbook and distribute copies for Christmas presents. You could include handwritten notes from grandpa and grandma and old candid photos that capture the culinary tradition that these recipes are a part of.
Ask them to teach you something
When people are asked about their go-to memories of grandparents and great-grandparents, they often talk about happy times spent together learning to fish, knit, cook, or fix the car. Your grandparent is likely to be thrilled to be asked their opinion or to share their expertise. Instead of Googling how to do something or hiring a professional, ask a grandparent to show you how. If they have a special skill or talent, you might even ask them to give you a few lessons or pointers – you might then remember those special moments every time you play the instrument they taught you to play, or use the tools they showed you how to clean and store correctly.
It’s all about creating a strong, happy connection to the past by drawing on the years of experience and knowledge your grandparents have accumulated. If you’re lucky, you may even learn about a rare skill that isn’t widely practiced anymore, such as a family technique for preserving tomatoes that began centuries ago in your grandparent’s hometown in Sicily.
Help them go through their bucket list
Is there something your grandparent has always wanted to do? What better gift than to find out a way to make that dream a reality for them, all the while giving you the opportunity to create memories that will last a lifetime. You don’t need a lot of money to give them an experience they’ll cherish – it could be as simply as taking them out to dinner to enjoy cuisine they’ve never really tried before, inviting them to the opera or ballet, or having fun with a silly activity that they never quite got around to doing but always wondered about. Chances are, you’ll have a great time, too.
About The Author
Lily is a freelance writer focused on mental health and family relationships. From a young age Lily has been passionate about the importance of social connection. When she isn’t writing, she can be found walking her cocker spaniel or getting stuck into a new baking recipe.