If you are a family history buff, or even if you have just begun to work on family history, it is important to pass your work on to others. You can teach your family about their family history by giving gifts based on your family history research that you have done over the last year. These make great Christmas gifts, especially to extended family, such as grandchildren, and nieces and nephews. Here are four ideas on family history based Christmas gifts.
1) One great gift to give is that of restored photographs of grandparents and great grandparents. You can have the photographs restored through a professional service if they are in truly poor condition, or you may choose to simply have the photos scanned and then printed (developed). You can present these already framed or in books. I love to see shadow boxes of old photographs that may include a personal memento such as a handkerchief, or some embroidery work, a journal entry or letter (or copy of one) and the pictures of the person and their family. These are beautiful to hang and make an interesting conversation piece.
2) Another great gift is that of excerpts from journals or letters that you have discovered. These can be typed up, and then printed and copied. You may want to have the excerpts professionally bound, or simply put them in a folder or a three ring binder. If you have copies of the original handwriting, you may want to include a page or two of that handwriting, because it is important to see that part of the person as well. If you do decide to type up the journals, be sure that you do not change the spelling or grammar mistakes. These capture the essence of the person, his education, and his life experiences. It is especially important to leave the grammar because it truly captures the personality of the writer.
3) Another gift to consider giving is that of a wall hanging of the family tree. Generally you can only go about four generations back on these, before they become too large. You may want to purchase a kit that allows you to fill out a family tree or you may choose to use a service that will print the entire tree professionally.
4) Another great gift is to give the gift of family history. If you have significantly more than four generations back you can give the gift through a book or on a CD that records the family history back as far as you have gone. If you give this you may want to document some of the interesting experiences you had as you tracked down your many different ancestors. These stories can mean as much to someone as the gift itself.