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Boomer Bonus Day

Gaye Anderson of Merrillville, Indiana, noticed that as she and her friends aged, they were talking more about their health and how they felt like pieces of themselves were falling apart. Anderson expressed, "the last thing we wanted to do was keep going to lots of birthday parties and reminding ourselves how we kept getting older each year." So, she came up with Boomer Bonus Day, a holiday to celebrate each year without the baggage of turning another year older. It was a way to celebrate without adding any years. April 1—the same date as April Fools' Day—was chosen for the holiday "because the whole thing gets to be a joke: the body goes—but the mind still thinks it's 21!"

Following World War II, the birthrate in the United States increased greatly. In 1946, 3.4 million babies were born, a 20% increase from the previous year. The upward trend continued and by 1954 over 4 million babies were being born each year. This continued to be the case for the next decade. In total, almost 77 million babies were born in the United States between 1946 and 1964, the years of the baby boom.

There are a few factors that contributed to the baby boom. For the 16 years preceding it, the Great Depression and World War II had gripped the nation, dissuading many women from having children. Following the war, when the depression had also subsided, many of these women joined younger women in having children. Not only were men now home to father children, but there was a newfound sense of hope and optimism that motivated couples to start families. Some historians have also posited that more people had babies in an attempt to outnumber the communists, as part of the Cold War effort.

Baby boomers were born to parents of the Greatest Generation. Many of these parents moved their families to the suburbs after starting them. The era was marked by a rise in consumer goods, wages, and credit use. As baby boomers grew into their teens, many responded to the issues of the day by building a counterculture and fighting for social and political justice. Some became hippies, some fought for civil rights, and some fought in the Vietnam War or protested against it.

How to Observe Boomer Bonus Day

If you are a baby boomer, celebrate the day with a party, similarly to as if it's someone's birthday! But take delight that another year doesn't need to be added to your age. When the holiday started, it was designed to be celebrated by anyone over 50, so if you are in that age bracket, even if you aren't a boomer, today is your celebration too! As baby boomers age and pass away, this holiday in its original sense will pass away too. But not only can those over 50 continue to celebrate it, but baby boomers can be celebrated. Learn more about their life experiences by reading a book about Postwar America or watching one of the best films from the 1950s, 1960s, or 1970s.

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