“A Gift of Family Fun,” Ensign, Dec. 1987, 64–65
Instead of the usual pajamas, slippers, scrapbooks, or ice-makers, we wanted to give Mom something really memorable for Christmas—something that would bring her a lot of joy, yet something that she could use over and over.
One day as I watched a videotape of a slide presentation my husband, Bruce, had put together for his seminary class, the idea came. My mother had always complained about not being able to see enough of her grandchildren. We could make one of these videos for her as a Christmas gift!
Since we had a family reunion coming up, it seemed the perfect opportunity to start our project. We took along our 35mm camera and several rolls of slide film. Bruce took command of the camera, being sure not to reveal what we were up to. Mom kept asking us to send her copies of the pictures we were taking. We just snickered and said, “You bet, Mom.”
Bruce took many shots of the beautiful forest scenery Mom loves so much. There were pictures of rides in the back of Grandpa’s pickup, fishing in the streams, the water balloon fight, our family softball game, and the special fireside we had before we broke camp.
After we arrived home, I got the film developed, then sorted the slides and chose those I wanted to include in the show. I also wanted to have music to go with the slides, so I spent several weeks searching for recordings to match the pictures and our particular family mood.
After much preparation and practice time to get the slide show just right, my husband recorded it for us on a videotape. At this time we also taped a Christmas message from our own family. I wrapped up the box to mail, then wrote on the outside, “Open on Christmas Eve,” since I knew Christmas Day would be too chaotic for any TV watching.
On Christmas Eve, I received a call from my mother. Almost in tears, she told me the tape was one of the best gifts anyone had ever given her. I’ve heard she has since shown it to many who enter her home. What started out as just a simple gift is now a segment of our family history.
Families without the time or equipment to videotape can adapt this idea by making a slide show either to give as a gift or to show at a family gathering. Or they could arrange snapshots recording a particular family event in a special photo album.—Sandra Faulkner Andreason, Denham Springs, Louisiana