Christmas Has Never Been The Same

by | Dec 22, 2014 | Love Others, personal journey

It was enough to about push me over the edge.

We had just buried my mother.

I was numb for days after her death, and even longer after her funeral.

Christmas would arrive in five days.

“Christmas will never be the same without Mom.”

I was right. It hasn’t.

But in those five days between Mom’s funeral and Christmas, complaining followed me everywhere I went. Or maybe I was just more aware of it. I can’t remember faces, or voices, or where the complaints came from, but I remember them.

How the wrong Christmas gift arrived in the mail, and not the one ordered.

How expensive Christmas can be, especially when entertaining.

How “crazy” life can be this season.

How stress levels were “off the charts” with baking, shopping, squeezing in too much in too little time.

It took about everything out of me not to scream at the top of my lungs,


I just buried my mom and best friend! I’d give about anything to celebrate Christmas with her just one more time. How can you get worked up over things like this??!!”

It’s a good thing I kept my mouth shut. Grief was rearing it’s ugly head, and even though what I was feeling was real, screaming this would surely have made me some enemies.

Maybe it’s one of those things you don’t understand until you go through. I’m sure I got worked up about similar “piddly” things in prior years, but losing Mom so close to Christmas that year changed my perspective on what’s important and what’s not.

Christmas has never been the same

Christmas has never been the same since.

And yet again, over the weekend I heard and saw similar complaints. Not much has changed in eight years.

There will be things that go “wrong” this Christmas. That’s just a given. Yes, maybe the wrong gift arrives, or the turkey isn’t done on time, or the house might not be as clean as it should be for arriving company.

Does any of that really matter? I read a quote yesterday that touched me…

“What’s under the tree isn’t as important as who’s around it.”

What's under the treeFriend, when things go “wrong,” do all you can to find the good. See the blessing in it. Keep an attitude of love, grace, and gratitude. It could always be worse.

Cherish those you’re with. You already know they are irreplaceable, but sometimes we forget. Sometimes we need a reminder.

I’d still give about anything to celebrate Christmas one more time with Mom. And even though Christmas hasn’t been the same without her, the blessing of realizing what’s important has been a gift to me. One I wish I would have learned sooner.

May you embrace what–and who–is important these next three days.

God bless you, and Merry Christmas!



It’s a joy to link this post up with friends Holly and Kelly. I believe you’ll be encouraged at both! Blessings.

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  1. ~ linda

    Julie, I know this too for it will be two years since my Mama died come the end of January, 2015. Our last Christmas together, December, 2012, Mama was so sick that it was not like any other Christmas. I began to look upon Christmas after her death with even more of a critical eye to the commercially-produced Christmases we have today, the need to have and have more. Christmas is so different with my mother yet it is better in so many ways for I see the beauty of sharing each and every day with those precious ones here today, with the smile to those who serve in the check-out lines, with a hug to the bagger who never forgets to give me a hug at the grocer. And on and on, those are what are important anymore.
    Thank you, Julie, for this beautiful reminder of Christmas and what it ought to mean every day, not just December 25th.
    Christ came as the most cherished gift for me and I want to be in His image to those around me. Only through Him can that be done but it can.
    May your Christmas be filled with His Presence.
    ~ linda

    • Julie Lefebure

      Thank you, Linda. Yes, what a different perspective we have after losing someone dear to us. Christmas every day, not just December is how I desire to live. Thank you for sharing your sweet words here. I hope your Christmas was wonderful and blessed. Ours was very special. God bless you in the year ahead, dear friend!

  2. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Oh, Julie.

    You are so right – to know these things earlier would be so much better, and why on Earth didn’t we realize it.

    There are a dozen platitudes I could think of, that would justify the late-learned lessons. There are another dozen that would excuse the frivolous their petty complaints.

    But none of this matters, because both perspective and loss are singular, as unique as the soul they form, and scar.

    My prayers are with you, Julie, for a Christmas whose meaning will be leavened by memory, and sweetened by the hope and the promise that this is not the end.

    • Julie Lefebure

      Andrew, I’m so thankful this isn’t the end. We have much more ahead for us in eternity! Blessings to you!

