Family Photos Become a Precious Gift

Renee Ann Smith —  December 10, 2010 — 35 Comments

It’s my pleasure to welcome you to Day Eleven of the Virtual Advent Tour. This event has become an integral part of the book blogging community’s holiday traditions. Every day from December 1st through December 24th, a group of bloggers will share thoughts about the holiday. Come back any day and click on the button in my sidebar to follow the Advent Tour.

I’m sharing today’s post with another challenge I’ve joined . . .

I’m also following No Ordinary Blog Hop, and this week’s theme is JOY. It’s a finish this sentence kind of thing: “I gave joy to the

world when I . . .” Since I’ve been feeling nostalgic, I decided to write about a very special Christmas present I gave years ago. The story begins with my dad, Al Smith.

My dad loved Christmas. He was really just a big kid at heart. He would nag my mom until she put up the Christmas decorations and make her keep them up for months. I remember one year, my sister made a special Christmas decoration that hung from the ceiling like a chandelier. Day after day my dad insisted it stay up, until finally my exasperated mother tore it down and hid it away–in July!

Dad loved things that lit up. We had candles and Santas and whatnot in every window and on the porch. One year when I was too sick to play in the snow or venture outside, I cried because I wanted to see how our house looked in all its finery. Dad bundled me up in every sweater and blanket we could find and carried me into the front yard to see our decorations from the street. It was extremely icy, and Dad’s feet slid out from under him in the driveway. But Dad twisted his body to cushion me from the fall. His knee was never the same after that. No more men’s softball league for him.

My sister Jackie is twelve years older than I. After she’d married and had kids, there were still two of us living at home, but Dad wanted to see his grandkids on Christmas. So Dad and Mom used to get us out of bed early on Christmas morning and drive us to Jackie’s. There, we would watch our nieces open their gifts. One year they received a game that required some assembly. Dad and I put it together. Then he wanted to test it out.  We played, and he cheated to beat me! At a game for 3 to 5 year olds!

The Lord took Dad in 1990. Holidays were never the same after that. We didn’t get together with my dad’s side of the family as much. We didn’t see all of our family on Christmas day. Dad had been a driving force to keep us close. Without him, we became a bit disjointed.

In an effort to recapture some of that old magic, I sought to find a unique gift for my family. Something we could treasure. Something that would bring us back to those happy days when we were young. I realized my immediate family didn’t even have many pictures from our past. I began searching through my grandmother’s and aunt’s photos and scanned every one I could find that might have special meaning for my mother and sisters. Back then there was only one place in town to do it, and it wasn’t cheap. But it was sooooo worth it!

So I gave joy to the world on that Christmas morning when my mother and sisters opened their photo albums to find them filled with old photos, poems, and special mementos. Here’s some of what they saw. Enjoy!

Once you’re done here, follow this link to see other entries in this week’s special blog hop.

My mother at a vanity I now have in my room

My dad the only time he was away from home at the end of WWII in Korea

High school photo of Mother

Dad's literary look

Mother and Dad wedding, 1947

Mother and Dad with my older siblings, 1954

Dad's side of the familly on Thanksgiving. I'm 5th down on the right, blonde child with bow looking at the camera

My mother's mother, nursing school student, 1922

My mother's father proudly served in WWI

First new car on the block, 1925

My mother, my grandmother, my aunt

A great-aunt supervises my mother and aunt in one of my grandfather's cars

My mother and aunt play in front of my grandparents' store

Renee Ann Smith

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I teach literature in a Christian high school by day and write inspirational fiction by night. I love to share heart-touching quotes and stories here on my blog. So glad you stopped by!

35 responses to Family Photos Become a Precious Gift

  1. Wow. These are AWESOME old photos. I love it!

  2. Oh, what a wonderful and meaningful gift!! You did an amazing thing!!

  3. What wonderful pictures. Don’t they just conjure up stories! I’ve been trying to get our family’s old photos scanned too, but it is a project. But so worth it.

