Before we get any closer to the end of January (and therefore any further away from Christmas), I wanted to to share with you why I regret some things about Christmas that we did with the kids. I guess it’s something I see as a bit of a parenting fail and something I have been harbouring for the last few weeks.

My Christmas Regrets

My Christmas regrets really came to light on the bus back from our annual NYRM trip. Whilst I had been feeling something I wasn’t 100% sure what it was, and then as I chatted with me sister in law and brother in law about their approaches to gift buying for their kids, and how Christmas went, I began to be able to label and own it.

R E G R E T!

I was feeling regretful.

We of course had an amazing Christmas time filled with lovely things, opportunities to help others, lots of family and yummy food. But as I sat watching the kids on Christmas morning, my joy of giving them a lot of what they had asked for was tarnished with feelings of regret! It was a hard thing to admit, but yes – I had regret for how much stuff they had and how this in return created attitudes that made me cringe!

The key there was that I had given them what they had asked for. There was no element of surprise and mystery, it was a bunch of stuff they wanted and that wasn’t necessarily the best things, and this suddenly made them all about self and a sense of entitlement – Of course they got this and that over there, because they had asked for it.

I didn’t like it – not one bit.

I wanted them to be gracious and grateful for what they had, and I wondered what happened to the days kids got one surprise of a well made gift they cherished for years to come? How far we have come from that and how off this Christmas felt. The gifts I went nuts over buying for them, felt so annoying for how they had made my children be.

Even after all the suffering they had seen in the homeless and refugees, all they had had a hand in doing in aiding others during December. It seemed to mean nothing and I was absolutely gobsmacked that it was all “me me me”! Excitement was there yes and that was lovely, but there was no thought for any one but themselves and a “Oh yeah, of course I go this and that!” type of smug attitude.

The gratitude and thoughtfulness was overshadowed by beastly children in the attitude of self and that was a lot to do with me buying almost all of what they wanted!

In comparison to others, they didn’t particular have loads, and what we spent wasn’t particularly excessive either, but somewhere along the way we had lost what we wanted for kids at Christmas time. I looked on that scene, and their behaviour following, and suddenly felt I had lost vision of what Christmas is, and especially what we wanted it to be in our family!

Christmas isn’t about them 

In our home/Family it isn’t about them – not really. I am not a tight skinflint parent, and I do not feel that this attitude is harsh. But I do not want them getting so much stuff just because it’s Christmas and then expecting that every year. I don’t want to hear “Me, Me, Me” leading up to the day and them talking all about themselves and what they are getting.

Christmas is not about them, and nor is it about any of us and what we are getting or wanting. It is about giving – giving gifts to loved ones, giving of our time, our means and our excess. It’s about giving our love to others in what ever way we are able just as Christ did when he came to the earth for us and helping to make the season brighter for those who suffer. It’s about celebrating what we have because of the Christmas story and singing praises about what that means and how wonderful and joyful it is.

It’s about playing our part to bring peace on earth and goodwill to all!

Its not about our kids and lists as longs as their arm because they saw it last week on an advert, it’s about others first and celebrating Christ! And because of that realisation early on in our parenting journey we quickly changed our “Want, Need, Wear, Read” approach to the kids gift giving, to just 3 gifts under the tree. Yes only 3 … to symbolise what Christ was given by the wise men and then a small one and stocking next to their bed from Father Christmas.

So yes we give gifts, and look forward to the magic of Santa coming, but we want them to realise that it is so much more than that!  And that is why this year I regret how it all panned out.

Next year there will be no lists 

And so because of that regret, next year there will be no lists. No expectations and no “I want, I want, I want”!

Our focus again will be about random acts of kindness for others, singing Christmas songs and being with family. We will have festive family outings and lots of treats and Christmas films whilst we snuggle, and they will have some lovely things under the tree to look forward to too, but none of them will be things they have asked for, gone on about and whined about! We will not be asking our children what they would like for Christmas and they understand that they will not ask, demand or expect either.

They won’t be writing lists, which take up their time thinking of themselves, and we will not be having weeks of talking about themselves and what they’re getting, or throwing tantrums and moods when you say “No, I don’t think so”!

