There are so many ways to mark the history of a family.  Birthdays, holidays, seasons, vacations, school events and every day activities are signs of passing years.  Before photography…well, I can’t even imagine what they did. There weren’t that many paintings or drawings per family that I’ve ever seen.

I don’t know when the first pictures with Santa started, but they were probably with department store Santas as a way to get customers in the door.  I know there were visits with Santa before that, but the photos were a commercial addition to our holidays.  When I was little, we didn’t seem to do it every year.  In fact, I only have one.  Here is me with my brother and another one of my husband, both photos taken in 1950 when my husband and I were both 5.  SANTAAlan with Santa - around 1950By the time my children were born, it became an annual event, part of the traditions of the holidays.  I took them to shopping centers and later to Santa House, a non-profit fundraiser which I worked on for years.  Here is one taken in 1975 with me as the elf, weeks after giving birth to my son.  The matching dresses were made by my mother-in-law.  Don’t ask my youngest daughter about having to wear those hand-me-downs for years.  I was President of the group that year…with four children.  To be that young and energetic again…Santa House 1975Here they are a few years later, towards the end of our Santa picture years.  How in the world did I ever get the four of them that scrubbed up for a picture?  xSo the years went by and those children grew up and started families of their own.  Our first three grandsons were born the same year, all within 8 months.  This was in 1997…  1997And those little families grew and had Santa pictures of their own…1452295_10202508196683924_1336243979_nIMG_7009148290_1699078767564_1555751205_31657769_3390214_nAnd these children grew older and then their cousin came along…eAnd she is the last of this generation to visit Santa.

We measure our lives in so many ways, counting the years through as many memories as we can.  Photos like this are a mirror of the years, the generations, and the commitment to making more memories for those we love.  No matter what your beliefs, I’m sure there are special events to record.  It’s nice to be able to look back and take it all in, put it in the perspective of Santa visits for this particular memory thread in the ever-weaving pattern of my life.

Cheers to more generations to come, adding their own memories and love.