Sure, you loved your Cabbage Patch Doll, but what if her unblinking stare scares the bejeebers out of your little angel? All is not lost. Just box it up until you're ready to make a few bucks on eBay. (We're kidding -- sort of.) Though, when storing heirlooms, you really shouldn't put them in just any old box. Especially the ones that signify an important family tradition, like a family Bible or christening gown. See the sidebar on this page for more tips on preservation.
Sometimes, however, an heirloom can tell a story of its own. A family Bible, for example, often contains records of births, marriages and deaths. It may even prompt you to uncover your family tree -- which, by the way, makes a great gift. And, when you dig up those old photos of your ancestors, make a few copies and turn them into Christmas ornaments (we bought a DIY kit, it was a breeze). You can add to the ornament collection annually with photos of your own growing family, and then gift the whole thing to your child when he or she moves out someday. Voila! Instant holiday cheer.