  4. Oh my….this is absolutely one of the most beautiful posts I have ever read! Thank you for sharing your story with blog world!
    I can only imagine what joy you brought your mom and sisters when they opened their amazing albums from you on that Christmas morning. I bet your Daddy was smiling down on you as you passed on his love for Christmas by preserving such precious memories. Your photos are amazing and remind me of my parents and grandparents albums.
    Thank you for linking up with our No Ordinary Blog Hop! I have been blessed by your post! Remember you can link up as many times in December as you would like as long as you have the theme sentence in your post 🙂
    I am now following you!
    Have a blessed weekend!
    Tracy at “A Slice of Smith Life”

  5. PS: I love your last name too 😉

    • Ha Ha! Thanks, Tracy! I enjoyed visiting your blog and will be back to read more posts. And I enjoyed the family photos! Thanks for your kind words. It’s encouraging to share memories when others receive them so kindly! Blessings!

  6. Oh my goodness! I LOVE those pictures! What treasures! I love looking back through our old family photos. It is so fun to see what everyone used to look like. 🙂

    Your dad sounds like an incredible man! Thanks for sharing with us about him!

    RYC: Thanks for your sweet comments on my blog. To answer your question, my other blog is over on Xanga. It’s under the same username I use here, but it is a protected blog since I share so many pictures on it. You have to have a Xanga blog to see it.

  7. What an absolutely wonderful post. You definitely gave joy to your family. I am now following, and thank you for linking up to our blog hop.

  8. What a beautiful post!!!! I am sure your family absolutely loved it. Thanks for following and linking up to our blog hop. I look forward to reading more of your blog

  9. what wonderful memories thanks for sharing passed by from sits

  10. You brought back some beautiful memories for your family! Whenever I would visit my grandparents on their farm in Indiana and later when they moved into town, I would ALWAYS be looking through photo albums with them. I would want to know all the details. I am still love looking at photos. Now I am slowly going through photos with my mother, dividing them up among the six siblings. My mother turns 83 next week, still living on her own, but aware that she may not be on her own for too many more years. sigh.

    I am in the process of making a photo album for my step-daughter for Christmas. She is currently in a half-way house/program for drug addiction. (Keep her in your prayers, please.) She never has had a camera to take her own family pictures of her three children. I am going through all of my pictures of her children from birth to current time. I hope these pictures will help keep her focused on what is important in life.

    Thanks for the peek into your family photo album!

    • There’s something about old photos–seeing the family history in black and white that gives such a sense of peace and pleasure. It’s great that you’re doing it now with your mom. We had lost so many photos over the years. My parents and grandparents had not valued them until much later in life! . . . I’ll be praying for your step-daughter. I think your gift idea is perfect for her! Hopefully being able to look at those little faces every day will make the difference.

  11. What a sweet story and wonderful memories. I love looking at old pictures and the photo album was such a great idea. Your family will enjoy it for years to come.

    Stopping by from SITS. Have a great weekend!


  12. What beautiful photos, and what a sweet idea. The one of your mom at nursing school got me especially excited because I am applying to nursing school right now – wish I could be all cute and vintage-y like her. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  13. That’s such an awesome gift. I bet your mom and sisters were over the moon!

  14. What a very special present! I had something similar made for me a few christmasses ago and then I also did the same for my sisters. I can remember the emotions I felt when I knew that my partner had spent the time creating such an album for me. Great photos of yours. Love the one in the car and the one of your mother and aunt pushing their doll’s prams. Happy Christmas.

  15. What a beautiful post! I love looking at old pictures, even if I don’t know anyone in them. Your Thanksgiving picture looks almost exactly like one that I have of my family.

    • Thanks for visiting, Christine! I feel the same about old pictures. I love the hair styles, clothing, etc., even if I don’t know the people . . . I enjoyed all the music on your blog. I’ll have to stop in again to read more of your articles.

  16. What a fabulous gift! I love your memories of your Dad at Christmas. They are a treasure. Thanks for sharing.

  17. what a wonderful gift and wonderful memories, thanks for sharing

  18. New email subscriber from hop
    Having Fun Blogging
    mrsphilipswithonel [at] gmail [dot] com

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