Andrew Parker

25 Dying Boomer Traditions That We’re Struggling to Preserve

The 1950s-60s generation grew up in a world where tweets were just the sound of a bird, and the closest thing to streaming a movie involved a car and a giant outdoor screen. And, like every generation, they have their own traditions. But as they get older, their traditions start to disappear, and they’ll soon have completely vanished. Let’s take a look at 25 of their traditions that are disappearing before our very eyes.

Handwritten Letters

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There’s something so personal about getting a handwritten letter, and anyone aged over 50 knows all about that. Unlike an email that’ll disappear, a letter is a moment in time captured forever and a direct line from someone’s heart to yours. It’s a rare form of intimacy that’ll probably disappear very soon, as around 15% of adults have never sent a letter.

Drive-In Theaters

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Drive-ins were the ultimate hangout spot for you and your friends. It was the perfect chance to watch a movie under the stars without ever leaving your car. Sure, putting on Netflix while you’re sitting on the couch is convenient, but it’ll never quite capture the magic of a drive-in. Even though there are still a few special drive-ins, it’s unlikely they’ll last much longer.

Card Catalog

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Before Google, you practically needed to be a detective to find a book in the library. You had to flick through drawers of tiny, handwritten cards to get the one you were looking for, and when you did, you’d be lucky if it was still on the shelf. Digital catalogs might be easier, but they’re definitely not as memorable.

Milkman

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Once upon a time, waking up to fresh milk delivered to your doorstep was the norm. But thanks to the mega marts and more convenient shopping experiences, the milkman’s daily rounds have mostly vanished. There are still some places you can get it delivered for nostalgia, although we don’t think it quite feels the same.

Fixing It

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If there’s one thing boomers are better at than any other generation, it’s their “if it’s broke, fix it” attitude. In today’s world, we’re so obsessed with upgrading and buying new things that a lot of us have forgotten the simple art of repairing. We’ve definitely lost something by not learning to make do and mend.

Mixtapes and Vinyl

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Okay, streaming music does give you the world’s biggest jukebox in your pocket, but it doesn’t have the personality of making a mixtape or playing a vinyl. There’s something about the crackle of a record or the flip of a cassette that feels like home. On the plus side, the vinyl industry does show signs of growth, according to CNBC, so let’s hope it stays that way.

Physical Encyclopedia 

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In the times before Wikipedia, encyclopedias were the go-to chunky books for solving a family debate or finishing your homework. Now we’ve got the whole internet in our pocket, those bookshelves are simply taking up space. But we’ll always remember the charm of flipping through an encyclopedia.

Rotary Phones

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Remember the days when making a call wasn’t just a matter of tapping buttons? On a rotary phone, you had to actually spin the deal for each number and wait for it to whir back. It made the whole experience of phoning someone extra special, although it was kind of annoying if they weren’t there to answer.

Film Cameras

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One of the most exciting parts of taking a picture was the waiting. Today, you can just see what it looks like instantly, but back in the day, half the adventure was waiting to see how they turned out. You never knew if you’d get a masterpiece or a complete mistake, and that’s what made them so much fun.

Maps

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We’ll admit that GPS is certainly a lifesaver. After all, who would’ve thought you could find directions to anywhere in the world in just a few seconds on your phone? But sadly, the important skill of being able to read a map has pretty much fallen by the wayside. One report claims that most people under the age of 25 can’t read a map at all.

Dial-Up Tones

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Who could forget the sound of dial-up internet? It was the sound of the lawlessness of the early web, and you’d sit there, fingers crossed, hoping the connection wouldn’t drop. Nowadays, jumping online is as simple as breathing, but it doesn’t come with any of the accomplishments you’d get in the past.

Stick Shifts

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If you had a stick shift in your car, you really had to know all parts of it and understand its rhythm. Each time you did a hill start successfully was a small victory that automatic cars can’t compare to. Yes, they definitely make life easier, yet the thrill of being in total control of your machines is something fewer and fewer people know.

Banking

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Bank visits used to be an actual event. You’d fill out your slips and wait in line, maybe even have a chat with your teller. It might’ve been harder, but these little interactions made managing money just that much more personal. Now, with a few taps on our phones, we can do the same thing in seconds, anytime, anywhere.

Bowling

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Back in the day, you’d find practically everyone in the bowling alley on a Friday night. They might still exist today, but they don’t have the electric atmosphere that we remember from the past. Sadly, data from Statista shows that the number of them has fallen pretty dramatically over the years.

Catalog Shopping

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Around the holidays, flicking through a catalog was such a highlight because you never knew what you were going to get. We’d spend hours marking pages and dreaming up lists of things we wanted to get. Unfortunately, the rise of online shopping has made browsing much more of a solo thing, without any of the shared excitement of flipping through pages with family.

Stamp Collecting

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Young people today probably think stamp collecting is just a hobby, but in reality, it used to be so much more than that. This was a time before traveling across the world was so easy, and stamp collecting helped you to learn about different cultures and far-off places. Since you can fly anywhere now for pretty cheap, stamp collecting just isn’t as popular anymore.

Lawn Darts

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There used to be a time when a backyard gathering wasn’t complete without a game of Lawn Darts. It was all fun and games watching those hefty darts soaring through the air at a ring on the ground until safety entered the chat. Now, it’s just something that lives mostly in tales and memories.

Slide Rules

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Long before we could just swipe on our smartphones to do the math, slide rules were everyone’s favorite gadget. They were an easy way to solve difficult calculations and made you feel like a math wizard. But today? You’ll probably just see them in a vintage collection instead of a classroom.

Roller Skating Rinks

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Back when roller skating rinks were the place to be, you’d zoom around under the disco lights and feel like you owned the place. They were the best place to spend your weekend, and they’d make every birthday legendary. Yes, they have made a slight comeback, but they’re nowhere near as popular as they used to be.

Shortwave Radio

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A shortwave radio was your passport to listening to voices from every corner of the planet. And the real magic? You could do it all from your living room couch with this box of tricks. It’s kind of crazy to think people got so excited about this, but they did. Now, the world’s sounds are a simple click away.

Carbon Paper

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In the past, if you wanted a quick copy, carbon paper was the way to go. Just by slipping a thin, inky sheet between papers, you’d get a duplicate. It felt like magic in a way that our digital age just can’t compare to. After all, all you have to do now is hit ‘print,’ without any of the mystery or hands-on appeal.

Saturday Morning Cartoons

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Saturday mornings used to be a sacred affair, especially when it came to the cartoons. You’d have to stake out your spot in front of the TV and wait until the animated adventures began. It felt like a weekly mini-holiday because you only had this time to watch. No reruns and no replay. These days, you can get cartoons on tap.

Collecting S&H Green Stamps

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Before points and miles, S&H Green Stamps were the way to earn rewards, and around 80% of Americans collected them. You’d get these little stamps when you shopped and, later, swap them for some goodies. As loyalty programs moved online, the simple joy of licking and sticking these stamps has all but completely disappeared.

Using a Party Line

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Once upon a time, you had to share a phone line with your neighbors, taking turns to make calls, and yes, that included eavesdropping. They were like group chats, just without the privacy. Now, with cell phones for everyone, the idea of having a shared line seems absolutely bonkers, but we think these lines connected people in a way today’s tech can’t copy.

Using Public Payphones

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If you were out and your plans went sideways, a payphone was your lifeline to help or a ride home. Fast forward to today, and you’re more likely to find Waldo than a payphone in the world. They’re pretty much just backdrops for a selfie and a reminder of a time when we weren’t all just a text away.

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