(Topic: Christmas/holidays, family, incorporating a deceased loved one in the celebrations)
This year we traveled to family for the holidays. I had hoped to get this post done for Wednesday the 26th, right after Christmas, but with travel and getting the photos in the right places and ready, I got a bit behind where I’d hoped to be. Oh well!
This post will be mostly pictures of how we decorated, a few family pictures, and some explanations of how we included Charlie in our celebrations.
I won the opportunity to have this lovely wreath made as a graphic for me – it helps include Charlie in what we do. If you follow me on Facebook, you’ll have seen that this is my current profile picture. Because no matter what, we can’t forget him, and we want to remember him always.
Simultaneous to winning the prior wreath, another group was also doing images. This one isn’t as holiday specific; this is useful for me beyond the Christmas season. I love this one too.
While decorating for Advent (the preparatory season before Christmas), I was also packing to get ready for the trip to go see relatives over the holiday. Papa, Mama, and Baby (Pookie) Bear’s suitcases!!!
few of our friends specifically mentioned Charlie in their holiday greetings to us, and 2 even included gifts for him! They were ornaments for his tree, which I’ll explain in a minute.
So sweet!!! We never forget him, but it’s super reassuring to know that other people haven’t forgotten him either. This was another ornament, and another family gave me a necklace with three small pendants: a C, an angel wing, and a pearl.
This is Charlie’s tree (Pookie’s too). The actual tree even has a history! It is a little tree that my hubby and his brother would decorate in their own room with their own ornaments. Each ornament on the tree this year has been gotten or made in Charlie’s memory (or in the case of the two bears, bought for Pookie!)
This was as far as the decorations got before we left for our travels. Stockings were up by December 6th (St. Nicholas Day). We include both Charlie and Pookie. I also had put up Charlie’s tree. Every other decoration had to wait till we got back!
On our way out of town, we stopped to visit Charlie in person, and give him a “grave pillow” greenery. We tried this last year, and I liked the effect of the garden not being empty or dead for the first part of the winter.
We spent 4th Advent, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day with relatives: Charlie’s Grandmother and Grandfather and Uncle, on Daddy’s side. Pookie loves the warm fire! He’s wearing his adventure hat because this is actually the night we arrived, so he’s still in his travel clothes.
Christmas Eve family portrait, at one of the churches we attended. Photo credit to our friend Jenny.
I’m not a big fan of the santa tradition, but Pookie knew there were gifts coming, so he asked to wear his suit on Christmas Day! This is him, waiting by the warm fire for gift time to come. His new stompy boots work perfectly with this outfit!
One of the ways we include Pookie is to give him a little gift of his own. In some ways we picture Pookie like a toddler, so it is similar gifts to what Charlie might have gotten – except that we specifically pick out books about a piglet named Pookie! Hubby and I love reading aloud to Pookie (and each other). It’s a way to have a little bit of what we might have been doing with Charlie.
Uh oh, he got into the paper!
Pookie in front of the Christmas tree at the grandparents’ house.
Family photo 🙂 credit to Uncle Andrew
Another family photo. Credit again to Uncle Andrew.
This candle was lit for all of the deceased family members – including Charlie. It was wonderful and lovely to have a tangible representation in that house.
Once we got home, I was able to put up our own decorations! Because the Charlie tree already had a lot of meaningful ornaments on it, and we’d already had a lot of Christmas, I chose to make our tree simple: lots of bells, a few glass balls, some “icicle” ornaments, and beads and lights.
A few other decorations I put out.
The creche (nativity scene) was already up, but I added baby Jesus, moved the shepherd close, and put out the wise men! The wise men and their camel will get to the creche on January 6th, Epiphany (the festival of the three kings).
This year’s picture with Santa. Pookie is snuggling like the pro he is!
Our finished house. The main ways we included Charlie in this scene are his tree in the corner, his stocking, and as always, his picture on the mantle and some memorabilia of his on top of the bookshelf on the right – though these are not Christmasy except that that is where I keep the picture with Santa, updated to the current year!
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