  3. Sabra Penley

    My husband and I have had this same conversation. Things are just not the same without my dad. The gifts, the activities, the food…all those things we scurry around to make sure is just right…just doesn’t matter. It is truly the people who are with us–RIGHT NOW–that are important. Oh, how I need to just find the joy and cherish these precious moments with them, knowing that Christmas is always the same in the truest sense–that Jesus came to give us life. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. And those we love who are no longer participating in our celebrations are still alive and well–in our hearts and in heaven. Blessings to you and your family, Julie. May the Lord fill your Christmas with joy.

    • Julie Lefebure

      Sabra, your words here are beautiful! Yes, those we miss are alive and well-in our hearts and in heaven. What a gift! Looking forward to seeing them again. I hope your Christmas was joy-filled and very special. I’m thanking God for your today, dear friend! Blessings.

  4. Abby

    I hear you, Julie, I hear you. I think life changing events like that, especially when followed by grief, really open our eyes to what’s important and show us how scared life truly is. We have so much to be grateful for. We don’t have to look far. I’m praying for you this season as you’re missing your mom, and hope that you feel surrounded by his love on Christmas. Blessings to you, friend!

    • Julie Lefebure

      Abby, thank you. You are so right. We do have so much to be grateful for. I hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas. Ours was very special. God bless you, sweet friend!

  5. Danise Jurado

    Stopping by from Kelly’s link up!
    It’s true, Christmas is different when loved ones have passed on.
    After that, I’ve found its important to embrace a new normal in all areas of life, especially during the holidays.
    Blessings to you friend, I understand your loss and the hope we have in our Lord
    Merry Christmas!

    • Julie Lefebure

      Hi Danise! Yes, the hope we have in Him! So thankful for this! God bless you this season and in the new year! Merry Christmas!

  6. Kelly Balarie

    This is a beautiful post. Sometimes Christmas hurts. Sometimes people hurt. I love the way you brought us outside of our selves to see others. Thank you for sharing your heart. You are transparent and embracing. I love that about you. Cheering you on, Julie!

    • Julie Lefebure

      Hi Kelly! Thank you! I cheer you on, too. Thank you for hosting the link. God bless you, friend!

  7. Kathryn Shirey

    Christmas can be tough – especially when it’s not what we imagined or what we’ve always had. Great reminder that it is what we make it – whether we set our minds to love the reality or to be disappointed by the dreams. We had to cancel several family visits this week due to the flu/strep, so are learning this one as we go. While we’d dreamed about celebrating with all the family, our reality will be a small Christmas at home – and it will be wonderful anyway! (just praying no one else gets sick!)

    • Julie Lefebure

      Kathryn, I know exactly how it feels to change Christmas plans because of illness. Praying for you as I type this tonight. May God bless you in the year ahead. Thanks for being a part of my life, dear friend!

  8. EllieThomas

    Julie, I do know how you feel. I lost my mom 10 years ago on December 21st and my mother-in-law on Christmas morning. Every year I light a candle in our home for each and mention them in prayer on their “going home” anniversary. We make their special Christmas dish on Christmas and it makes us feel like they are still with us. My mom was such a joyful, kind woman. As I get older I have been told that I am more like her. This pleases me as I know it puts a smile on her face. So, for all those who have lost a mother close to the holiday or on Christmas….I would like to think they have an extra gem in their crown. God bless you Julie and Merry Christmas to you and your family. Ellie

    • Julie Lefebure

      Hi Ellie! What a joy to see you here! Thank you for stopping in and for sharing. I appreciate your words and your encouragement. You understand how this time of year can be difficult. May God bless you during this season and in the New Year! Much love to you!

  9. ~Karrilee~

    Oh Julie, I love this! I am sorry for your loss… I love this truth: “What’s under the tree isn’t as important as who’s around it.” So powerful and simple – yet so often forgotten in all the chaos of Christmas! Thanks for the reminder! Merry Christmas!

    • Julie Lefebure

      Thanks, Karrilee. I know Mom is rejoicing with Jesus at Christmas and every day. What a hope we have in Him! I hope your Christmas was very special. Thanks for being a part of my life!

  10. Carmen Horne

    Losing your mom at Christmas must be one of the most difficult things in the world. I enjoyed my mom today and feel so blessed. You are so right, “do all you can to find the good.” Life is but a vapor. I need to enjoy everyday. Merry Christmas friend!

    • Julie Lefebure

      Hi Carmen! I’m so glad you spend time with your mom on Christmas. What a gift! We all need to enjoy every single day and every moment. Merry Christmas to you too!


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