For those who read my blog post “My glass if half-full” you know that a) I love Christmas and b) that I always try to look on the bright side of things. So when it came to 1st December, I had to have the tree up. Only it wasn’t quite as fa la la la laa as I would have liked it to be in all honesty. We’ve bought our tree from the same place the past two years, but when we got there last weekend I couldn’t get my head in the game and I didn’t like any of their trees. I just felt a bit sad really and then disheartened when I couldn’t see any I liked (and no I couldn’t just pick any old one the big ones are upwards of £70 each and the small ones £40!) and like everything I had wrote on Monday about being an optimist was a big fat lie.
In all honesty I probably didn’t help myself by putting so much pressure on myself to enjoy the occasion, when the reality is that we should have been doing it when I was 37 weeks pregnant. Enough said. Anyway, Jamie drove us to Homebase because I’d seen an advert on the tele that they were selling real trees for £12 and if I didn’t really like those ones, well, £12 is better than £70. In the end we picked up a really bushy 6ft Nordman fir, a 2.5ft Norway spruce, a fancy new tree stand and a tin of chalk paint for less than £65. That cheered me up a bit.
I still didn’t decorate them on the Saturday evening though. I didn’t even water the bloody things, I completely forgot. Even on Sunday morning I just looked at the big tree like it was an uninspiring chore, rather than the usual fun. It wasn’t until Sunday afternoon that I pulled myself together and got started. I put some Christmas music on, let Arthur steal some baubles and took some photos of Maggie all dressed up in fairy lights and in the end I spent a lovely afternoon turning the house into a (sort of) winter wonderland. Don’t get me wrong, there were tears at various points of the day, but it was also very comforting watching the house turn all twinkly, warm and cosy.
Anyway enough waffling here are some photos.
The tree above is our main tree in the living room. I do enjoy seeing all the warm whites of the White Company themed trees on Instagram, but for me it’s all about the traditional reds and golds. And when it comes to baubles more is always, always more. Whilst I like having a colour theme I do like having baubles which aren’t part of a set, so there is more variety. I also like to balance baubles, little birds, cinnamon sticks, ribbons etc. on top of the branches too, so that there aren’t any bare branches. This year I’ve also added some small bunches of rosehips in the mix. Actually looking at this tree now I think I could cram a FEW quite a lot more baubles on there. I’m not sure if anyone else has an order of how they like to hang their decorations, but I do and I always start with favourites, then work larger to smaller and then I balance the other bits on. I like to hang my favourites first so that they get the best positions on the tree. It’s got to be perfect! I’ve got a few new additions this year, but my absolute favourites have to be these two Beatrice baubles from my lovely sisters.
Both are such beautiful designs and completely different from each other. These two have definitely been given pride of place on the tree, one at the top, one right in the centre. It’s a strange thing losing a child, as whilst you know they won’t physically be involved in special events such as Christmas, you do still want to try and include them as much as possible. For me I’ve found it’s all about balance. I don’t want a specific, dedicated space in the house where we keep all her stuff, but neither do I want our house to become a shrine. It’s difficult to describe, but what we’ve found works is keeping a little something in each room, so that no one room feels empty or emotionally charged. I’ve done the same with decorating the house for Christmas, these baubles are on our main tree, because that’s the big event, but I’ve also included other sentimental baubles on the smaller tree in the kitchen.
This little tree is mainly decorated with sentimental baubles (with a few new shiny glass ones thrown in), some which have been gifted to us, some which I’ve made from clay with our family’s initials on. I’ve kept this one very simple, it just looks better this way and also I don’t trust the dogs when they’re unattended! It does have a little of that popular White Company feel to it too doesn’t it?
The rest of the house really just has little bits here, there and everywhere, including the dodgy orange slices I’ve dried. A few more photos below;
I hadn’t really planned on decorating the front bedroom – which would have been the nursery, not as a matter of avoidance, but more that I haven’t decorated it before so why would I now. But then I found it was stranger to not decorate it or to only use the leftover decorations, than to decorate it properly. And so it was decorated and I must say it looks lovely. I did try and keep a pink and red theme in there so it was more girly and it got a double dose of fairy lights. I actually think it’s now the best decorated room in the house, especially on an evening as it’s so cosy.
I received big compliments from Jamie too, he loves all the cosy, shiny additions to the house this year!
I have no idea what Christmas will be like for us this year. Not only is this our first Christmas since Beatrice has died, but because she was also due on the 21st December it really feels like we’re facing a double-edged sword. This should have been a double celebration for us, with our family, in our home, with our baby. A Christmas full of life and laughter, not sadness. The thing with life though is that it never stops, so whilst it feels to us like our world has stopped, time is still moving and Christmas will still come round whether we are ready for it or not. At the moment I’m just trying to fully embrace those feelings of happiness and festive joy by keeping busy and doing things I like. This way when the sadness and grief inevitably do come, I can embrace them rather than avoiding them and I won’t have wasted precious time and energy worrying about it.
So for now, you’ll find me quietly preparing for our first Christmas without Beatrice. What I would like to do though is make a few more clay decorations in memory of other babies not spending Christmas with their families.
If anyone would like a bauble made in memory of their baby all you have to do is:
- Make a small charitable donation direct to http://www.tinysouls.org,
- Contact me either via the “contact” page of this website, or via my Instagram page with your baby’s name, and I’ll get back in touch with you to confirm I’ve received your request.
Minimum recommended donations are £2.50 per decoration, but more generous donations would no doubt be welcomed by Tiny Souls!
Tiny Souls are an amazing bereavement photography charity who are on call every minute of every day of every year and work to ensure that families in Essex have beautiful photographs of their precious little ones to always remember them by. Have a look at their website and facebook page to see some of the amazing work they do.