So often the holidays mean lots of extended family visiting. Whether they are from across town or across the country, relatives can sometimes feel more like they’re from another planet! The generational gap between family members can prohibit relationships when it feels like there are just too many years in between. But there are a few ways that family from different generations can relate to and with each other, helping to bridge that gap and make family ties stronger.
Yes music is subjective, but it really is the medium that every generation shares. Sure there are some people that are more into music than others, but there are few people that don’t have at least one song that they identify with. So start by sharing your favorite. Tell each other why it’s important to you – was it your first school dance? Played at your wedding? What you listened to in your first car? Share and then see where the conversation leads.
If you’re connected with family or friends on social media, break out the tablet and show pictures and stories from those members with non-connected relatives. Ask relatives to bring pictures or albums and show them to the younger family members. Take turns between the online social media and printed family photos.
Playing games is a great way to break the ice. Look for easy games that everyone can enjoy. Games that have questions to answer are a great way to get to know each other a little better. Create a list of general questions, print them, cut them into one question per piece and put them in a bowl. Have the family take turns picking a paper out and answering with the group. Look for questions that anyone can answer like – what is your favorite holiday? What’s your favorite holiday memory? If you could talk with one person, who would it be? And so on.
Sharing a story together is a beautiful way for an older generation to relate to a younger generation. Even older children can enjoy hearing a holiday story or even a story from their relative’s childhood.
Sharing something is a great ice breaker to start a conversation. Sharing a tradition is a wonderful way to build memories, and relationships. To span the years between generations, start a new tradition – even something as simple as taking a walk after dinner. Or going to a special breakfast or making a craft to be used on the holiday table. A tradition doesn’t have to be elaborate, sometimes simple is better! Just choose something that everyone can participate in and set out to enjoy your time together.