A Generational Look at Christmas

A lot of fuss over nothing…it’s all over now
–Nora M. Lucey

Nora Lucey was my maternal grandmother, a tough, opinionated Irishwoman who–from all accounts–was never “the homemaker type.”  She wasn’t warm, fuzzy or sentimental–not even at Christmas.  When asked what gifts she might like, she’d say, “Peace and quiet….it’s a lot of fuss over nothing” and she meant it!  Opening presents in front of people made her very uncomfortable, of this I have distinct memories, as well as her declaring “It’s all over now!” when we’d barely gathered our boxes!  She neither whined at life’s curve balls nor celebrated home runs, and I always wondered: was she a fatalist, realist or just an odd character?


My mother and her 4 siblings began their families during the 1950s-60s. Coming as they did from NO Christmas tradition, what they achieved for my generation was nothing short of remarkable.  We’d get together at one house or another for a big meal and exchange ridiculous amounts of presents despite being very working-class families.  When we’d finished socializing with the Irish side, we’d do it all again at my Italian (paternal) grandparents’ house where my cousins lived on the first floor: more food, more presents, more people, laughter and fun…you know, the kind of holiday still lauded on TV that doesn’t happen too often in our new millennium!

When my kids were small, it was impossible to re-create the type of holidays I had growing up. Upward mobility and divorce crept in, so most Christmases were spent just the four of us…but that was really ok! 🙂  We had a huge house to decorate and boy, did we do it up! Thankfully, I had enough money to buy whatever presents I felt appropriate (without breaking the bank) and I always made a huge feast, served in the dining room with a fire in the fireplace.  The only thing lacking was extended family, but the warmth and good feeling was the same.

Now that my boys are working adults (still living in Boston,) they’ve been unable to spend Christmas in Florida, sparking a new tradition ➡ For the past two years, we opened our presents “together” via Skype!  How crazy is that!?   Maggie took this screenshot while we were Skyping:

Christmas 2013, Skype, (From left to right: Jack, Melanie, TC)

I repeat…how CRAZY is this virtual Christmas!!??!!

We chatted and ripped open boxes–and acted just as silly–as if we were in the same room!  If you look at the bottom right corner, you’ll see what they saw on THEIR screen while we were looking at them!!  The pretty young woman in the middle is TC’s new girlfriend (of a few months) and “meeting” her was an added bonus!  The whole thing was wonderful!

Later that day, Maggie and I made dinner for my mother and step-dad. The four of us decided next year we’ll bring steaks to the bar-b-que pits at Jaycee Beach for a true “Tropical Christmas,” something we’ve all wanted to do for the longest time. 🙂

I can only imagine what Nora Lucey might think of Skyping and Christmas Cook-outs, not to mention the way traditions (and life!) have changed these past 50 years.  Whether it’s a lot of fuss over nothing or something special is for other generations to decide!

Until next time….

P.S. We’re very excited for Jack’s visit! He arrives a week from today and stays for a week!

🙂 🙂 🙂

31 thoughts on “A Generational Look at Christmas

  1. hahah wish i had met that woman, she sounds like such a brash interesting character. Loved Skype Christmas! I realized before I went to bed I spent the majority of my Christmas Skyping with Jack and TC and Seamus! Crazy! good post esta!

    • Hi Esty! 😉
      I guarantee she’d have gotten on well with you, too! And how she’d love you marrying a “boyo from the old country”!
      Nora was SOOOO far ahead of her time…there was nothing demure or reticent about her!

  2. Love this post. I only hope that when my boys move out of home and are (more likely now) geographically distant that we keep up the togetherness tradition at Christmas through technology, if we can’t physically be together. No, not crazy, but wonderful.

    • It really IS a bit of wonderful and something other generations didn’t have as a means of staying in touch. When Nora left Ireland, she really LEFT, with the only means of communication being the postal service. Nothing too immediate about that, and whoever really has stamps when you need one, anyway!? LOL

      Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting. I like that we “met” via the whole C4C thing…another example of technology uniting people the world over!
      Happy New Year to you!

  3. In the days of the past when we all seemed to live closer to each other a get together seemed so easy… now with families so far apart it is not always possible and the skype idea is brilliant… I love this post…

  4. I think I would have liked Nora M. Lucey.. 🙂 Great post! My Mom absolutely loved Christmas and looked forward to it and celebrated it like a kid to the very end. Christmas has never been the same for me since she has been gone. That’s ok too. I have some wonderful memories! As you describe your Christmas meals I can’t help but think about all that great FOOD.. 😀

    • Yes, Nora was quite ahead of her time and would’ve fit in really well in today’s world. 🙂
      I agree with you about the food–we’ve done nothing but eat since all the baking started the week before Christmas. And with my son arriving this weekend, I expect the feasting will continue until the day he goes back north. Lots of fun though!!

  5. I really enjoyed this post! The wonders of technology! Whoever heard of skyping Christmas, but it is great how people can share special moments virtually! I always decorate for Christmas and every year I enjoy having all the family and various extensions here for a big Christmas party. Two of my sons and a close cousin live far away on the west coast, and they don’t always get to make it. Now I will suggest skyping!

    Happy New Year to you, and also thank you for your kind comments on my own blog!

    • Happy New Year to you, too, Deb!
      Thanks for stopping in and commenting.
      The first time we skyped Christmas was when the boys had made the trip to Fl. but my daughter was in Vietnam. (She and her boyfriend had left for a yearlong world tour the previous August and were doing indonesia at that point.) Skyping was fairly
      new then so it was very exciting. They were
      staying in some apt for 10days around christmas and showed us their balcony view of the little town and a tiny tree they had decorated to make it feel more familiar. Despite being halfway around the world they were with us via the computer screen, and a “tradition” was born!

    • Lol it is! I should ask my mother why she and my aunt and grandmother look so dang serious. Looking at the pic more closely now, I wonder if there wasn’t something going on among the adults!

  6. Every day is what you make of it, and it sounds like you made the first best of yours. Technology is a wonderful thing except when everyone sits around the holidays swiping their smart phones at all times so that the ‘real’ people in the room are second to those on the net. Love Skype but not the constant phone swiping. Happy New Year.

    • Doesn’t all that swiping get old?!!! I remember being at my middle son’s college football games and marveling at how many parents had made the effort to travel to see their boys play college ball yet spent most of gametime looking at their screens!!! i will say the fathers did it more frequently than the mothers but still!!
      hope you’re enjoying this holiday week, Judy!

  7. My husband and I have adapted to Christmas without the extended family, too, and we also added Skype to the festivities this year. My and mom and my siblings got together this last weekend for the family get together, and we video chatted for a while. It made the distance a lot shorter. Glad to hear you had a great time, and have a great visit with your son!

    • Skype works so well, doesn’t it? My daughter and I were chuckling over “getting ready” for the call: you’d think we were making a TV appearance what with the hair and make-up prepping we did! Funny stuff!
      We’re really looking forward to Jack’s arrival Saturday, unless Hercules impacts his flight plans!

  8. “Peace and quiet….it’s a lot of fuss over nothing” I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Okay I’m laughing. Wishing you the merriest of merries!

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