Holiday Gifts

Ugh, last year I loved Black Friday shopping.  Granted, I did all of it from the comfort of my jammies and computer, but I was counting down the minutes until the sales started and even had my lists ready to go.  I must have done about 75% of all my shopping that night.

Just a day ago, Black Friday started online at some of my favorite stores.  I had no lists this time.  I had an idea of what to get the kids — well, Abby and Ethan…bought them a few things in between taking care of Hannah, getting her meds, moving her body so she doesn’t get tight, making sure her oxygen and humidification stays on her.  Definitely a different experience than last year.

And that is the hard part.  What do we do about gifts for Hannah this holiday?   Daddy and I have talked and talked and talked about it so much.   You see, my kids are incredibly spoiled — they get Hanukkah AND Santa gifts (and yes, Ethan and Abby both still believe in Santa).

Hanukkah is easier to deal with.  We already explained to the kids that we are just going to get Hannah one special gift instead of the 8 little ones since she can’t really enjoy toys or her iPad anymore.  They understood why.

Santa.  That is a different story.  It stresses me out to think how to deal with the Santa situation.  What does Santa do for kids like Hannah?  He wouldn’t ignore them or forget them…

I asked Abby this question yesterday.   We were talking about Santa, and I was cuddling with Hannah on the couch, and Abby came up to give her kisses.   I didn’t ask it in a serious way, I just asked her matter-of-factly… “What do you think Santa does for kids like Hannah?”   She thought about it for a minute, and she came up with a perfect answer.

She said that because Hannah can’t play with toys anymore, he will probably get her a stuffed animal with a big heart that says ‘love you’ with a special note attached to it.

My heart melted…and then felt crushed.  So many, many different emotions from Abby’s response – so proud of her for really understanding the situation, then so sad because she does understand the situation.

Then I kept thinking … is Hannah even going to make it through the holidays this year?   We thought we were only going to have days with her when we started with hospice…6 weeks ago.

Six long weeks ago.  We have been living like this, this uncertainty, this exhaustion, this sadness, this continuous apprehensive grieving, this just overwhelming situation…six weeks.  Wondering every day if she will be here tomorrow.

Wondering if it is safe to buy her something for the holidays because that is still a long 4 weeks a way.  Four weeks doesn’t seem like a long time, but in this situation, it seems like a lifetime.

I did buy one present for Hannah last night.   It was this cute little personalized rag doll that will be embroidered with Hannah’s name on it.  Daddy and I feel like Santa would get Hannah a lot of personalized and keepsake items — things that we would be able to keep to remind us of her all the time, whether it is Disney, ladybugs, monkeys, music, poems about how special she is, pictures, etc.

Whether or not Hannah is still with us on Christmas Day, this little rag doll with get a lot of loving.  I can just picture this little doll ending up on Abby’s bed every night, making its home with the other beloved stuffed animals and dolls she has.

That is the best gift I can give Hannah.  I hope it comes soon.  I would love to take a picture of Hannah with this doll.

At least I have a direction now to shop for Hannah.  I’m going to stop for things that will remind me of her for the rest of my life.  I just found a cute little Minnie ornament from Disney Store that I just ordered a few minutes ago that I will likely personalize myself when it comes.


  1. Carolyn says:

    Carrie, I wanted to hop in and comment before I even finished your post and say, “Get a doll with Hannah’s name on it, that you can give to Abby when she’s gone”. When I was in college I visited a little girl with a severe rare degenerative disease once a week for four years (ages 6-10). Her name was Beth. I know that is one of the reasons I have fallen so in love with your little Hannah. Beth died when she was 15. Her mother gave me her “Holly Hobby Ragdoll” to remember her. I embroidered her name and the dates of her life on the apron. I still have it!. Abby will totally treasure that doll. Maybe you can also think of something that would be good to give to Ethan for a keepsake. You are so thoughtful about everything that I know you would find another “treasure” perfect for him. Prayers for your heart, mind and soul at this painful time.

    Carolyn (in Las Vegas)

  2. Maureen says:

    What about a personalized blanket/quilt? Or Minnie Mouse sheets for her bed? Or a pillow? A “Thumbsies” would be more for Abby (or you)… something Hannah could “give” Abby (and then be a tangible thing of Hannah that Abby will have)