When I was about 15 years old, my dad gave my mom a Christmas gift that left big tears streaming down all of our faces. It was the most wonderful Christmas Eve, and I’ll never forget it.
A few weeks before Christmas I remember my dad sitting at the kitchen table one afternoon looking through piles and piles of old pictures. I can’t recall why he was originally looking through them, but I’ll never forget when he started showing me all of these pictures he’d set aside. They were all of my mom’s parents who sadly passed away years before I was born; her dad when she was just 11 and her mom when she was 23.
I could see a lightbulb going off in his head; he had an idea.
He found a local printing and framing shop and worked with them to make a 20″x24″ collage of these priceless pictures of my grandparents. He had it professionally framed and attached a long, loving note to the back.
I honestly remember it like yesterday. We’d all exchanged presents when my dad came walking in with one more. My siblings and I all knew what it was, and I was tearing up before she even opened it. She knew by our stares that something was going on. She read the note and then hugged my dad while they both shed the happiest tears.
The cherry on top was that he ordered an extra copy of the collage to give to my aunt (my mom’s sister) who also had it framed for her home. My dad is genuinely thoughtful; he knew this gift would mean just as much to her. I talked with her a few days ago when I asked her to send me a picture of this collage, and she said that she still sites this as the best gift she’s ever received.
This collage opened up an opportunity for my mom to tell us welcomed additional stories about her parents by explaining the pictures (several that she’d never seen before). For example, the center picture is from the day they eloped (which has quite the story behind it). I felt like I knew them better after going through each picture and hearing her stories. It’s still hanging in a prime spot in my parent’s home, and frequently seeing their faces has made me feel much more connected to them as my grandparents.
Even though I wasn’t the physical recipient of this Christmas gift, my dad gifted me a beautiful memory that exemplified thoughtfulness, attention to detail, and love. Three cheers, Dad!
Have you or a loved one ever given or received a sentimental gift that this story reminds you of? I’d love to hear!