Barbara Bush made extra Christmas stockings for great grandchildren she never got to meet

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Barbara Bush passed away in April 2018, but her memory lives on with a sweet family Christmas tradition that involves great-grandchildren that were born after she died.  

Jenna Bush Hager, who recently returned from maternity leave after the birth of her third child, revealed to PEOPLE that her grandmother worked "tirelessly" to create reserve Christmas stockings for members of the Bush family who she never lived to meet. 

“I found out I was pregnant the week after my grandfather died, and I lost my three living grandparents in one year,” Hager said of the bittersweet moment she learned she was expecting her son, Hal, with husband Henry. 

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She continued to explain that "Hal is the first baby that won’t get to meet these people that were such an important part of my life. But, I will say, and this is such a beautiful thing — my grandmother, my dad’s mom, needlepointed a lot of stockings, reserves, for great-grandchildren that would be after she died.”

"And so my aunt just emailed me on Friday and said, ‘What address should I send Hal’s stocking to?’“ she said.

Hager explained that her grandmother's legacy will continue with her three children, despite her never having met Hal. 

“What a beautiful blessing and what a beautiful thing that she did so that all three of my kids will have made," the 37-year-old continued, “[Hal] will never met her, but they’re so ingrained, I mean, literally in this case, in the fabric of our family — that he’ll have a stocking that his great-grandmother sewed.” 

Hager had previously opened up Bush's needlework with an essay for Southern Living, saying the Christmas stockings she created for her daughters Poppy and Mila were the most significant. "When I imagine my Ganny, I think of her hands busy (usually her mouth too) as she meticulously needlepointed,'' she wrote. "She worked on many projects, but her most precious were stockings for her great-grandchildren."

The former first lady passed away last spring at the age of 92 after years of congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Her husband, the former president George H.W. Bush, passed away seven months later. 

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