|Photo used on our 2012 Christmas Card (photo credit: Steve Rubin)|
Solomon, Tabby, Hunter, LillyBear, Sam the dog
Another annual tradition I have is to buy each of my children a Christmas tree ornament. The ornament usually reflects something of interest from that year. (One day, when the children move out, they will take their collection with them and have a nice start to their own tree.) I still include Lilly in this, by getting her a different angel-type ornament each year. For the first year it goes on our family tree:
|Lily-of-the-Valley Flower Fairy|
Lilly also has her own Christmas stockings, that are hung up with the rest of the family's. We have our "originals" that we fill. Lilly's is an angel stocking:
We also have our really fancy, handmade stockings, that I hang on our staircase. These were given to us by A.S., a kind woman I met through this blog:
Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep is a group that provides free remembrance photography to families losing a baby. Their December 2012 e-newsletter had this list of suggestions of ways to honor angel children (or anyone who has passed away):
- Ornament with you baby's name
- Light candles decorated for your baby
- Special decorations at the headstone
- Decorate a special tree
- Make a gift for your baby
- Make a snow globe
- Make a reindeer or something else with the baby's footprints
- Use a special bear or similar stuffed toy given when you lost your baby as a tree topper
- Buy a present for your baby, wrap it and then unwrap it on Christmas and add to the baby's memory box
- Include your baby's name in your Christmas cards
- Buy a small potted Christmas tree. After Christmas, plant it somewhere
- Tell the story of your baby to your family
- Buy presents for your living children that are from your baby (their sibling).
- Take pictures of the special gifts and mementos and add to a photo album to remember what you did each year
- Donate preemie clothing to a hospital for other preemies
- Make small decorations for all the babies buried near your baby
- Buy a toy or gift for a child who is in need. You can buy a gift for a child the same age as your baby would be
- Give a small decoration for all the babies buried near your baby
- Encourage others to do a random act of kindness in honor of your baby. Ask them to write it down and put it in your baby's stocking. On Christmas morning read all the acts of kindness done in honor of your baby.
- Give to a nonprofit, such as NILMDTS in the baby's name
I especially like the things done for others, in honor of your baby, that are in the above list. I'd like to incorporate one or two of them into our December next year.
Another tradition we have is that on December 15, Lilly's "angelversary", we take a little Christmas tree to her grave. In honor of her July 4th birthday, it is a red/white/blue tree. The tree stays at her grave (staked down) until after Christmas:
Here are two other ways I involve Lilly in our Christmas decor. Clive, our Elf on the Shelf, hid in Lilly's stocking, and he hid amongst her mantel memorial:
And LillyBear wears a Santa hat:
The Trisomy 18 online community has been a huge blessing to me. Both when Lilly was alive and even now, afterwards. I love how we remember each other's little ones. The mama of Jordan, a little girl that lived 3 days with Trisomy 18, recently sent me this adorable fairy ornament and the picture of the New River Gorge Bridge (in West Virginia), to remember Lilly:
There's so many more ideas out there and I think that in general, including memories of your loved one during the holidays is a good thing. Because you probably will be thinking of them anyway, so try and make the memories positive.
Photos from Christmas Day 2010 - Lilly's one Christmas here on earth:
|"Santa can wait ... I need my nap!"|
|"See - my ever clenched fists are great for holding things!"|
If you do things to honor your child during Christmas, I would love to hear what sort of things you do.