One thing we always loved doing was taking a Christmas photo of the boys to put on Christmas cards for family and friends. I was usually in charge of taking the photo and Aaron would often put it together for the Christmas card. Last year he was very clever in making sure that Noah was still on our card.
I love looking back at our old Christmas photos and seeing how much the boys have changed over the years. Check out how cute Jay and Noah were when they were little!
This year I wasn't sure what to do but wanted to acknowledge that things are different because that's just the way things are unfortunately. I ended up using this pic for the front of some cards, and then putting photos of Noah and Aaron and I inside.
Yesterday we visited Aaron's Dad and Step Mum Carrol to exchange gifts.
I had ordered them a photo book which had lots of photos of Aaron from when he was little up until the day before he passed away, in it.
The lead up to Christmas has been so different this year. I have hated being in town so much, as people race around buying gifts, and Christmas carols blare out of the shops. I have avoided town as much as possible, but have had to go in to get the boys presents. This year more than ever I realise how unimportant all of that is and if the boys could've coped with it (which I'm sure they wouldn't have!) then I would've been so happy to not do presents at all this year.
Every year Aaron used to pester me by asking what I wanted for Christmas and I would always say 'nothing' or 'I don't care' as I seriously didn't care. It's always nice to get a gift and I appreciated it if I did, but I would also be just as happy to not get any presents at all.
I would prefer to just spend the day with family, having a special meal together and remembering what Christmas is really about, and this year more than ever I wish we could just do that. This year more than ever I realise that nothing that you can buy or get will ever replace your loved ones and I would give up everything I have and own to have Aaron and Noah here with me.
In saying that it's actually nice to see the boys faces when they get a special present they had been hoping for, and it's nice to see them happy, even if it is just because they got something they were hoping for. I know they would also give up anything they get for Christmas to have their Dad and brother back.
Because it's been a hard month without Aaron and Noah I've chosen to hide away as much as possible instead of doing our usual traditions as a family. I wasn't keen on going to Carols By Candlelight like we do other years, so instead we decided to have a special picnic on the lounge room floor like we usually do on Christmas Eve and watched a Christmas DVD. The boys thought it was great fun, and it was much nicer than going to Carols By Candlelight which I knew would just upset me.
Every year we would stay up late one night and go out to look at the Christmas lights. All month Harri kept asking when we were going to go and do it, and I had no desire at all to do it, so I was glad that we were out late enough on Aaron's birthday night to catch some lights on the way home.
Even though it's been a harder month than usual we've felt very spoilt by beautiful friends from church. All of the families of the kids from church have been so lovely in doing a '12 Days of Christmas' for us where something was dropped at the door each day. The boys were so excited to see what was going to be dropped off and loved running to the front door to see if they could catch who the culprit was for that day.
We were very spoilt and had lots of lovely treats, books, and gifts dropped off. The boys loved the 'we adore you' sign on our front door when we got home one night. Thank you to anyone and everyone who dropped off something - it brightened up our month to know that so many people are thinking of us.
We are spending Christmas with my family and hope that the day will be full of fun, laughter and special memories as we spend our first Christmas without both Aaron and Noah.