How quickly time flies. It seems like only yesterday that we were raising champagne toasts to the New Year. And this Christmas is only 124 days (just 4 months) away. Even worse, Hanukkah is only 96 days away (only 3 months)! Now, before you slap me, realize that I have very good reasons for bringing this up. How many times have you thought “Wouldn’t it be great to give the family some of our genealogy as a holiday gift this year?” And how many times have you quickly realized that by the time you had this idea, it was too late to actually do something about it for this year’s holidays? And on New Year’s Eve, you resolved to start earlier this time, only to fall into the same rut again.
This year, be different! Start working NOW so you can have something real put together by the time the holidays hit in November and December. After all, realistically, if you are planning for Christmas, you have the same deadline as those targeting Hanukkah, since you likely won’t get tons done after Thanksgiving. Start now with these easy steps and you will be much more at ease in December.
1. What do you want the gift to be?
- There are so many different things you can do, now is the time to decide what your project will be so you can focus on it. Here are some suggestions:
- A small book of genealogical sketches, or a compiled genealogy with several generations of a line or two.
- A book with images from your family photograph collection.
- A slide show of your family photographs.
- A video of interviews with family members.
2. Define the Steps
What steps will you need to take to create your gift? Don’t worry about putting them in order yet. Just do a mind dump and figure out everything that needs to be done. It is easier to get started if you know what needs to be done. Let’s take a small book or booklet on your family. For that you need to:
- Write the sketches.
- Complete writing.
- Have sketches proofread and edited.
- Select printer.
- Have books printed and bound.
3. Create a Timeline
Now is the time to put your list from above in order. Figure out when each piece has to be done, and estimate how long it will take do it. Remember that some things you may be working on concurrently. For example, you may be looking at possible printers while you are writing. Also, really look to be certain you are doing things in the correct order. You might be tempted to “complete the research” before you start writing. It is actually better to write first. This will show you where the holes are where more research needs to be done.
4. Get moving!
Once you have the timeline, get to work. Figure that you only have twelve or so good weeks to get your project done for the holidays. That will give you enough time to have the final product, wrap it, and put it under the tree or next to the menorah.
And to put you in a festive mood to get started here are a couple of my favorite holiday songs: The Chanukah Song (We Are Lights) by Stephen Schwartz, and Happy Holidays, sung by Andy Williams and his brothers along with the Osmond brothers in 1966 (check out how young Donnie is!).