Everyone uses cell phones to take pictures. Shared on social media and texted to friends and family, the pictures document fun times, interesting places and family members new and old. But cell phones fail. Or get lost. They’re just little computers, after all.

That’s why with regard to pictures, my mantra has always been “Print them out. Print them out. Print them out.”

Have you ever known paper to fail?

Before digital, I shot zillions of pictures of my boys. I had them processed at a big box store and always ordered a double set. The “best” pictures were organized in albums. The “outtakes” were filed by date and slipped into a box along with the negatives. (Remember those?)

Attic-bound and hidden away for years, the discovery of that box was like finding King Tut’s tomb.

The box is a treasure. And it has value without measure. These pictures tell the real story. And they exist because I printed them out.

Case in point: production for our 1996 Christmas card. We wanted a good shot of the boys (cute) with our standard poodles (majestic). We chose the location, had a pretty fall day, and everyone looked their best.

The final pic is lovely. Dogs are sitting obediently, boys are both looking at the camera (with fake smiles), and no one is getting swatted, punched or kicked.

A bit boring.


It would seem only one of the four got the memo about being in a photo shoot…

The picture above tells the story. I can almost hear the whining and the shouts, “Stand still! Move over. Please?” followed by lots of giggles. I can see the wagging of tails and noses lifted in the air to smell the treats that keep their attention and will be theirs if they can maintain a sit-stay.

I would have missed the moment that told that backstory had I not printed this out.

So this holiday, keep your memories safe. Give them – all of them – the space they deserve, in an album, on the wall, or even in a box. Tell the whole story with your pictures. And…

Print them out.

P.S. Make an extra copy for someone else in your family. You’ll get immediate brownie points, and be giving a one-of-a-kind gift.