I remember a Christmas ....
My first grandchild .... step grandchild, actually, but that didn't matter .... was three. The second grandchild was two. Another was due the following February. They didn't live near us, and I wondered about keeping a relationship with them. Little ones forget so quickly.
I don't know what made me think of it. Right after the holiday I was shopping for those after Christmas specials, and I bought a few ornaments for the tree for next year. I love sales of 50% to 75% off! I noticed that there were some really cute ones for little kids, and I thought I would buy one for each grandchild for next year.
I got home, and after giving it more thought I decided that I was going to start a tradition. I returned to the store and bought several more, one for each year for each child. Back home again, I turned the ornaments over, writing the child's name on it in gold ink. One for each child for each year of his/her little lives. And by buying them at the sale prices, I can buy them much nicer ones that I would if I paid full price.
Since then I've continued this practice, adding the year of the gift along with the child's name. By the time they are grown, they have at least 21 ornaments. And on their 22nd Christmas, they get a tree topper. This way, they have enough ornaments for a "starter" tree. What I hope will be the pièce de résistance of the whole thing is that as the child (now a young adult) will look at this eclectic array of ornaments, look at their names and the year on the bottom of each and remember at least some of those Christmases. I hope, too, that they will remember their ol' Grammy who took the time to pick individual ornaments that fit their personalities or reflect the activities they are in, and know that they came to them with love.
I've now started doing the same for my step-great-grandchildren. The tradition was picked up by at least one step-daughter, so her grandchildren with have 42 ornaments for their first personal trees. I'm really pleased she is doing that. I love to see tradition live on. And I will thus have left a tiny piece of myself for at least a couple generations. That is very reassuring.