Instead we will chose for them things we know they will like, and things that are appropriate and not too excessive. Things that are age appropriate and lasting. They will have just one good main gift and a couple of smaller things (not 3 big ones like this year), and these will continue to be in accordance to the budget we feel we can afford at the time and the symbolism of the 3 gifts Christ received. The stockings will remain with all the little bits, but the Santa gift will be toned down too to the one small thing (A little toy no doubt). We don’t want to take Father Christmas out of the equation because it is such a magical and brief part of childhood, but we don’t want our kids thinking he can just bring them whatever they want and ask for. I really don’t want another Christmas morning looking upon the faces of my kids and seeing that attitude. I want them to be grateful and appreciative of what is given, and far from an attitude of expectation at Christmas time.

Our kids want for nothing so I wonder why throw so much at them in the name of Christmas? This year, and in years to come they are going to have a great time and have lovely things and lovely surprises to look forward to, because we know our kids and we know what they love and what will be great. But we don’t need to ask and write lists of stuff because what will be good is often very different to what they think will make them happy!

I do not want Christmas regrets next year, but to get the balance of a magical Christmas and lovely gifts with gratitude and thoughts for others just right. We feel by making these changes that this way they can be, because that is what they will have received and they have a choice to whine about it or be grateful and love it.

Their Birthdays are about them – all the way. They can ask for anything then, but Christmas? No. That is about others and what we can give and how we can make the season better for those who suffer. Christmas is about moments, changing us and making us better people. It isn’t about stuff, but rather how we feel, the spirit of the season, and what actions that ignites with in us to make the world a better place.

Because of the love I have for each of them I want to nip any element of selfishness in the bud and I will not spoil them with all they ask for, but rather teach them gratitude, appreciation and the element of surprise and giving to others!




As I sat in church on Christmas eve (morning), singing back to back carol’s and hymns, my heart began to ache and I felt tears well up into my eyes! I had to stop, as I knew that if I sung one more word about Angels and such, that I would quite possibly lose it, and I wasn’t ready to do that!

I said in my December family update that I had been grateful for the busyness of the season and our involvement with “Light The World” because it had kept me distracted from my own pains and grief that naturally come from having one less child with us at Christmas time! I felt like this year I was very much on autopilot with our stuff, and kept busy with everything I had filled my days with, that I rarely let myself think of the “What if’s” and “Should be’s”, and really feel anything about the fact we had another Christmas with out her!

All of those things that dull the sparkle of Christmas because of the death of one of our kids, were pushed into the back of my mind and I was determined that this year would be different. But it wasn’t really, because then when my guard was down on Christmas eve, and in a moment when everything was bought and wrapped, and projects complete, my heart had time to feel it, and my mind time to reflect on what another Christmas without her (our little girl) really meant.

And it was hard. Really hard. All too much you could say!

I guess at the time it was a good strategy to keep preoccupied and caught up in giving to others. And I loved it. Every moment… I was all for giving of myself to others and the Joy that I knew would come from giving, and I know it did a lot of good. I felt so joyful, and it was lovely!

But then there were moments that my temper became frayed and things felt a bit too much. Days when I felt fragile and done in, and days I had to take a deep breath and really prepare myself to get through it! There were moments when my mind reflected on Poppy and that it was another Christmas with out her, and then moments when I felt annoyed at myself and Nathan that we hadn’t made time sooner to go decorate her grave, and I realised (whether consciously or not,  that I was merely doing a good job of pasting over the cracks and “getting on with it”!

This year we opted for some gold butterflies on her grave. I spent ages in the Christmas section of “The Range” that day, trying to find the perfect decoration, but all I felt was irritation that what I was buying for my third child this Christmas was some naff decoration to put in a cemetery to be weather worn! I felt anxiety that it had to be right, and nothing quite was!

And so Nathan’s mum bought me 2 hooks and we settled on some sparkly gold butterflies…. because technically they weren’t on the grave at all but gave a feeling of life above it! I tried to make an arrangement, but that too didn’t feel good enough, and It was in these moments that I realised that another Christmas without her was just as hard as the others. Just as unfair and sad!

