Thursday, November 13, 2008

Holiday Thoughts

I know it is not even mid November yet, but I am ready to start decking my halls. I love Christmas. Most other mothers I know who are facing their first Christmas without their child are dreading the coming season. I don't know why I don't feel that. But, I don't. I am sure there will be some tender moments in the midst of the festivities but to me Christmas is just such a joyful time.

I have been thinking about how to incorporate remembering Camille into our Christmas celebrations. I am excited about my ideas so far. I think they will really add to the Christmas Spirit in our home and be true gifts to Camille and reminders of her.

I would like to invite any of you who would like to join us in these new traditions. Your help will make them so much richer in so many ways. 

First, I am going to hang Camille's stocking with all our others. Next to it I am going to have a pad of paper. I already bought a pad of heart shaped paper for this. As a family we are going to fill Camille's stocking with acts of love and service. We are each going to look for out of the normal opportunities to show love and serve others. When we see one, we will do the service or show the love in honor of Camille. Then we will come to get a piece of paper and write what we did down and put it in Camille's stocking. 

The acts may be simple. Maybe I will snuggle my kids extra long before bed one night. Maybe my kids will obey the first time they are asked to do something. Just as long as they did it with Camille in mind it will count as a gift to her. I hope we can also find some more challenging service opportunities as well. Maybe a bake sale to raise money for a charity or something. 

Then Christmas morning we will take out all the papers and read them. It will be our way of helping Camille open her presents. I think it will really bring in the Spirit of Christmas because any gift of love or service is also a gift worthy for the Christ child. If you want to do the same and send any of your acts of love and service papers to me, I will add them to Camille's stocking as well. They will be fun to read Christmas morning.

The second tradition I want to modify is our tree decorating. Every year I have a mini Christmas tree for each child. You know those little ones that are about 2 feet high. We put lights on them and a star or angel on top. Then I have an advent calendar that has a door to open for each day. I put the ornaments behind the doors and day by day the kids get to decorate their own Christmas trees.

At first I thought I would not do one for Camille. But I have changed my mind. One of my fellow angel moms had a great idea that I thought I would use. I am going to put Camille's tree up and decorate it as an angel tree. Every decoration on it will be angel related. Here is the part where I hope my friends will help out. I would love to have every decoration on this tree be a gift. Somehow I think they will have so much more meaning coming to me as gifts than me just going to the store to buy them. 

So, if you would like to either send and angel ornament (they do need to be small for a mini tree) or if you would like to join in doing and recording acts of service and love as gifts for Camille, please email me and I will send you my mailing address.  My email is on my profile page or it is stephaniewaite@gmail.com.

I am going to get my decorating going this weekend. I know it is early, but why not spend the extra two weeks in holiday cheer?

30 comments:

Shanan said...

What fabulous ideas, Steph!

The Holland Family said...

We too hang Mia's stocking and have an angel tree for her. We put her picture at the base of it to remind us of her smile. I like your service idea to fill her stocking. I might attempt to try that. I would still love to check out the angel blog if the offer still stands. My email is coleybug@rocketmail.com. Thanks! Your spirit is strong. Thanks for sharing.- Nicole in Kanab

my stay-at-home-momma drama said...

I got tears in my eyes as I read your blog today. What a great idea to fill Camille's stocking with acts of service! It is such a meaningful way to honor her and keep her memory alive for your girls. I'll be sending an ornament your way this year too! Reading your blog is such an inspiration for me.

Caragirl said...

I love your ideas for service and the angel tree!
When my niece passed away, the first Christmas after, my brother and Sister-in-law started a tradition to make little fleece blankets for the babies at the hospital (St. Rose). Every year since then (this will be the 5th) they have made "Lilly's Love" a great opportunity to serve the babies there.

Wrights said...

I don't know how I came across your blog, but have been following it for a couple of months now. I love your idea of hanging a stocking and putting in it acts of service and love. I have two young girls and it's so hard to focus on the meaning of Christmas with so much going on around us. I'm going to incorporate it as one of our Christmas traditions. Thanks!

