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Preserving Memories: Sharing the responsibility

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Not everyone is cut out to be a family historian. I will be eternally grateful for those members of my family and friends who are inclined to preserve important occasions and memories. Documenting events with photos is a talent and a gift. Don’t stop! (Unless you are one of those who make occasions more a photo shoot than the important occasion that it is. You know who you are…)

If you are not inclined to document events, or if you are inclined but are so busy hosting the holiday that by the time you get your hands on the camera the turkey is, well, a carved and devoured carcass, I suggest a simple party favor idea that most readers have undoubtedly seen at weddings: disposable cameras.

I like to set festive holiday tables. Truth be told, I am a firm believer in the concept that if an event looks great, your guests will be more forgiving if the turkey is a bit dry or the mashed potatoes lumpy. The power of atmosphere and ambiance should never be underestimated. One of my favorite things to do is to put a wrapped gift at each table setting. A disposable camera makes an easy, inexpensive “gift” for each guest. Better yet, guests can have fun snapping photos and help you document your event in a way that you, as host, never could.

My favorite disposable camera images usually come from the youngest guests. They will take a photo of their new party shoes, their heaping plates or their grandfather snoring on the couch after a turkey coma has set in. They are the classic photos that will make you laugh years from now. So do not stress about getting it all done. Share the work of documenting and preserving memories.

Though photos are usually the first thought one has when thinking about preserving memories, there are other ways to capture a moment in time. One of my favorites was when a young guest walked around before dinner was served and quietly interviewed each guest about what was important about the occasion. Later, when everyone was seated at the table, the young guest read through her interview notes and each of us had to guess who said what. The results produced tears, laughter and, yes, memories.

The real key to preserving memories is to anticipate the need to do so and to plan ahead. The holidays seem to be a time when many of us feel it is important to document family and friends together. So set the table, put on your finery, cook that goose or turkey, delegate… and “say cheese.”

[HILARY DOUBLEDAY]

November 5, 2013

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