We decorated our Christmas tree yesterday.
It’s something I always love to do. The kids get excited going through the boxes and finding their favorite ornaments, selecting just the right spot for each one. And it is fun to watch a new baby see the tree for the very first time. Our Maeve was just weeks old last Christmas, so this year, she is toddling all around, stealing ornaments, and pointing in awe at the lights. Every day is like Christmas for her as she comes out of her room in the morning and sees it again for the first time.
Last year, we made a few switches. We’re making new family traditions and watching the evolution of what will be the Tully Family Christmas. We went from white lights to multicolored ones. We went from an angel on top to a star. Our children voiced their preferences and we were happy to oblige them.
Except that not all of our kids are here to weigh in. And with the holiday season also comes the reminder that there could be more little Tullys telling us their favorite Christmas things to do. There could be more stockings lined up and more ornaments and more gifts. More giggles and smiles and faces lighting up with the tree. For some of us, our only little ones are missing from our hearts and our homes this year, and we struggle to get through the “most wonderful time of the year” when our hearts are broken and there is a dull ache inside us that makes us want to curl up in a ball and not get out of bed.
So if someone you love is missing their little one this year, can I just make a recommendation for the greatest gift you can give them? It won’t cost much. It could cost nothing. But it will be something they will love and remember you fondly for.
The gift of using their baby’s name.
Say it out loud.
Include it on a Christmas card. “Remembering _______ with you this Christmas.”
Give an ornament that has it on there.
Maybe a piece of jewelry with it engraved in beautiful letters.
I promise they will treasure it.
One of my favorite ornaments came from the bereavement center at the hospital where Brigid died that first Christmas after our loss. Fiona was stillborn at another hospital, but Brigid had to be airlifted to a higher level NICU, so they only knew about her and not her twin. It is a plastic snowflake with letters glued to it. It didn’t cost much, but it is so very special.
If this is your first Christmas without your little one, you can visit All That Love Can Do’s Twelve Days of Christmas series for special giveaways and tips for getting through the season from others who have been there. I am honored to be able to participate and share what helped us put one foot in front of the other two Christmases ago.
Wishing you a very gentle Christmas season and praying you would feel the peace that only the Prince of Peace can bring.