Finding beauty in Christmas

Christmas preparations have been a torment to me, because my baby son Hugo died earlier this year. I have been wishing the festivities would hurry up and be over.

A friend challenged me to find the beauty in Christmas. “Yeah, whatever, there’s no way I’ll be able to do that” I thought at first. But, never being one to decline a challenge, I opened my eyes and realised that there is some beauty in Christmas.

No matter how much I might wish it, Christmas is not going to disappear. Getting continually stressed about Christmas joy – and my lack of it – was doing me no good at all. So, finding some beauty in the season – however tenuous it might be – has had a benefit.

In no particular order the Christmas beauties are:

Christmas decorations

I am a sucker for anything brightly-coloured and sparkly (I love sparkle!) and, of course, everywhere is covered in brightly-coloured sparkly things in the run-up to the big day. The decorations can make even the most drab building look pretty.

Stars are a huge feature of Christmas decorations. I have a bit of an obsession with stars due to their significance to me with Hugo. While I know the stars relate to the guiding star that is said to have guided the Three Wise Men to Bethlehem, I like to pretend they are celebrating my special little boy.



People being kinder to each other

The shops might be scenes of materialistic carnage, but conversely Christmas can also be a time when people make an extra effort to think of others. People contribute to food banks to make sure families in need have enough to eat; volunteer their time at homeless shelters and old people’s homes; or donate to charity the money they would have spent on Christmas cards.

There is beauty in all of these gestures.

Charities are for life, not just for Christmas – please remember to support them during the rest of the year, too.

Mince pies

I’m partial to mince pies, and like to get my fill of them. I like to think the mince pies find the beauty of Christmas in my tummy. Or my tummy finds beauty in them. Either way, they are yummy.

Mince pie


Elves on Shelves

While I still think they’re rather creepy, photos of elves who are usually not on shelves but are often in all sorts of bother have made me smile. Whether the scenarios have been dreamt up by the parents themselves or copied from Pinterest, many of them are pretty ingenious and funny.

First prize still goes to Whore in a Drawer. Funny and naughty. Naughty beats ingenious in this instance.


I have found some beauty in Christmas, but I still cannot generate any excitement for it. This Christmas, and every Christmas after will be missing Hugo, my first born, my precious boy.

I continue to do my best to avoid the happy Christmas telly ads. Christmas songs now have an added resonance (Mariah Carey warbling “Baby all I want for Christmas is you”) being a particular stab. Our house is still unadorned by Christmas decorations.

Our plans for Christmas Day involve wine, chocolate, and season 5 of Parks and Recreation.

It will be just another day to us, another day thinking of what should have been.

The true beauty of Christmas that will now never be.





The List

27 thoughts on “Finding beauty in Christmas

  1. Sara (@mumturnedmom) says:

    Oh, Leigh, as ever your ability to look for the positive inspires and humbles me. There is little I can say to make Christmas easier for you and I wouldn’t presume to try, but I will be thinking of you and Hugo. Be kind to yourself xx Thank you so much for sharing with #ThePrompt x


  2. thenthefunbegan says:

    You’ve definitely highlighted some of the most special parts of Christmas here Leigh. I think the thought of it as ‘a festival of light’ is a lovely one at the darkest time of year. I always dread January when its still dark but the lights have all come down. I think you’re doing the right thing – I tend to do something similar every year on New Years – blocking it out, getting some good DVDs in to avoid the rubbish telly showing everyone else celebrating and making sure I have enough good food to see me through! The other half is a shift worker and always works on the 31st. I’ve never been very good at New Year’s anyway, I like a relatively early night and it annoys me when people set off never ending fireworks at midnight. I know its not the same and they’re not the same reasons but I can understand that feeling of bah humbug! Best wishes for getting through the season hon Xx #theprompt


    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Thinking of Christmas as a festival of light at such a dismal time of year is lovely. January and February are always tough – it seems like such a long time before the warmth will return. I’m not a fan of New Years either (I’m not as miserable as this makes me sound!) – it’s usually overblown and it’s easier to sit at home with wine, in the warm! Thanks for commenting. Hope you have a good Christmas xxx


  3. joyandpops says:

    Wishing you all the best this Christmas.
    I can still remember my first Christmas after my son had died in the September. It was cold and miserable (not least because of the weather). Our families tried to make something of it but it was hopeless.
    I went to York Minster for a carol service that year and it just about broke what was left of my heart.
    12 years on and Christmas is a much happier time but I still can’t listen to Christmas carols – my eldest daughter’s church service this morning nearly finished me off.
    I hope the New Year brings happier times for you.


  4. dadbloguk says:

    Your comment about stars resonated with me. My niece died before her first birthday and one Christmas I was stood outside with her brother at night time. He was about four and he pointed up to (what I think was) the North Star and said that was his sister. I’m glad you’ve found some beauty in Christmas and wish you all the very best at this time.


  5. maddy@writingbubble says:

    I think it’s wonderful that you’ve managed to see beauty in Christmas and I can only imagine how hard it must be for you. We have a little star decoration on our tree – I’m looking at it now and thinking of gorgeous little Hugo. Lots of love xxx (oh and we love Parks and Recreation too!)


  6. mummyshambles says:

    This is a beautiful post..
    It’s true that beauty can be found amidst grief. I was able to find some when I lost my dad. The difference is that he had 58 years of life. I can’t comprehend what you’re going through but I know you’ll get through this Christmas. It’s hard to feel Christmas it in your heart when it’s is broken. The joy of others just amplifies the pain. I hope you can find some solace.
    Giving kindness to others is what Christmas should be about. Earlier this week, a man who works for OH fell ill and was taken to hospital. His mum is very ill and he’d kept quiet about what turned out to be a hernia. He was hospitalised this week and had nobody to take him clothes. So we bought him some. A small gesture in the big scheme of things but hopefully it will have eased his burden slightly. One less worry.
    Your positivity is inspiring and that’s a gift in itself. Enjoy your wine and DVDs.
    Much love xXx


    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Thank you. Kindness really should be the focus of Christmas. What a lovely thing you did to help out your other half’s colleague. It was certainly one less thing for him to have to worry about while in hospital. Thank you for your kind words as ever. Love to you xxx


  7. Kat says:

    We have been thinking of and missing Hugo a lot over this Christmas period. There is a bright star at the top of our tree to remind us of him, which is both heart-breaking and comforting. I am amazed (and yet, not surprised) by your ability to be positive and see the beauty in all things, Leigh. I’m glad you’ll be watching P&R – Leslie and Andy helped me laugh through some difficult times last year. Love to you and M. P.s. If you get a parcel from us, you can open it to get the card and do what you will with the wrapped contents xx


    • Leigh Kendall says:

      I’m so pleased you have a Hugo star on your tree! We’ve received the parcel, thank you, will open it to retrieve the card. I love P&R, and glad it got you through some bad times too. Love you both lots. Will email xxx


  8. Mummy Tries says:

    I know it’s not going to be the Xmas you imagined but I really hope you manage to forge some happy memories during the holidays. Drinking red wine and eating chocolate sounds like a good plan. Sending you lots of love and hugs xxx


  9. meghanoc says:

    Love this. I especially love the ‘people being kind to each other’ part. So true. If nothing else, this time of year people are motivated to give, including me. It’s a beautiful thing.


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