Here are four special 'saved' Christmas gifts that have lasted a lifetime.

By Patty Hullett
For the Daily Light

For the majority of children, most Christmases involve happy memories and special gifts.

Almost every kid can go back to one toy they especially treasured because it was something they had either wanted very badly, or because it came from someone very significant in their lives.

The following four holiday stories might make readers recall their own favorite toys or special gifts during this holiday season.

Lena Cline is seen today with her 1954 Christmas present, her rocking and riding pony.

Lena (Robinson) Cline – Christmas 1954

Lena was about 18 months old when she received a riding and rocking pony, which she has till this day in her home in Red Oak. Her father and mother, Lloyd and Delia “Bell” Robinson, lived in Lancaster at the time. As Lena grew into adulthood, her mother reminded her how crazy she was about the horse she received from her parents in 1954. She urged her daughter to hold onto that special gift as a memento of her early years when the Robinsons were just starting their own little family with her, their firstborn. A few years down the road, they would add two sons to make the family of

five complete.

Lena Cline, at 18 months old, enjoys riding her Christmas pony in 1954.

Lena says, “I always smile when I come across that photo of me riding my little pony. Saving that horse is extremely important to me now, as both of my parents are gone. In fact, I just lost my mother within the last year. She was a very special person to me, and that gift makes me somehow feel closer to her when I see it.”

Pat Smith – Christmas 1958

Pat Smith resides in Lancaster with her husband Jim Smith, and they attend Creekside Church in Midlothian. Pat recalls that she was 6 or 7 years old in 1958 when she was surprised at Christmas with her very own “Tiny Tears” doll. The gift came from her beloved mother.

Pat Smith holds her special Christmas gift from 1958, a "Tiny Tears Doll."

According to Wikipedia, “Tiny Tears” was a doll manufactured by the American Character Doll Company. This very popular doll was introduced in 1950 and remained in production through 1968, when the company went out of business.

Pat is so protective of her childhood prized possession that she keeps the antique doll stored in her home’s safe.

She mentions, “This baby doll is even dressed in a homemade knitted outfit that my mother made for my favorite doll of all time. I am so proud that I’ve kept her all these years. I do wish that I had a photo of me and my Tiny Tears from 1958, but I still can picture myself holding my baby in my mind, even after all these years that have passed.”

Judy (Woods) Kiggins – Christmas 1966

Judy has lived in the area of Ellis County for most of her life. Today, she has retired to

Kaufman. However, she is thankful for a different type of gift: Her father gave her a beautiful cedar chest for Christmas in 1966. He has been gone for 20 years now, and she misses him dearly.

Judy Kiggins' cedar chest from her father was a 1966 Christmas present that she still treasures today.
Judy Kiggins

Judy confesses, “I was 13 years old when my dad bought me this unique present. Every time I look at it in my home, I think of him with so much love. I am 67 years old now, and I still cherish my cedar chest – because it came from him.”

Brendan and Reagan Barham – Christmas 2012

The children of Boyd and Amber Barham of Midlothian – Brendan, 14, and Reagan, 12, – have a much newer version of a story about favorite Christmas presents. But, both kids treasure the memories that go along with the rifle their grandfather handed down to his son, Boyd, and then later, in 2012, he had Boyd hand down to his son Brendan.

Amber Barham, top, Brendan Barham, left, and Reagan Barham.

It just so happened that their grandparents, David and Carrie Barham from Granbury, had saved their money for many, many years, just to finally purchase some acreage in the country town of Mountain Home, Arkansas. The city is the county seat of Baxter County in the southern Ozark Mountains near the northern state border with Missouri. There, they had built their “dream” retirement home, a secluded structure near the White River. The couple loved their new life in the rural backwoods of Arkansas. That Christmas, in 2012, they invited their son Boyd and his family to come to their new place for the holidays.

David Barham was a retired Church of Christ minister and former employee of the Comanche Nuclear Power Plant in Glen Rose, Texas. Because Grandpa David loved fishing and hunting so much, he decided to spend some time with grandson Brendan and the “family” rifle for Christmas, so he could teach him to shoot while the family was there visiting. Not to be outdone, granddaughter Reagan was upset that she didn’t have a rifle to shoot, so mom and dad had to go and purchase a pink rifle for her.

Brendan and Reagan Barham hold their rifles, with Grandpa David Barham watching in the background in this Christmas 2012 family photo.

The brother and sister thoroughly enjoyed the outdoor way of getting to know their grandparents better that holiday season, and it was memorable in more ways than one.

It wasn’t long after that family get-together, however, that David was diagnosed with multiple myeloma cancer. He bravely battled for two years but couldn’t beat the deadly disease in the end, passing away in 2014 at age 68.

Those family photos, of all of them together and the group shooting the rifles that weekend, are some wonderful bittersweet memories for both of the Barham kids. Their mom Amber says, “Brendan has kept the photo of himself, his grandpa, and his sister in his bedroom for eight years now. It is something that helps him keep the memory of his Grandpa David alive.”