Snaps and scraps for happy holiday memories
TRAVELLERS without children may need nothing more than a whimsical glance at the empty matchbook cover from Paris’s Cafe de Flore or a prized New York City Bungalow 8 bar coaster to evoke holiday memories. But if you are packing a stroller and industrial supplies of nappies and toys, memory prompters need to be family-friendly. Happy scraps: The philosophy behind a family holiday scrapbook should be little more than ‘‘ if you can stick it down, in it goes’’. Supply everyone with a large ziplock bag for their contribution; don’t limit yourselves to the obvious and forget chronology. The ideal is a collection of everyday memories and nothing is too mundane, from bus tickets to soap wrappers with hotel logos. A simple grocery receipt from, say, Rome, can bring to mind those crazy breakfast cereals you found in Italian supermarkets.
Once home, you’ll need lots of acid-free loose-leaf pages that can be bound or secured to create a book. Spend an evening together creating a family holiday scrapbook and relive your travel experiences as you log everyone’s offerings, lolly wrappers and all.
If your children are too young to contribute to a scrapbook, keep a daily journal to record the minutiae. All the news that’s fit to print: Launch your own newspaper of holiday records. Whether it’s a scoop (Mum finally gets her hair wet at the beach), a scandal (hold the front page: ‘‘ Family eats a breakfast of chocolate three days in a row’’) or just plain silliness (Dad refusing to ask for directions and getting lost . . . again), charge your newshounds to faithfully record the events of the day as they unfold.
Once you return home, design your family newspaper and fill it with all your gathered scoops, scandals and silliness. A software program such as Microsoft Publisher is easy to use. Video easy: Filming your holiday will leave you with a priceless piece of history that will no doubt become a parental tool for blackmail in years to come, as well as a lovely reminder of special times away. You could make a David Attenborough-style documentary with voiceover or a Jerry Bruckheimer action extravaganza with special effects, or a Chevy Chase-style Griswolds-go-to-Wally-World romp (a la National Lampoon’s 1983 hit movie Vacation). Windows has the easy-to-use Windows Movie Maker for PC lovers (www.windowsmoviemakers.net/), while Apple aficionados could try imovie (www.apple.com/ilife/imovie/).
Tips include starting to film before the trip: dragging the teens out of bed, Mum freaking out about forgetting passports, or realising a special soft toy has been left in the cot when you are halfway to the airport. And take turns being the camera operator so no one is left out. Making music: A soundtrack is vital so choose music that suits your holiday style and destination. Parents will no doubt go for Cat Stevens’s MorninghasBroken to match the peaceful start to each new day, while the kids will probably go for TheRoad toNowhere by Talking Heads for their favourite scenes.
Bring on slide night. Sarah Bryden-Brown is editor of www.kidspot.com.au and the author of a family memoir, DadandMe (HarperCollins).