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December 6, 2013

Boomer Talk: Breaking traditions


Some of my waning enthusiasm also came from a lack of acknowledgment. The custom of thanking a gift-giver seems to be fading with each generation. I remember as a child dutifully writing notes on my special stationery, thanking each family member who sent holiday or birthday gifts. I didn’t even need a reminder; it’s what you did. Later, as a parent, I asked (you could say nagged) my sons to write their grandparents, aunts and uncles a letter each time to show their appreciation.

It has been, sadly, a rare occasion when one of my four grandkids responded to my gifts sent by mail. Year after year, I felt disappointed that there were no “thank yous” forthcoming, not even a phone call. Although I thought that behavior very inconsiderate, I would console myself: “Everyone is busy with activities, and I understand adolescents are mostly self-absorbed.” But still, I was annoyed.

I realize I have to accept that the sending out of thank-you notes is, at least in my family, a thing of the past, a broken tradition. But I do wonder if it is the evolving technology contributing to this lack of meaningful communication. A few words sent in a text does not satisfy the need to hear, at least, a voice behind the words.

Only the future will reveal whether the generations coming up are able to maintain intimate, ongoing relationships, since time and effort, patience, and face-to-face communications are called for.

For now, my value system dictates I stop buying into the overinflated materialism of the season. Instead, I choose to create a new tradition of sending gifts to my family throughout the year, whenever my generous spirit calls me to do so.

As an alternative, I will be donating to my charity of choice the money I would normally spend on unnecessary holiday gifts. I believe this contribution will help to make a positive impact on someone’s life, and that is what brings me joy; no thank you necessary.


Angelena Craig of Newburyport teaches Wellness Workshops, Kripalu Slow Flow Yoga, and “Sit Down and Move” classes to boomers and beyond. Visit her website at or email

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