The holidays are here and in many families the season includes getting together with family and friends.
What a perfect time to start asking questions about the lives of the people you will share the holidays with. Get your uncle to talk about his hobby. How did he get started on it. What about your cousin's artistic talent; did he or she ever display any art? Or maybe your friend became a warrior when she challenged a health care company's decision to not cover the cost of her medical care.
All of these examples are the perfect material for family folktales. You can either take notes or write down later what you recall about the stories people told. In most cases you can probably ask questions at a later date if there's something you need to clarify.
The fun is in capturing stories that have not yet been preserved and then sharing them with others.
The beauty in writing these folktales which are based upon any one of hundreds of folktale motifs (artist, chef, scientist, wizard, first Christmas, funny Christmas, etc.) is that they will last forever. Unlike electronic recording devices that are dependent upon equipment working properly, the written information won't be lost if your computer or camcorder crashes.
Just to be on the safe side, though, make sure you print out any stories you have typed into your computer and/or store on removable flash drives.
So with that in mind, be thinking about the people you are with this holiday season and don't be surprised to find out that almost everyone has a folktale to tell!