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 www.thenewagingmovement.com or email email@example.com.