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The Gift of Heritage

Choosing gifts with lasting meaning for our loved ones can be a daunting task. Why not give the gift of heritage to your family members? They will treasure it always. The ideas are endless, but to get you started, here are just a few suggestions:

1. Heritage Albums: These can take many forms and you don't have to have all your family research done (is it ever really done?) to make one. It can be as simple as family pictures or stories displayed nicely in a scrapbook album, arranged in some logical fashion, such as chronologically or by family group. Or make and give an album of the person receiving the gift. It could include pictures of their entire life or of a single important event. Perhaps one of your family members has a favorite relative, like grandpa or great aunt Mabel. Make a scrapbook album of this relative and their life as a gift to your family member. In all these albums, include copies of important records you've acquired, stories, historical events that affected them, and above all, pictures.

2. Journals: Write in a "gift journal" your pleasant memories, favorite times, and things you appreciate most about the person to whom you're giving this gift. Give your memories to grown children, grandchildren, or that special family member with a journal of your past. Include whatever stories you wish - of growing up, special holiday memories - anything you like. Or give as a gift your knowledge or advice about life, faith, raising children, etc. in a booklet or album with a personal "wisdom" on each page. Our oldest daughter created a "e;college life"e; booklet for her younger sister before she headed off to school. It was a beautiful and very much appreciated gift.

3. Family Memories: Make a booklet or album of the traditions, prayers, and recipes that are part of your family. For both children and adults you might make an album of all their "e;favorite things"e;, including actual items secured nicely in memorabilia pockets. Or perhaps grandpa might enjoy seeing his dad's name in a copy of the 1900 census.

If you have the skill and equipment, you can take any of the above suggestions and put them on a CD, creating an audio-visual gift. However you create it, any of your family members will always remember the gift of heritage you gave them.

Related links:
Writing your autobiography

Family traditions

Heritage album ideas

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