If your child of any age has died, there is no question that Christmas is a difficult holiday. There are so many reasons why you might not want to participate in the festivities this holiday season. An individual’s reason for choosing whether to celebrate changes from seasons to season and even from moment to moment.
But, there is also a chance that you want to do a little celebrating. If you do feel like participating, you might be looking for ways to include your child. Because even though they are not here with you, their presence is felt. Here are 19 ways that grieving parents can acknowledge and remember their child this Christmas.
1. Get a photo with Santa holding their picture or a keepsake stuffed animal.
2. Decorate or buy a special ornament for your own Christmas tree.
3. Put together an advent calendar with multiple activities to do in their memory this season. (Search #adventtoremember for inspiration.)
4. Participate in an ornament swap with other grieving families.
5. Ask family and friends to write Christmas cards for your child.
7. Perform random acts of kindness in your child’s name.
8. Dress up a keepsake stuffed animal for the holidays.
9. Adopt a child in need and donate gifts in your own child’s memory.
10. Sign their name on your family’s Christmas card.
11. Light a candle for them.
12. Make a donation to a charity.
13. Wrap your Christmas presents in a color or pattern that reminds you of your child.
14. Decorate their urn or grave for the holiday.
16. Include them in your holiday photos by holding their picture or wearing a color that reminds you of them.
17. Find a local organization or business that has an angel tree and hang an ornament for your child.
18. Create a new tradition that you think your child would have loved.
19. Do none of these things and know that it’s perfectly okay.
It’s okay to feel like celebrating one day and to feel like hiding from it all on the next. You can change your mind about this season and how you participate at any time. None of the items on this list prove how much you love your baby. They are just ideas for when and if you’re feeling ready for Christmas. You can do everything on this list or nothing and it won’t change how much you love or miss your baby.
Because when you’re grieving, there are no rules for the holiday season. The best thing any grieving parent can do is take care of their heart. When you do that you’re taking care of the one who lives there–your beautiful child.