Latter-day Saint Life

Don’t end your family reunion without trying this incredibly meaningful (and free) activity

Portrait of a large family
Reunions are excellent opportunities to share and capture memorable stories in your family history.
Pavlina Popovska, Getty Images

Storytelling has become one of my favorite family reunion activities. My appreciation for the tradition has only deepened as I’ve grown older, realizing how precious family memories and anecdotes become during our limited time together in mortality.

Sharing stories brings family history into family reunions—in a super easy way (that’s far from boring!). Here are four ideas to add this fun and memorable activity to your next family get-together.

1. Invite Everyone to Come Prepared

Give all family members the chance to participate. While we often think of family history interviews with grandparents or older relatives, kids will be more likely to listen and feel excited about the storytelling activity if they can share their memories, too.

Encourage each family member to start thinking about story ideas a few weeks or months before the reunion. You could give everyone a list of prompts, like:

  • What has strengthened your testimony this summer?
  • What is the funniest or most embarrassing thing that’s happened to you this year?
  • What advice do you want to share with younger relatives?
  • Talk about a time you had an epic cooking fail.
  • What is your earliest memory?
  • Tell us about the best or worst date you’ve ever been on.
  • What do you remember most about your father, mother, or grandparents?
  • What is your favorite memory from your mission?
  • How would you describe a typical day at college?
  • What did you appreciate about your childhood home?
  • What is your best memory from childhood?
  • What is the most unique gift you’ve given or received, and why?
  • What was your first day of school like this year?
  • How have you seen God help you through a recent challenge?

2. Mix it Up

Storytelling doesn’t have to look or sound the same. At reunions, my family likes to embrace lots of different participation formats—from playing the piano and singing songs to sharing poems and even telling jokes.

Encourage people to choose different types of stories as well. Having a combination of tones (e.g., spiritual, reminiscent, funny) will create variety and help keep everyone engaged. You could also try having brief question-and-answer sessions after the stories, especially for older relatives who lived through significant historical or family events.

3. Keep it Short and Simple

To prevent long monologues and restlessness, consider giving everyone a time limit for their stories. You could even set a timer and make it a game, seeing who can get through their stories before the alarm goes off.

If the younger kids have trouble sitting still, try incorporating coloring pages, a quiet craft, or treats to munch on during the storytelling activity. Larger families could also split up the stories across different reunion days to create shorter sessions and ensure everyone who wants to participate gets a turn.

4. Record Your Memories

My cousin once made a video recording of my grandmother sharing some of her favorite life stories, including her time living in a Catholic boarding school, studying piano performance at Juilliard, and meeting my grandfather. When my grandmother passed away a couple years ago, we were able to watch the video as a family and reflect on her life. The recording made it feel like she was still with us, reminding us of her continuing love and legacy.

These stories can become invaluable treasures in your family history, especially when you write them down or capture them with video or audio recordings.

Family storytelling nights can be an excellent opportunity to capture these memories. The process could be as simple as using a voice memo app, jotting down notes or quotes, and uploading them to FamilySearch Memories or social media.

For more ideas to bring family history into your family reunion, check out the articles below:

5 kid-friendly family reunion activities they’ll always remember (and have a blast doing)

How to film your loved one’s life story

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