Angelicscalliwags Christmas Traditions # 3: A Christmas Decoration


T11 was born just 9 months and three weeks before his twin sisters.  After a very dangerous time giving birth to L naturally and C by emergency caesarean, amounting to no blood pressure or pulse at times for me and four blood transfusions, I discharged myself just two days later to be at home with three babies under the age of one.  In retrospect I was not well enough to be at home, but at the time all I could think of was being reunited with my little baby son.  T, at 9 months, was far too young to understand why his mummy, who he had been with 24 hours a day, was now no longer at home.  It probably affected me more than him, but the yearning to be with him was far stronger than the sense to stay in hospital and recover, so after checking the twins were given the all clear to go home, I left the hospital having signed my own discharge.

I coped, but barely.  I was anaemic and had a nasty uterine infection.  It was a matter of getting through each hour, rather than each day.  Gary was working two jobs as a deputy head green keeper and also as an assessor.  We were both exhausted!  My wonderful mum came every morning to help me bring my babies downstairs, as I had no means to leave T safely in the living room as I fetched the twins from upstairs.  My dad popped by each day to take all three babies out for a walk in our three seater pushchair, so I could spend time resting.  Friends rallied round and cooked for us in those early days at home.

Nik, my closest friend, pulled out all stops for our new little family.  She picked up early on that I was simply not myself and she came round everyday after work (she taught at a local school).  Every day.  She walked in the door, threw off her coat, rolled up her sleeves and helped me feed them, bath them and did anything else I needed help with.  I don’t think she will ever know how much that help meant to me, how important it was at a time when I felt the walls closing in.

That Christmas, when T was almost 1 and the girls just two months old, Nik brought round their Christmas present.  It was three Christmas angels.  One had ginger hair just like T.  These three angels served as a reminder of how God had been watching over both me and C11.  How, medically we both should have died (we’re not sure how long C went without oxygen, but the doctors could not believe she had lived and thrived the instant she was born), and yet He performed a miracle that day.  Each time I put these angels on my Christmas tree, I am reminded once again about the fragility of life and the sheer power of a God I adore:

The older ones weren't even 1 yet
The older ones weren’t even 1 yet

Every year since then, we have bought a Christmas tree decoration for each of the children.  None have been as special as those first angels, but all have had much thought and love put into them.  The aim was for the children to take them to their own homes and to hang them on their own tree.  To remember each wonderful Christmas we were blessed with together.

Each year the decorations are different, and reflect the stage we are going through in our life at that time.

During the busy years when the three older ones were babies we bought them their decorations:

The older ones were age 1 and 2
The children were age 1 (hearts) and 2 (angels)

During our years in Ireland, when things were a little less overwhelming and busy, but money was short, I made their decorations from last year’s pyjamas and some ribbon I had:

The red ones to the left were the pyjama year, when the children were 3, blue 4, red 5 and brown was when A5 had joined us and they older ones were 6
The red ones to the left were the pyjama year, when the children were 3, blue checked they were 4, red checked they were 5 and brown checked was when A5 had joined us and the older ones were 6

One year we made our own from apple sauce and cinnamon (something we have done each year since):

This year they were 7 and A5 was 1
This year they were 7 and A5 was 1

The year I was pregnant with B2, we bought some beautiful carved decorations, depicting the Christmas story:

The older ones were 8 and A5 was 2
The older ones were 8 and A5 was 2

And the last two years we allowed the children to choose their own (we chose B’s!):

Older ones age 9, A5 age 3 and B2 was 1
Older ones age 9, A5 age 3 and B2 wasn’t even 1
And this was last years choice.
And this was last year’s choice.

This year, again, will be different.  At the charity Christmas fair I bought some hand made bags for 10p each.  Gary and I have been discussing a verse of scripture we want to give the children as our prayer for them for the coming year.  This I hand wrote onto a piece of paper and rolled up into a scroll and tied with a scrap of material.  I also bought five heart shaped Thornton’s Chocolates, one for each child, wrapped in a gorgeous rosy coloured foil.  These have been packaged up and will be given to them this Saturday, our official decorating day:

Before assembling
Before assembling
And ready to hang on the Christmas tree on Saturday
And ready to hang on the Christmas tree on Saturday

It is a simple, inexpensive tradition, started by someone special who was a true friend to me in every sense of the word.  For when I was at my weakest and most ugly, she loved me all the more.

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  1. I love Christmas decorations, I really like your ideas for this years. I’ve been aiming to buy NIbsy one special decoration each year, friends and family have also wanted too so he’s already got a big selection. You have me itching to write about our Christmas traditions now!

  2. What a wonderful gift to have such supportive friends and family to help! We give the girls an ornament every year as well – some years my sister has also given them ornaments, and over the past few years, they get an ornament that represents the country we explored, and one they will just love (as I write this I think we have gone a little overboard!). The girls each have a tree in their bedrooms and they are already have enough ornaments to fill them. I remember my first few Christmas’ when I left home and Christmas ornaments were nuts glue gunned with string 🙂 Their first on their own trees will look a little different… I have rambled on, but I also want to say your scripture ornaments are beautiful and I wish I had thought of making ornaments from pyjamas – what great keepsakes!

  3. Claire, I sit here with tears in my eyes. What a lovely and touching story. I am so glad that God brought a special friend to help you in your time of need. He knows our every need and care. I love the ornaments and the love you put into each one is so special.
    We, too, have bought ornaments for our children and they will be presented as first Christmas presents when they have their own homes.
    I would love to know how you make your applesauce and cinnamon ornaments, if you would be willing to share.
    Thank you for getting my day off to a wonderful start.
    Blessings, my friend.

  4. You are a born storyteller, Claire. I love this story of how your Christmas decoration tradition began. Your children are so blessed being brought up with so many wonderful traditions.

  5. What a beautiful memory and an amazing story of the love of family and friends. I have gotten my kids Christmas decorations every year since they were born, but it’s done in secret. I plan to give them to each of the kids as a wedding gift. I did miss last year because we were on vacation during the time I usually shop for their ornaments and I just never got out to get them. On the one hand, I feel guilty for that, but on the other hand, it’s a story in itself.

  6. My mom used to get us an ornament every year. I still have the one that is 48 years old — a small pink ball. I try to buy my kids once each year but it doesn’t always happen.

  7. We have this same tradition! This year I am stumped on ideas though… luckily it’s a gift they get on Christmas morning so I still have plenty of time!

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