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HolidayFeature: What to do with family photos
"When you take a look back at the things you have done and the trips you have taken, or just the daily moments in life, it helps you realize that you have a lot of good in your life."
- Karen Thompson

by Kathy Magnuson

Sometimes they show up in conversation or in physical reality at holidays when families get together. Some people have them in the basement or in the attic. For others they are in the back of a closet or even under a bed. You love them and at the same time feel the burden of needing to do something with them.

They are the boxes of family photos-the family legacy that never got put into albums. They might include first days of school, mom and dad's wedding, summer travel vacations, ... and all those birthday parties. Your photos hold the stories of generations and of everyday moments.

What do you do with them and how?
Karen Thompson of Creative Memories, a St. Cloud-based company with a majority of women independent business owners, suggests that family photo collections can actually be a de-stressor instead of adding stress to your life.

"There's a benefit of spending time with photos," Thompson said. "When you take a look back at the things you have done and the trips you have taken, or just the daily moments in life, it helps you realize that you have a lot of good in your life." She even believes that family photos are a helpful tool in raising happy, confident kids. "When they can see 'their tribe,' their family, their friends, it helps them to feel grounded, secure and comfortable. Not just children benefit, everyone benefits from looking back at the things you have done and things that matter to you."


So how do you get your arms around that big box? Thompson has these suggestions:

• Ask yourself where you want to get started. What is most important or exciting to you?

Don't necessarily start at the beginning. Instead of starting with the 30-year-old photos, start with the most recent ones and work backwards.

Or pick your favorite photos-the ones that make you smile every time you see them. Go from there.

A big life event can be an entry point. Consider starting with a wedding or a birth.

• For a family holiday activity have family members hand write their own memories or comments on the pages of an album.

Thompson finds that people's stories are often told in the "in between moments, the everyday moments" with friends and family doing the things we love to do. She invites us to celebrate those, too. "There are as many different stories as there are people."

FFI: www.creativememories.com

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