Annalee Kelly said...

this is a very inspiring idea-- I think we will implement the stocking tradition but with the Savior's name on it. This will help the kids stay focused on the most important aspect of the holidays. Thanks to Camille for all the inspiration that bless our lives as the ripple effect continues to spread!

Katie Webb said...

Your ideas are beautiful! There is nothing wrong with starting early, in fact, this world would be a better place if we celebrated Christ all year long. Thank you for sharing your wonderful ideas. I think Christmas at your house is going to be amazing for your family!

Noorda Notebook said...

yay i love your ideas for your new traditions. and i agree with you that this year it seems christmas has come earlier! maybe it's because the weather has not cooled down even slightly until so recently here in lv.

we'd love to be part of your traditions - you can count on our family to add a special ornament to camille's tree. i can't wait to see it with all the gift ornaments on it. it will be so special and meaningful.

love you!

Davis family said...

beautiful ideas. thanks for sharing them with us. You are a wonderful example.

Camille said...

those both sound like great ideas and traditions to start. i too love the holiday season and am so excited it is upon us. i plan on starting my decorating tomorrow, who cares that it's so early we will get to enjoy it longer ;)

Carolyn said...

Oh Stephanie, I have been very excited to do our acts of service for Camille and send our hearts your way! I think it will be wonderful for Eden to experience that. We have a special fhe planned to introduce it. But I am THRILLED to give you an angel for Camille's tree! I have a perfect one that my mom brought back to me this summer when they had their short visit from the Philippines. I fell in love with it - it's sentimental to my heart. I have been looking forward to putting it on my tree this Christmas but now I can not wait to send it your way for Camille's tree!!! That will be wonderful! I could have told you all that in a letter with the angel but I couldn't wait! So be watching for the post man! Love you guys.

Darleen said...

Stephanie we are going to do the acts of love in memory of Camille this Christmas. I'll be on the look out for little angels or maybe we'll make one. How are you feeling??

Kim C said...

I am also a random blog reader of yours. (Okay, some might call it blog stalking.) Anyway, thank you for sharing your honest and sweet thoughts. I am able to relate so much of what you say to my own life, although I have not lost a child. I have decided that my Christmas decor will begin asap as well! I love both Holiday celebration ideas, and am so thrilled to focus more on service as a gift to Camille. Happy Holidays!!!

The Esplin Boys and Kassie said...

I think that those are beautiful ideas. I'll participate in my home, as well as send you some...one from each one of my family members.

Heidi said...

I agree, what incredible ideas!

Tiffany said...

What great ideas! Just another idea to throw out there... a family in my ward lost their 6 year old son about 7 years ago, and every year they let the kids help save money throughout the year for them to do some special Toys For Tots (or something similar), but they specifically choose a child that is the same gender and age as their son would have been that christmas. Their other kids talk about it being such a special experience.

You're wonderful! I've checked your blog almost everyday since shortly after the accident. What lucky girls to get to have you as a mom.

Anonymous said...

Stephanie -

Our family would LOVE to participate in Camille's Christmas stocking. Please let me know where to send our hearts.

Lynda
lrobinson2028@msn.com

TMI said...

That stocking idea is soooo fabulous, I'm going to do that too for my special needs daughter who really does not care about toys or presents.... well, except for the tissue paper - she loves that!

I'd love to send an angel for Camille's tree. I'll email you for the address.

What beautiful traditions! I am so excited for you to start your Christmas celebrating earlier. It's never to soon to immerse yourself in celebrating the life of Christ.

*tif* said...

Thank you so much for these ideas. I am always wishing we had some fun traditions but thinking of them is difficult for me. These are really easy and wonderful ideas! I'm going to have to go look for my own fun pad of paper!

www.adorn-jewelry.blogspot.com said...

I love your ideas steph! I am so glad that you are not dreading the holidays without camille. what a great blessing...a tender mercy. I am also glad you are feeling better! It is much more fun to be pregnant when you don't feel like crap constantly. I love you! you are amazing.

