15 Wonderful Things Your Grandparents Did That We Should Start Doing Again

Nowadays we can download apps in a snap, edit videos on our phones, and find and play music in a matter of mere seconds. With all that convenience, however, comes sacrifice…and we’ve sacrificed some life skills that would still be useful today!

The ability to iron clothes…really well!

Yes, ironing. This concept may seem foreign to 20-somethings but before the days of polyester and other forgiving, jersey-type fabrics, just about everything under the sun had to be ironed. I mean, who even has a bottle of starch these days?

The motivation to get all dressed up, even to do just “ordinary” stuff

Today, people go grocery shopping in “comfy” clothes which can mean anything from sweatpants to…well…worse. Much worse. In our parents and grandparents time, going out in public meant putting on your best. And at the airport? People downright dressed up to fly! Air travel was actually considered a special – and exciting – occasion.

Cooking and preparing meals “from scratch”

No one ever said baking a cake “from scratch” because box mixes didn’t exist back in the day. Our grandparents learned how to cook from a young age since there was little frozen cuisine or ready-made food available. In this way, recipes were passed out for generations. While some people in their 20s and younger love to cook, it’s no longer something that everyone is required to learn thanks to an ample supply of alternatives.

Sewing, crocheting, quilting and darning

What do you do when you have a hole in your underpants? You probably throw them away. Your grandma, on the other hand, probably would’ve gone into her readily-available sewing box and darned up that hole in a snap.

Navigating a real-life map

Without that friendly Google lady’s voice guiding you! Reading a classic map is no small feat. Refolding one is arguably even harder!

Hosting dinner parties

Hosting a dinner party meant inviting friends you knew in advance, preparing a three course meal, and pulling out all the stops for the purpose of a good time. How much fun would this be to do nowadays? Especially if your friends came dressed up!

Canning food for the winter

Growing your own food and canning the stuff you can’t eat while it’s fresh is a huge money saver, and canning got people through rationing during the Great Depression and two major World Wars. Though in recent years with our struggling economy canning has seen a bit of a comeback, it’s not as common as it once was. If you’re interested in learning more, click on the link below!NPR.org

Connecting with friends…and potential dates…without the buffer of the internet

Meeting someone in line at a store and asking them out on a date is almost unheard of in the digital age, but that’s how your grandparents were forced to connect back before match.com and the bevy of other sites we have at our service nowadays.

Gorgeous cursive handwriting

Our grandparents were forced to learn cursive, and while some of them may have loathed the process (…in elementary schools there were quite literally handwriting tests and grades) the results of studying how to write as well as the English language resulted in some fairly fabulous letters!


John Olson, Saigon 1967In the days of mom-and-pop stores and tradespeople, there was a lot more wiggle-room when it came to price. Today, we’ll haggle when it comes to the price of a used car, or we’ll negotiate our rent, but in our grandparents’ day you might’ve been able to talk your way into a deep discount on a cocktail dress or even a bottle of perfume!

Composing beautiful, coherent letters

Before the luxury of email and texting, messages to a friend who lived in another state might be more than a simple “miss u” text. Also, there was no luxury of sharing photos on Facebook so a good letter from an old friend might include a poem-worthy description of your latest crush. Our grandparents were wordsmiths because they had to be.

Memorizing important telephone numbers

Back before mobile phones, it’s likely that your grandparents knew their family and friends’ numbers by heart. How quickly we’ve forgotten how to memorize a stream of seven digits now that we have our handheld address books with us at all times.

Dancing…really dancing.

tumblr.comFrom the Fox Trot to the Twist, it’s likely your grandparents knew how to couples dance without any of that “bump and grind” business we see today.


Not to mention the ability to listen! Without iPads or mobile entertainment devices and games, kids were kept entertained with tales from the past. In the photo above, G.A.R. vets P.R. Barker and John Houder from Fitzgerald, Georgia, tell war stories to kids on historic Boston Common in August, 1924.

Writing Thank-You notes for just about any reason…

Today, we write thank-you notes for interviews and some people write them for gifts, but thank-yous used to be something you sent following a business meeting or even a party that you enjoyed attending. A little courtesy can go a long way.

I think we all can use these gems from our Grammas and Grampas in our daily lives!

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