What Baby Boomers Always Do at Christmastime

Recently I read an article about 13 things all Baby Boomers do without fail at Christmastime. Some of the things that were mentioned really spoke to me, while others did not. So I decided to make my own little list, based on what I have noticed among the Boomers around me. I invite you to make your own list as well. What are your favourite Boomer traditions associated with Christmas? Would love to hear from you!

1. Decorate the house — inside and outside — with festive garland, a Christmas tree with Hallmark or other unique ornaments —- but NEVER before Remembrance Day.
2. Set up the Advent calendar with doors to be opened each day up until Christmas Eve.
3. Ask the kids or grandkids to set up Bluetooth speakers or Alexa to play their favourite Christmas carols.
4. Send out newsy Christmas letters recounting the events of the previous year, including updates and lots of photos about the children and grandchildren, describing all the holidays they have taken and the countries they have visited. Describe the walking trips that are planned for the coming year.
5. Stock up on Christmas wrapping paper from the dollar store or Costco.
6. Bake and share in a Christmas cookie exchange.
7. Attend (or participate in) no fewer than three Christmas concerts, wearing your favourite ‘80s Christmas sweater!
8. Watch “A Christmas Carol” with Scottish character actor Alastair Sim as Scrooge.
9. Remember those who are no longer with them at Christmas by visiting the cemetery to place the Christmas wreath at their grandparents’ and parents’ graves.
10. Watch the Queen’s Christmas Message — this year King Charles III’s Message.
11. Buy colourful Christmas crackers for the dinner table and add tiny Christmas gifts to each person’s place.
12. Enjoy a sherry trifle made by a temperance grandmother — rum soaked fruitcake with marzipan too!
13. Hide Christmas Terry chocolate oranges in the house and give the children clues to find them.
14. Go to a Christmas Eve service and sing all the favourite carols. Then come home and hang the stockings by the fire.
15. Place the Christmas crèche — nativity scene— on the mantel to remind all of the real reason for the season!

I will be taking a break from my blogging for a few weeks, but hope to be back again later in January. Until then, a very Merry Christmas and good health and happiness in the New Year!

Science Reveals Why Opening Christmas Gifts is Less Exciting as We Age

Do you remember how excited you were to come down Christmas morning to check out what Santa had left for you under the tree? What fun it was to tear open your Christmas stocking!

When we Boomers were children, the festive season did not begin as early as it does today. Christmas decorations did not start to go up before December and holiday gift catalogues certainly did not appear before Remembrance Day. But that still gave us lots of time to build up a lot of holiday excitement.

Later, when the children or nieces and nephews came along, their excitement became ours. It was fun to watch the wide-eyed wonder on their faces as they opened their presents. Some of you are re-living these moments with grandchildren or great nieces and nephews.

But nowadays, at least for most of us Boomers, the holidays are more subdued. We don’t experience the same euphoria we did as children when we ran downstairs to see what Santa had left us.

But did you know that there may be a biological reason why we may not get as excited as we once did about opening Christmas gifts? According to Steve Connor of The Independent, “the reason children tear open their Christmas presents in a frenzy of dawn excitement while grandparents leave theirs until after lunch comes down to how the ageing brain handles rewards. Scientists have discovered that a chemical in the brain governing the delivery and feeling of reward is altered physically as a person grows old, which explains why opening presents becomes less exciting.”

That’s an interesting concept and I am not disputing it entirely. But is it not also a possibility that the longer we live on this earth the more we come to realize what really and truly matters in life? For me, at least, the joy of Christmas is getting together with family and friends (and it need not necessarily be on Christmas Day) and attending the Advent and Christmas Eve services at my church.

What about you? Where do you find the deepest joy at Christmastime?

The Top 5 Things You Wish You Had Done between 50 and 60

About a year ago my daughter sent me a post from Quora, which raised an interesting question. Basically it asked people 60 years old and above, “what are the top 5 things you wished you had done between 50 and 60 years of age that you would advise someone who is 50 now to follow and not give up? What are the top 5 things you would want to advise someone who is between 50 and 60 years of age?

A cursory glance at the answers revealed that most people wished they had focussed more on saving more money for retirement, committing to an exercise program and taking better care of their health, wishing they had started their own business or that they had ended their marriage sooner. With the odd exception, there was nothing about nurturing one’s spiritual life, building healthy relationships or spending more time with family and friends, making time to serve one’s church or synagogue or mosque, caring for Mother Earth, or practising greater generosity of time, talent and resources to help one’s community or reach out to those who are hurting or need. Yet, the wisdom of the centuries is that these are the things that really contribute to greater happiness and meaning in life.

What do YOU think? What are the top 5 things you would want to advise someone who is between 50 and 60 years of age and why? That was the question I posed one year ago in this blog. I wonder. Now that you are a year older, have your answers changed at all? What advice would you give as we move into  2023?

 I would love to hear from  you!