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Senior Momentum December 2014 - It's a Moving Target!


Senior Momentum December 2014 - It's a Moving Target!

by Zoe Tummillo

The Holidays are a great big mixed bag with ever-changing dynamics and characteristics.  As soon as I see the first sign of retailers tooling up for their bonanza season, the conflicts begin to surface.   Part of me is mildly annoyed at what is usually a too-early launch; the other part is excited that the holidays are approaching.   With the season come memories and hopes alike, traditions and celebrations, and a lot of spending.

The excitement that starts to escalate can change the darkest cynic into a carol singer!   People overextend their debt load to please dreaming children.  We look forward to old favorites like hot mulled wine, mince pie, Tom & Jerry’s and Hot Buttered Rum.   Yum!

My thoughts always go down the memory path to scenes and traditions I love to recall.   One of the things I notice is how patterns shift and change over the years – first there are the holidays one remembers as a child.   Then there were all new patterns in those middle holiday years with one’s own youngsters.   Then third, the time arrives when children have been launched, have their own lives and families, and you get to choose new approaches!

The possibilities seem endless. Now we can put our preferences first and add some creative twists to the old patterns.  One can stay or travel, one has options to choose from; children will do the hosting now, and you get invited!  Wow!

It can be tough to notice some favorite traditions that somehow didn’t survive the generational transitions. Then, on the other hand, there were some routines that weren’t so hot and can just be dropped!   Watching the kids establish their own patterns is not only fascinating, but also a relief.  When you spot some things that came directly from what you taught and modeled for them, it feels great!

It bothers me when the Christmas elements appear way too soon (for my taste) – like when you can’t find a November birthday card because all the Christmas and New Year cards are already up.  Or it’s barely into November and Christmas carols have taken over airspace... 

The Santa wish lists these days are truly frightening!  A telephone is really no longer a telephone.  It’s an expensive hand-held computer with a phone AP, and everyone wants the latest model.   Brace yourself!  Don’t expect Thank You notes, they only know how to text!  Expect it in bizarre twists of the English language.   When you get a receipt for a gift purchase now, it usually includes a special additional “gift return receipt” in anticipation of the gift being un-cool!  Dylan was right: the times they are a-changing.

When that “third phase” kicks in, unencumbered planning is great!  A favorite new memory is about one lovely holiday away on a winter coastline with solitude, peace and quiet to read and write, no boxes to wrap or young children to please that time!  Another?  Just home with no chores, then off to a son or daughter’s place to join them for the holiday dinner!

There are some hide-bound politicians out there who last season were all upset because media had begun using “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”   The goal?   It was to avoid offending or favoring, and to level the playing field.  Sounds goodbut what a ruckus...

So, what’s the point?  Only that it is good to notice that holidays come in many guises and can please or frustrate. Our practices and roles shift over time, just as we change and shift, over time.   Each generation brings some old things along from their past and adds new things to their liking.  

If we are not flexible, we will be left behind!   (...which is different from being occasionally left alone to do your own thing, without having to do the dishes!)

Happy Holidays, one and all!


Zoë Tummillo is a Business & Marketing Consultant, Trainer, Commercial Writer, dba COMMUNICATION CONCEPTS, in private practice since 1974.   In addition to Commercial work, she writes “Senior Momentum:  A Series of Situations”; “Pieces of My Path”©. essay memoirs of growing up first generation Italian American; and Senior Momentum:  Front And Center!©. To contact her: email: