20 Activities and Traditions That Have Been Lost to the Changing Times

As the world evolves and people march forward into the digital age, many activities and traditions that were once cherished and encouraged have now been forgotten. Sadly, some of these are lovely and important parts of our history. These include writing letters, going to drive-ins, listening to vinyl records, and more. Read on and join us as we reminisce through some forgotten gems of human interaction, tradition, and connection!

Making it Through an Entire Dinner

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Nowadays, it’s a sad fact that people no longer take the time to enjoy a full meal without rushing. Instead of relaxing, chatting, and spending time with family and friends they’re dining with, people eat quickly while doing other things, such as checking their phones, going on social media, or watching TV. However, it’s best to remember how important it is to slow down and appreciate meal time, the food, and the people you’re with.

Penning Personal Letters

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The age of technology has slowly but surely veered us away from the tradition of writing letters. Today, fewer and fewer people are taking the time to sit down, write their messages, and send them through the mail; instead, we communicate via texts, social media, and emails. Sadly, the loss of this tradition also means the loss of deep and personal communication with others. Writing letters, after all, shows someone how much you care and appreciate them because of the time and effort you put into writing your message.

Delighting in the Afternoon Tea Experience

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The tradition of afternoon tea is when people gather for a relaxing break with tea, snacks, and conversation. However, this isn’t as common today as it used to be. People are always in a rush and don’t seem to have time to unwind and build meaningful connections with people. It’s all about the hustle and bustle now, and perhaps, for everyone’s mental health, this is a tradition we must bring back.

Enjoying a Movie Night at the Drive-in

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In the past, drive-ins were a favorite hangout spot for families and couples. According to the New York Film Academy, Richard Hollingshead, the owner of the first patented drive-in, said that drive-ins are places where “the whole family is welcome, regardless of how noisy the children are.” At some point in American history, there were over 4,000 drive-ins in the country. Unfortunately, drive-ins had to close because of rising costs, lost appeal, and the need to make more money by selling land.

Dancing at Community Gatherings

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Back in the day, community dances were popular and sought-after pastimes. These brought people from around the neighborhood to dance, chat, and have a good time. However, today, more and more people dislike the idea of going out and socializing, preferring their phones or social media over real-life interaction.

Getting Fresh Milk Delivered by the Milkman

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Milk delivery, or the milkman, is a unique and essential part of the history of the United States, and it all began with industrialization. During this time, people were moving to more urban areas, preventing them from raising their family cows for milk. So, to satisfy their need, people began ordering from local dairy farmers, which led to the milkman’s creation. As years went on and as people moved to farther and farther areas, fresh milk delivery became too costly; with the option for cheaper store-bought milk in cartons, people ditched the milkman for the more affordable alternative.

Tuning Into Radio Programs

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In the past, people enjoyed listening to radio programs for entertainment, news, and storytelling. Families would gather around the radio and listen to music and news bulletins. But nowadays, with the rise of TV and digital media, not many people listen to the radio anymore.

Using Shared Telephone Lines or Party Lines

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An article published by the New York University explains, “The party line could connect everyone in the same community—often rural—along one phone line.” This means that others could listen and practically eavesdrop on their neighbors’ conversations. While it connected people and provided a means of communication, it also blurred the boundaries of privacy. The dislike for the breach in privacy, technological advancements, and the availability of private phone lines soon rendered the party line service obsolete.

Collecting and Keeping Green Stamps for Possible Rewards or Freebies

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People used to collect green stamps whenever they shopped, and the most popular ones in the US were the S&H Green Stamps. These are special stamps one gets when purchasing to get free stuff later. Stores usually give these out to encourage people to keep buying from them—like a loyalty program. However, there are many ways to reward customer loyalty, like digital points systems or immediate rewards.

Enjoying and Participating in Saturday Matinees

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Saturday matinees used to be a popular tradition where families and children could go to the movies together on weekend afternoons. It was affordable and a beloved pastime for people of all ages. However, this tradition has become less common due to changes in movie distribution, streaming services, and other activities.

Producing Soap from Scratch

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In the past, making soap was a domestic activity that required using natural ingredients such as fats and lye mixed together in household kitchens. Nowadays, soap-making has become less common due to the convenience of purchasing soap from stores. No one makes their own soap anymore because people prioritize saving time and effort.