We had hung her decorations on the tree, bought some little Angel wings to add to them, and decorated her grave, and with that it was all we could do. No Christmas stories snuggled in bed, no madness with her siblings, and no gifts with her name on… all small and little private moments in a desperation to include her in our Christmas, that just felt sad and somewhat unfair! We had gone through the motions and as I stood to leave her graveside I again wondered how the heck did we become the ones with a baby in there and not here!

When you have lost a child, Christmas leaves you feeling divided. In one moment you want to be excited, and we very much were, but then in others you feel incredibly sad and lost again, and it feels unfair they are not here making memories with you. You wonder as you watch your other kids in excitement – “What would Poppy have loved?”. And it is moments and thoughts like that, and moments where we sing of Angels and little babies on silent nights, that make me so annoyed. Annoyed that I don’t know her in that way, and annoyed my baby was born dead…and I never had any of what I wanted with my sweet little baby! I missed opportunities over and over again to celebrate Christmas, and see her enjoying the lights and festivities of the season! I missed her 1st, 2nd and now 3rd visit to see Santa, and missed knowing what she would most wish for under the tree on Christmas morning!

And yet even with all of that in my soul, we just carry on as normal as we can, because that’s all we know how to do. And also because I know that if I didn’t, I think I would break some days!

Christmas affected me quite a bit more than I thought it would when I was in the highs of the season (for there were still many). And then it also caught me again as we welcomed in a new year. It was that turning point (and it always is)… the moment where the memories you made, the things you bought to remember, or the feelings you felt, are all now gone and wrapped up in another year. Any progress you made is almost irrelevant because you move forward like everyone else and you find that you are another year away from them, and that in itself is a hard pill to swallow!

Yes another year closer to seeing them again, but another year away from when you last held them, saw them, and had them here. And I have always found New Years rather tough for that feeling!

With a new year comes new opportunities, and fresh starts but it also brings anxieties and fears where great loss is. The dread of another 12 months of anniversaries to navigate. Another year of family things without them here. Another year with new triggers and reminders, and more time passing and life moving on from when you last saw them.

And this year – A 4th birthday and talks of school next year that are all gone too.

On Christmas day I shed some tears in frustration that you were not here again. I gazed out of the window and wished with all my heart I could have felt you closer. I shared some moments of reflection with other family members about your brief life and how some days I have to remind myself because it feels like a bad dream and I am scared to forget. But mostly it was that all familiar feeling of a missing piece of our family when paper was ripped from gifts, and when the kids table was set. The familiar gap only we notice when we posed for family pictures.

Yes we survived and even celebrated with great joy another Christmas without you, and in some ways it was easier with the eagerness of your siblings. But in many other ways it was just as hard and heart wrenching to not see your smile, hear your voice, see your excitement, and have you here with us!


We have been shopping at Morrisons for years, and I have loved seeing it evolve with its market street stores, to toys and beautiful, affordable kids clothing. They not only have delicious fresh foods, and are a great place for the weekly (and Christmas) shop, but with tasty treats, lovely seasonal delights, entertainment and now even plush home-ware’s too, they are are basically a one-stop Christmas shop!

We were excited this last week to receive from them a gift box containing goodies for a cosy family night in; complete with cute festive itty bitty’s, treats, a gorgeous purple throw and a copy of the new “Beauty & the Beast”!

All available in their stores, it was so delightful to have some samples of what is purchasable this Christmas time from them. Their stuff is such lovely quality and would make wonderful and affordable gifts for teachers, friends, kids and family. With bigger gifts to stocking fillers, to even delicious things for food hampers Morrisons has really become the one-stop shop for the whole families needs this Christmas time. We are more than excited to steal some time together over the weekend to snuggle down, crack open their best fudge and mince pies, and enjoy some family time with a film (we surprisingly haven’t seen yet) courtesy of them!

With the festive period right around the corner, why not pop along to your local Morrisons and discover their tasty treats and plush home furnishing’s, sparkly decorations and that all important family entertainment. Their stores are packed with all sorts of goodies at great prices and with this season of giving you are bound to find something for everyone you’re still to buy for!! They also have a beautiful array of cards for everyone, as well as yummy things in their seasonal foods range. Check out my video below as I explain a little more and do a little show and tell of what we received! Then  go see for yourself the goodies in your local store…you are sure to find something for everyone.

*Thanks to Morrisons for sending us these goodies/cards for the purpose of this review