My sister makes stockings for everyone in the family. It’s been her little tradition for years now. So, every time a new baby is born, that baby gets a stocking. Heck, every time a new dog is brought into the family, he/she gets a stocking as well!
Life for my sister has gotten busy. She has 3 children of her own ranging from 4-9 in age at the moment.
We were down a few stockings, so I put out my feelers and requests, but I was fully ready to make these stockings on my own.
William, our rainbow baby, was born last year a couple of weeks before Christmas. April would now be 2 and this would be her third Christmas had she lived. And, we also have a new dog. We didn’t yet have stockings for any of them.
She sent us the stockings for William and April a few days ago. They were perfect.
She always asks a few questions about favorite colors, etc. For April she asked if there was anything specific we associate with her or think of.
Sunflowers. We were gifted a blanket with a sunflower on it when I was pregnant with April. We brought it to the hospital and I had it draped over me as I held her in my arms.
Butterflies. We’re not big on angels. I talk about angel babies because it’s something that everyone understands. In the hospital, we were gifted a few baby items as keepsakes. Many of them had butterflies on them, and it was perfect.
I’ve since gotten a tattoo and incorporated a butterfly in it with April’s “wings.”
Anyways, she put both the sunflower and the butterfly onto April’s stocking. The stocking is perfect in so many ways.
I hung it up and then thought, “Ok. We have her stocking. She’s going to be a part of our traditions as I’d imagined. It’s perfect. Now, what do I put in it?”
What to Put in Your Angel Baby’s Stocking
I talk about some traditions we want to incorporate each year in this post called “Ways to Remember Your Baby During the Holidays.” One of the big things we wanted to do was donate a toy in her honor. Our idea was to take a gift that we’d be giving her that year (at what her age would have been), and gift that toy to someone in need.
When it came to her stocking, I knew I wanted to have this part be more focused on our family. I asked Caroline, her older sister (now 5), what she wanted to put in the stocking and she made it clear she wanted a couple of items to keep, look at and hold onto.
Here are the ideas that we came up with for things to put in.
Everyone in our immediate family would sit down and write or draw something that felt right. It might be a sentence capturing our feelings in the moment, or perhaps a letter to April. It could be a drawing, or anything we felt like writing down, however, we felt drawn to get those feelings across.
Each year we’d keep the notes in the stockings and read them all from past years, and add to them.
I envisioned writing down some memories and information on a card. It would say how hold she would have been, and some special things that happened during the year as a look back.
We love to have little things that remind us of April throughout our house. Some are as obvious as photos, and others are more subtle in nature- a canvas photo of our beach trip after April died (a healing family moment), a willow tree figure, a sun-catcher etc.
This year I bought another willow tree figure, as I found one that had sunflowers! It was lovely.
Here are some of the things I found and kept on a list for the future (click on the link below to view them on Amazon):
Willow Tree Angel with a butterfly in her hands. This item is stunning. It captures perfectly the beauty and the sadness of letting our baby go.
Willow Tree Angel with sunflowers in her hands. This is the one I got this year.
Willow Tree Angel with baby in her arms. This is the one we were gifted when April was born. I just love these little figures. They are so beautiful and capture so much emotion.
Sunflower Wind Chimes. I can think of nothing more lovely than being outside and hearing the sound of wind chimes to remind me of April Rey.
Sunflower hook. This item could be placed anywhere. It could be a towel hook, a purse hook, etc. Inside, outside, whatever makes sense. I love subtle items like this that remind me of her in little ways throughout the house.
I wanted to get an item that would be helpful to our family in our grief journey. My ideas so far were to get a daily inspirational calendar that we could read with our daughter and talk about each quote/message, or perhaps a book.
Grief Day by Day. This book is on my list for the future. It looked interested to me and I thought it could be something helpful to our family throughout the year.
Daily inspirational calendar. I loved the idea of this. The calendar that I found on amazon just wasn’t right. I tried to find something that would work well for our 5 year old as well. Amazon wasn’t the place to look for this, as I didn’t find anything that was just right. I think this is one of those gifts that needs to be found elsewhere, but this is the idea I was going for.
We were gifted an ornament when April died. It’s got a little angel wing with her name on it on the inside of the ornament and is stuffed with white feathers. It’s something we’ll always cherish.
I realized this year, however, that we never got a traditional first Christmas ornament with her name, year, birth stats, etc. I felt compelled this year to add that to our collection.
Baby’s first Christmas ornament. I like it when April is treated like our other children. I want her to have the same type of first Christmas ornament that her siblings have. Something like this option on amazon.
Invitation to Others
This year things were all very last minute. Christmas came fast and we were scrambling to get this all together, so it was too late for this.
My idea, however, is to let close family know that we are doing the stocking, and invite them to write a small note to April to incorporate to the stocking if they’d like to each year.