The holiday season can be a tough time for those that have lost a child. This is a time of year where we are “supposed” to be happy and celebrate. When you have lost a child, celebrating is likely the furthest thing from your mind. You may find yourself dealing with a wide range of emotions, including anger, sadness, and disappointment. You may not want to be around people and may even skip celebrating all together. Or, you may be the type that wants to do things as normally as possible to stay distracted from the grief.
The first Christmas after we lost Jasmine was very hard. She would have been 9 months old. I kept imagining what she would look like, what kind of things she would like, and how cute she would have looked in a Christmas dress. We had our son to think about, so could not skip the celebrations all together. I wanted our life to be back to as “normal” as it could be, so we continued with our traditional celebrations with our family. We knew that we wanted to somehow include her in our Christmas celebration. Fortunately, there are a lot of things that can be customized to include your baby’s name, date of birth, or other stats that you want to include.
Here are six ways that you can honor your lost child.
*I have no affiliation with any of these organizations or companies. I simply like their products and want to recommend them to you.*
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Hanging an ornament on your tree is a great way to remember your child. There is a wide variety of ornaments you can find on Etsy or other stores that you can have customized. I had a couple of very sweet ornaments that people sent to me the first year after we lost Jasmine. Both included her name and date of birth. I was so touched to receive these. There is just something so special about seeing your child’s name written on something.
Check out this ornament that you can have customized with your child’s footprint, name, and date of birth. This ornament is from a non-profit organization called Ever After Ezra. You can order this item in their Etsy Shop. A portion of the proceeds is used to help create keepsake boxes for families dealing with pregnancy and infant loss. They also have another ornament available that does not have the footprint, but can still be personalized with your child’s name and date of birth.
Stockings were a big deal in our family growing up. My grandma made personalized stockings for each of us that we still use. Since I am not crafty enough to make my own, I ordered a stocking from Etsy that was personalized with Jasmine’s name on it. I was able to buy matching ones for my other two children. I put it up next to the rest of the stockings and put them under the tree for Christmas morning. It is nice to see all three of their stockings together. In previous years, we did not put anything in her stocking. I read in some loss groups that there were people who would put cards or other small gifts in there as a way to include the lost child in the celebration. This year, I do plan to include some small gifts for her stocking.
The particular one I bought was from TheBoutiquebyEB on Etsy. I liked that I was able to buy one with an angel on it to represent her. They have other design options available as well. Etsy has many other shops with options that can be customized as well. Maybe one day I will learn how to make them like my grandma did and make one for her myself.
3. Card Exchange
There are a few organizations that do a holiday card exchange for loss families. This involves you sending a card to a loss family and receiving one in return. In a time where the holidays can feel so lonely, it is nice to be able to connect with other families that are in the same situation. While my family and friends were considerate and helpful, you can connect differently with someone who has been through the same thing you have.
One of the non-profits that does this is Reece’s Blueprint. You sign up and then send a card or letter addressed to their lost child, Reece. In return, you get one sent and addressed to your child. You can put this in their stocking to open up on Christmas. I signed up this year so that Jasmine will have a piece of personalized mail for her stocking.
If you would prefer to not go through an organization, you could set up your own exchange among family and friends. They could each send a card for your child’s stocking.
4. Customized Necklace
I am so grateful to the hospital where we delivered Jasmine for getting her footprints. They tried to get the handprints, but we were not able to get a good print from them. I treasure those little footprints because I feel it’s one of the only pieces of her I have left.
One of the first things I bought after our loss was necklace that was personalized with Jasmine’s footprint. On the back, it had her date of birth and her weight and length when born. It was a way of feeling like I could wear a part of her close to my heart. Mine was from LustrousElements on Etsy. There are many other shops that sell different styles of memorial necklaces.
5. Random Act Of Kindness
For Jasmine’s first birthday, I asked people to do a random act of kindness in her honor. I had several people participate and tell me the various things they had done. I think this is a great thing to do any time of year, including the holiday season. This can be as simple as paying for someone in line behind you at the drive-thru or making a donation to an organization in their child’s name. It can be volunteering your time or talents to help someone else. It could be choosing a family in need from the angel tree. There are so many different things you can do that will positively impact the lives of others, while being a wonderful tribute to your child.
6. Memorial Candle
Lighting a candle for your child can be an easy, but meaningful tribute. Since our daughter’s name was Jasmine, I bought a Jasmine scented candle that had her name on it. There are many shops on Etsy that will customize your candle with your baby’s picture, name, or date of birth. Every time I walk by her special candle, I stop and smell it and it reminds me of her.
I hope this has given you some ideas on how you can celebrate your missing child this holiday season. If you have any special traditions or things you bought for your child, I would love to hear about it in the comments below.
Interested in more gift guides? See Best Gifts for the Traveler In Your Life.