As we age, our memories seem more significant, and more vivid.

Holidays are a great time for sharing memories. At our holiday events we inevitably end up in fits of laughter, holding our sides and wiping away tears.

Some of our stories get retold each year. Like the time my dad was using a blowtorch to remove the paint from the window frame and burned my mother’s silk curtains. Or when my sister at 5 years old asked how they trained monkeys to use guns—this was after she heard on television about the guerrilla troops fighting the war in the 1960s.

It doesn’t matter whether we are with our “real” family or with our local family of friends; memories offer an intimate view into others’ perceptions and can be a wonderful bonding experience.

This past holiday with our local family of friends we played “The Voting Game,” a card game intended to reveal the personalities of those who play. It was a lot of fun, and we learned a lot more about how we feel about one another.

Here are some questions that may elicit some good memories at your next family gathering:

  1. What’s your favorite childhood memory?
  1. What made you laugh the hardest in your life?
  1. What celebrity did you have a secret crush on and why?
  1. What is the silliest thing you have ever done?
  1. What was your most embarrassing moment in school?
  1. What valuable lesson did you learn the hard way?
  1. When was your favorite family activity?
  1. What do you remember most about family meal times? Family vacations? Bedtimes? 9. If you could trade places with your parents for a day, what would you do differently?
  1. Describe your favorite thing in your house as you were growing up.
  1. What personal trait got you in the most trouble?
  1. What’s the most enjoyable thing we have done together as a group?
  1. What is the best meal your mom makes? Your dad makes? (Fill in the name) makes?
  1. What’s the funniest thing your brothers or sisters did as kids?
  1. What’s the funniest thing your pet did/has done?
  1. What does (fill in the name) do that makes you laugh?
  1. What is the funniest story about your next-door neighbors?
  1. Tell us a story about your first boyfriend/girlfriend.
  1. Tell us a story about being made to eat a food you did not like.
  1. What “family” traditions do you hope we will carry on?

All of us can benefit from reliving positive experiences because good memories can cause the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of pleasure.

Give yourself and your “family” the gift of happy memories this holiday season.

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