Going on Scenic Sunday Drives

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People, especially couples and families, used to take leisurely car trips on Sundays for relaxation and enjoyment. They’d get in their cars, explore scenic routes, and cruise around town. It’s their way of spending quality time together after a week of being caught up at school or work. Sadly, people have fuller and busier schedules today, and the roads are packed with traffic, making Sunday drives practically non-existent.

Purchasing Items Through Door-To-Door Salespeople

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It was common to see salespeople knocking on doors, trying to sell their products to potential customers. Tri-County Times shares, “Whether it was a vast array of brushes, vacuum cleaners or encyclopedias, door-to-door sales were quite common in the 1950s and 1960s.” However, with the advancement of technology and changes in how people shop, this approach to sales has become less popular. The rise of e-commerce has allowed people to shop for what they need from the comfort of their homes, making the need for door-to-door salespeople obsolete.

Grooving to Vinyl Tunes and Records

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In the past, vinyl records were the primary medium for enjoying music at home. After some time, though, CDs became a popular format or avenue for listening to music. Later, technological advancements allowed for more on-the-go options, such as MP3 players or iPods. Today, music is even more accessible through streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music.

Donning Your “Sunday Best” Outfit for Church or Important Events

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In the past, people dressed up in their finest clothing for special occasions, especially during religious services on Sundays. This practice was known as wearing your “Sunday best.” LanGeek Dictionary explains, “The phrase conveys a sense of dressing up or making an extra effort to look one’s best for a particular event, such as a wedding, a job interview, or any situation where a more formal or distinguished appearance is desired.”

The Non-negotiable Existence of Maître D’s in Restaurants

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Maître d’s, who were once responsible for handling reservations, seating guests, and ensuring smooth restaurant operations, are becoming increasingly obsolete. Today, there are fewer and fewer headwaiters or hosts in restaurants. However, maître d’s were once an indispensable part of fine dining establishments; they were famous for their amiability, professionalism, and ability to make each and every guest feel special. Although they were non-negotiables before, the rise of technology-based booking and management systems makes them basically unneeded today.

The Importance of Being Polite and Having Good Manners

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Social etiquette was highly valued and believed to be a show of respect, consideration, and kindness toward others. One way this manifested was through having good and proper manners, like saying “please” and “thank you,” holding doors open for others, and more. However, as society changes and people communicate more through digital means, manners don’t seem as important to some anymore.

Going for Sophisticated and Smart Fashion Styles

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Dressing smartly isn’t as common today as it was before for several reasons. For one, more and more workplaces are becoming accepting of casual clothes because they believe that comfort is more important than looking fancy or formal. Aside from this, social media also plays a huge role, as personal style and self-expression are becoming increasingly highlighted in society. Lastly, money-wise, people prefer cheaper and easier-to-wear clothing over dressing up nicely or formally.

Making a Home-Cooked Meal and Sharing It With Family, Friends, and Neighbors

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According to Faithward, “Food is a great way to build and deepen relationships. It can make strangers feel welcome, friends feel loved, and people feel like they belong to a community.” Sadly, people nowadays are becoming more and more preoccupied with work and other life stressors, preventing them from having the time to make homemade food for themselves—let alone their neighbors. Plus, some people might think receiving food from others is burdensome, especially if they don’t want to eat what you’ve prepared.

Opting for Cloth and Reusable Diapers Instead of Disposable Ones

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The slow disappearance of this tradition or activity is attributed to one thing: inconvenience. Imagine having to wash each and every cloth diaper whenever your baby pees or poops! It’s time-consuming and would require a lot of effort from you. The convenience of disposable diapers no doubt overshadows the so-called saving you can do when using cloth diapers.

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20 Things You’re Doing That Make You a Bad Neighbor

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People have different personalities; that’s a fact. When you move somewhere with a tight-knit community, you will get to know many people who will either clash with your personality or make you feel like you’ve found a new friend. However, no matter what it is, remember to establish boundaries. If you don’t, you might soon see a lot of bad blood between you and other people in the community!

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20 Christian Practices That Confuse and Puzzle Others

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All regions differ in some way. Catholics collect saint cards and plan their vacations around religious sights, and Buddhists believe in karma and reincarnation. Like them, Christians also practice some things that are simply unheard of or puzzling for others. They practice tithing, cast out demons, and more!

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Author: Karen Danao


Karen is a writer and also a marketing and advertising professional. Beyond the keyboard and the screen, she is someone who’s out to enjoy every bit that life has to offer!

Poetry, philosophy, history, and movies are all topics she loves writing about! However, her true passion is in traveling, photography, and finding common ground to which everyone from different cultures can relate.