LaRae said...

I love your ideas Steph - what wonderful ways to feel the spirit of the season, the spirit of your daughter, and the spirit of our Savior!

Jami said...

You have the best and most inspiring ideas! I put my Christmas stuff up over a week ago and i have LOVED it! It brings such a wonderful spirit into our home! My daughter has been pushing me to find a manger so we can start filling it with straw for our acts of service, but I just might do this stocking idea instead. You're wonderful, Stephanie. I've actually never commented before. Are you ever surprised that first timers are still coming out of the wood work? You are an incredible person!

www.adorn-jewelry.blogspot.com said...

steph,
you are going to get so many ornaments I think you should think about getting a larger tree for camille.

The Heizzys said...

Stephanie,

I would love to add to Camille's tree. I love following your blog and your insights are inspiring. I was also thinking you could have everyone write small on the ornament they sent their family name or something so you know the many people you recieved ornaments from. Just an idea! Good luck! Oh and where should I send the ornament?

Lara H. - N. Las Vegas

Mary said...

This is wonderful and inspirational. I don't even know you personally but there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of you. How you've made me appreciate my 3 little ones is such a gift. My kids will be sending you an ornament for Camille's tree.

Sue said...

Now those are inspired ideas, Stephanie. "Knowing" you, I'm not surprised. Thanks for sharing them.

It occurs to me that for those who have not experienced the loss of a family member, a stocking could be put up for the Savior, with service gifts given in His honor. That is what I'm going to suggest to my daughter-in-law. Thanks again.

ninibeans said...

Hi Stephanie,

I've been reading your blog since the summer, not sure how I came across it, but I sure am glad I found you. Your strenghth and spirt are inspiring. I've never commented before, I guess I have never had the right words, but you and your family are always in my prayers.

After reading this post I decided that I would be doing good deeds for Camille (I try to always do the right thing, but to do it FOR Camille makes it feel different) and I loved your idea of the angel tree. Since I don't really "know" you I thought sending an angel might not be "blogger appropriate". Not sure if that makes sense, but that is how I felt untill this morning.

Today I walked into my favorite Christmas store for the last time(they are going out of business and closing tomorrow) and the first thing I saw was an angel tree, a tree for Camille. It was covered in angels, but there was one special one I knew had to be for Camille. It is a precious sleeping baby cradled between two angel wings. As I picked it up I saw it said "Baby's First Christmas" and thought this isn't her first Christmas but it is her first Angel Christmas...so I bought it.

I would LOVE to send it to you and hope that it isn't too big (or too heavy) for her tree. My email is ninibeans80@hotmail.com, you can email me the address I can send it to. If you don't feel confortable giving a starnger your address, I understand and we will hang it on our tree in Camille's honor. In her short time here on earth she has touched so many people and changed many lives. Because of her I love more, live more and cherish the small things. Thank you Camille!!!! And thank you Stephanie for sharing your story and life:)

Susy said...

HI:
I don't know you but I follow your blog because you seem to remind that life is full no matter what happens in it! I'm thankful for this. I would love to send an angel that has special meaning to my family! A tradition is meant to be passed on . Thank you!
susybalaz@gmail.com

Jennie said...

I loved this post. I was thinking before I even finished it, that hundreds of people, myself included have already done service in Camille's name. It may be small, but I hug my kids more, play more, read to them more, and am more patient than before I knew about Camille. You and she have inspired me, and I think the gifts of service is a wonderful idea.

Melanie said...

Can I please send you an angel for your tree. I am a cousin to Tiffany and Coby Rich. I realized about two years ago I don't like Christmas. Something about being raised by an alcoholic Grinch and an wonderful, but over idealistic mother. I am pretty much trying anthing to change my heart to feel the 'joy of the season' It's not that I don't get it, I just think of Christmas and I want to sit down and cry and cry. Pathetic I know. I don't blame my parents, I've got to fix this, I'm just not sure how. If you're ok with it my email address is m_bingham@msn.com and you can give me an address to mail to. Thank you!