Do you know who is at your Holiday Table?

As family and friends gather for the holidays, I am often reminded that there are so many questions that I have for my parents and grandparents that can’t be asked because these loved ones are not on this earth anymore. There are many stories that I do know and I’m grateful to have those, but I often wonder why I didn’t ask more questions, or dig deeper into family history.

Here is a list of some questions that might be conversation starters to help you uncover more of your own family history or a loved one’s history.  Let these questions be the beginning of your journey to discover who you are and who your cherished family and friends are.  

Pour some drinks, and settle in to some good old-fashioned conversation with people you love.

  • Who has been the most important person in your life? Can you tell me about him or her?
  • What was the happiest moment of your life? The saddest?
  • Who has been the biggest influence on your life? What lessons did that person teach you?
  • Who has been the kindest to you in your life?
  • What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?
  • What is your earliest memory?
  • What is your favorite memory of me?
  • Are there any funny stories your family tells about you that come to mind?
  • Are there any funny stories or memories or characters from your life that you want to tell me about?
  • What are you proudest of?
  • When in life have you felt most alone?
  • If you could hold on to one memory from your life forever, what would that be?
  • How has your life been different than what you’d imagined?
  • How would you like to be remembered?
  • Do you have any regrets?
  • What are your hopes for what the future holds for me? For my children?
  • If this was to be our very last conversation, is there anything you’d want to say to me?
  • For your great great grandchildren listening to this, years from now: is there any wisdom you’d want to pass on to them? What would you want them to know?
  • Is there anything that you’ve never told me but want to tell me now?
  • Is there something about me that you’ve always wanted to know but have never asked?
  • If you could interview anyone from your life living or dead, but not a celebrity, who would it be and why?
  • How would you describe me? How would you describe yourself?
  • Do you remember any songs that you used to sing to her/him? Can you sing them now?
  • When did you first find out that you’d be a parent? How did you feel?
  • Can you describe the moment when you saw your child for the first time?
  • How has being a parent changed you?
  • What are your dreams for your children?
  • Do you remember when your last child left home for good?
  • Do you have any favorite stories about your kids?
  • How did you choose my name?
  • What were the hardest moments you had when I was growing up?
  • If you could do everything again, would you raise me differently?
  • How did you meet mom/dad?
  • Are you proud of me?
  • What were your parents like?
  • How was your relationship with your parents?
  • Did you get into trouble? What was the worst thing you did?
  • How would you describe yourself as a child? Were you happy?
  • What is your best memory of childhood? Worst?
  • Did you have a nickname? How’d you get it?
  • Who were your best friends? What were they like?
  • How would you describe a perfect day when you were young?
  • What did you think your life would be like when you were older?
  • Do you have any favorite stories from your childhood?
  • Did you enjoy school?
  • What kind of student were you?
  • What would you do for fun?
  • How would your classmates remember you?
  • Are you still friends with anyone from that time in your life?
  • What are your best memories of grade school/high school/college/graduate school? Worst memories?
  • Was there a teacher or teachers who had a particularly strong influence on your life? Tell me about them.
  • Do you have any favorite stories from school?
  • Do you have a love of your life?
  • When did you first fall in love?
  • Can you tell me about your first kiss?
  • What was your first serious relationship?
  • Do you believe in love at first sight?
  • Do you ever think about previous lovers?
  • What lessons have you learned from your relationships?
  • How did you propose or get proposed to?
  • What do you do for a living?
  • Tell me about how you got into your line of work.
  • Do you like your job?
  • What did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
  • What did you want to be when you grew up?
  • What lessons has your work life taught you?
  • If you could do anything now, what would you do? Why?
  • Do you have any favorite stories from your work life?

(questions gathered from StoryCorp.com)

Time stands still for no one, so don’t wait. You will be glad you took the time!

Happy Holidays!


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