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The National Day of Listening is a special day celebrated every year on the Friday after Thanksgiving. In 2024, this day falls on November 29th.

It’s a time when everyone is eager to sit down with friends, family, or anyone else and really listen to their stories. The idea is to record these stories, creating a rich tapestry of personal history and experience that can be shared across generations​​​​.

This day was started by StoryCorps in 2008, a group that values the power of listening to forge stronger connections between people.

Since then, they’ve helped over 600,000 participants share their stories. The National Day of Listening encourages us to take the time to really hear what others have to say, whether it’s in a formal interview setting or just a chat on the beach.

StoryCorps offers resources and tips to help anyone conduct their interviews, making the process accessible to everyone​​​​.

Why do we celebrate this day? Listening is more than just a way to pass the time. It’s how we learn about the world and each other.

It builds trust, reduces anxiety, and brings us closer together. Today, we give our full attention to stories, ensuring these narratives live on and enrich our communities. So, on November 29, take a moment to ask, listen, and share because everyone has a story worth hearing​​.

History of National Day of Listening

The National Day of Listening began in 2008, created by StoryCorps, a nonprofit organization aimed at capturing the oral histories of Americans from all walks of life.

StoryCorps itself was founded in 2003 with a mission similar to the Federal Writers’ Project of the 1930s. This project aimed to document and preserve the unique stories that make up the fabric of American life.

Since its inception, StoryCorps has collected interviews from over 600,000 participants, offering a rich archive of personal experiences and insights​​​​.

The idea behind the National Day of Listening is simple yet profound. It encourages people to engage in meaningful conversations, to listen actively to each other’s stories, and to record these stories for posterity.

This can happen anywhere – at home, on social media, at the beach, on a bus, or on a train. The aim is to foster connections across cultures and generations, enriching our collective understanding and appreciation of the diverse experiences that define us​​.

Over the years, StoryCorps has provided resources, such as do-it-yourself guides and equipment recommendations, to help individuals conduct their own interviews.

These resources make the process accessible to everyone, regardless of experience level with interviewing or recording technologies.

The organization also emphasizes the importance of active listening, which involves giving full attention, being open to adjusting one’s understanding and maintaining a positive attitude toward the speaker​​​​.

This day falls on the Friday after Thanksgiving, making it an ideal time for families and friends to come together and share their stories. It’s a reminder of the power of listening to strengthen bonds, understand each other better, and preserve our histories for future generations​​​​.

How to Celebrate National Day of Listening

Celebrating National Day of Listening can be an exciting adventure filled with curiosity and genuine connections. Here are some quirky and playful suggestions to make the day memorable:

Host a Story Slam: Invite friends over for a story-sharing extravaganza. Everyone gets a turn to share an unheard or favorite story.

Interview Swap: Pair up with someone and take turns being the interviewer and interviewee. Use a spoon as a quirky mic and ask away!

Silent Disco with a Twist: Everyone listens to their favorite song silently, then takes turns explaining why it’s meaningful to them. Dance moves as explanations are totally acceptable.

Listening Booths: Set up cozy corners in your living area with different themes—think ‘First Love,’ ‘The One That Got Away,’ or ‘Childhood Memories.’ Have guests move around and share stories related to each theme.

Walk and Talk: Pair up for a stroll in nature, but with a catch – one person talks while the other listens, then switch roles on the way back.

Create a Listening Mural: Set up a large piece of paper on the wall and let everyone add to it with drawings or words about what they’ve heard or felt during the day. Think of it as a listening diary.

Record It: Use your phone to record the stories shared throughout the day. Later, you can send them to the storytellers as a keepsake.

Listening Bingo: Create bingo cards with common phrases or themes you expect to hear during your listening activities. Mark them off as you catch them throughout the day.

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