Loss parents crave connection with their children who died, and we don’t forget about them during the holidays. We miss our children that left earth too soon even more. We asked our community how they include their children that are no longer with us in their holiday celebrations.
Here are 12 ways loss parents honor their children during the holidays:
1. Lots of bereaved parents donate to a child in need of gifts this holiday season as a way to honor their child. Often times they chose a child similar in gender and age of their child that died.
2. Some parents buy gifts they thought their child they are missing might like if they were here and put them under the tree for their siblings to enjoy. One loss mom said, “We put presents in her stocking for our oldest daughter as a gift from our babies to her and our oldest daughter loved it.”
3. Most bereaved parents have a holiday memento that reminds them of their baby gone too soon. Lots of these include hanging a stocking for them with their name on it. Some loss moms said they fill these stockings with letters from family members about how much the child is missed or flowers each year on Christmas morning.
4. Other loss parents ask their friends on social media to send them a holiday car to their child who died. One mom who did this said, “our child gets holiday cards from around the world from people who we’ve never met sending letters to our baby.”
5. My family feeds the birds and decorates a tree outside with fruit and popcorn for the wildlife to eat as birds remind us of our daughter who died.
6. My mother and other loss parents mentioned this too, have a special tree dedicated just to the child that passed away. While others have special ornaments they buy each year for their special tree or their family tree that remember that someone special is missing.
7. Visiting your child’s gravesite or taking quiet time to be with their urn or in nature is what other families incorporate in their holiday traditions. One mom said, “We visit the cemetery on Christmas afternoon every year.”
8. Lots of loss families said they do random acts of kindness and ask family and friends to participate. One way of doing this is joining the #AdventToRemember event on Facebook and Instagram with other loss parents to find ways to remember your baby you are missing. One PALS moms said, “We take our random acts of kindness and write them down and make a chain for the tree.” Love this!
9. Some bereaved parents mentioned including their child who died in their holiday card to others.
10. Others take holiday family pictures each year in matching PJ’s or ugly holiday sweaters and include an object that stands in for their child that is no longer there.
11. We are lucky as our extended family adopts a family in need for Christmas and covers the whole family’s gifts and food in honor of our baby who passed away.
12. We light a candle for our daughter on the holidays as we celebrate. Others mentioned putting a place card at the table or putting out a picture during celebrations.