How Baby Boomers Can Make Leap Day Count!

We baby boomers are aware that the clock is ticking. We’re definitely getting older, making the time we have left all the more precious. This year we’re granted the gift of a whole extra 24 hours on leap day on February 29th. Let’s not waste it! This year, leap day actually falls on a Saturday, giving everyone – including you boomers who are still working – a chance to celebrate.

I’m sharing some ideas originally posted in 2016, the last time we had a leap year, with some extra tidbits thrown in. Although there are countless things you can do on leap day, my only rule is that you don’t spend it like ever other day. Make it special.

By the way, this post is part of the #Gr8Blogs Leap Year 2020 Blog Hop. That means at the bottom of this post, you’ll find more inspiration and smiles from my favorite bloggers about how they’ll celebrate the extra day on February 29. Be sure and check them out.

So let’s get started!

Do Something New and Exciting

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut as you age. Do something different on this special day. Take a quick road trip or hike to somewhere you’ve never visited before. Go zip lining, take a glass blowing class, start singing lessons, try a new sport, or fly in a hot air balloon. Do something that makes you laugh, skip, dance, sing, and feel happy.

If you try something new and it doesn’t work out, just pretend it never happened. February 29 doesn’t really exist anyway, right?

Throw a Leap Year Party

Why not embrace the leap day theme with a fun party? Here are a few ideas:

  • If a big party sounds like too much work, keep it simple. Since leap year only comes every four years, you could have a small, intimate party just for four, with marinated chicken quarters, and four-cheese macaroni to fit in with the theme.
  • Serve Leap Year Cocktails developed in 1928 at the Savoy Hotel in London. Here are the ingredients:  2 ounces gin, 1/2 ounce Grand Marnier, 1/2 ounce sweet vermouth, and 1 dash fresh lemon juice. Just pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake well for 10 seconds and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Twist a piece of lemon peel over the drink and use for garnish.
  • Play classic songs about time like Time In a Bottle by Jim Croce, Time Is On My Side by The Rolling Stones, The Times They Are-a Changin’ by Bob Dylan, or As Time Goes By by Jimmy Durante. Or how about some songs from the Leap Year movie soundtrack? Songs could include Randy Edelman’s score, A Leap Year Promise, Nat ‘King’ Cole’s More and More Of Your Amor, and The Mamas and the Papas’ Dream A Little Dream Of Me.
  • Give out blank cards and ask guests to write where they would like to be in four years when leap day arrives again in 2024 and read them aloud.
  • If you and your guests are young at heart, play a game of leap frog or pretend to be leaping lizards. Or simply leap for joy! If you have grandchildren at your leap day party, they’ll love joining you.

Watch a Movie

An obvious choice for this special day is the movie, Leap Year. It’s a romantic comedy about a young woman played by Amy Adams who hears about an Irish leap day tradition encouraging women to propose to men. Of course, she decides to make a proposal, but you’ll have to watch the movie to find out what happens next.

I’m getting sidetracked, but did you know that there are all kinds of bizarre rules centered around this proposal tradition, which became popular around Europe? In Scotland, tradition dictated that a man who refused a proposal on leap day could be issued a fine. According to Lonely Planet, “In Scotland women intending to propose are advised to wear a red petticoat visible to their love – perhaps to give them fair warning.” Really? So the men could run for their lives? Defeats the whole purpose of making a tradition about empowering women to propose, if you ask me. Makes you wonder how many Scots made themselves scarce on leap day. Maybe a hunting trip with the boys became a leap day tradition? In Denmark, men refusing a proposal had to present the woman with 12 gloves to give her several options to hide her ring-less finger. Thankfully, these traditions have become an amusing historical tidbit at this point. Women aren’t afraid to propose themselves anymore – no red petticoat involved.

Okay, back to movies. To be honest, Leap Year didn’t get the best reviews. So, you could enjoy your other favorite movies about time like Groundhog Day or Back to the Future. Or watch the funny 30 Rock’s “Leap Day” episode with cameos by Jim Carrey and Andie MacDowell on Hulu.

Pay it Forward

Use the extra 24 hours to make this day better for others.

Find something you’re passionate about and dive in to help out your community. Drop donations off at a food bank, help beautify your neighborhood, run an errand for an elderly person, or simply buy the person behind you in line a cup of coffee. Any random act of kindness will do.

Rediscover an Old Passion 

Take a creative leap. Maybe you let an old hobby or interest fall to the wayside because you never had enough time to pursue it. Perhaps you always wanted to write a book, learn a new language, or take up painting, photography, or gardening.

Here’s your chance to dive in with an extra 24 hours and get started on that project you never began or finished. Who knows, maybe you’ll keep it up after the day is done. If you happen to be retired, you’ll have time to do so.

Learn all about Leap Year

It may seem boring, but it’s kind of interesting to learn about how leap year originated and how  leap days keep our modern-day Gregorian calendar in alignment with Earth’s revolutions around the Sun.

There would be no need for leap years if Earth’s orbit took exactly 365 days. But the solar year is messy and inconvenient with 365.2422 days. That difference of 0.2422 per day may seem insignificant but, in time, adds up. For example, after three centuries, New Years Day would be in autumn. After six centuries, it would land in summer.

And wait, it gets even more complicated than that. Century years are not leap years unless they can be evenly divided by 400. The years 1700, 1800 and 1900 were not leap years, but 1600 and 2000 were. I know we boomers are supposed to exercise our brains but, admittedly, all this gives me a bit of a headache.

Here are some fun facts that take a little less brain power. Your chances of being born on a leap day are approximately 1 in 1500. People born on leap day are called leaplings. In most states, leaplings must wait until March 1st to be eligible for any age-specific privileges (ages 16, 18, 21). Two women have given birth to three leap day babies, according to the New York Daily News. Even more rare, the eighth premier of Tasmania, James Milne Wilson, was born on a leap day and died on a leap day in the 1800s, according to the World Heritage Encyclopedia.

Oh, I could go on and on. Maybe I’m weird, but the inner nerd in me finds this stuff kind of fascinating.

Chill and Relax

Maybe you’ll want to focus on you this leap day. We baby boomers can always use a massage for those aching muscles. And isn’t it hard to get enough sleep as you age? How about sleeping in or taking a luxurious mid-afternoon nap on leap day? Delightful.

Do whatever helps you relax. Write in a journal, take a bubble bath, read a book, or meet a friend for lunch.

Make a Four-Year Plan

Kick off the next four years with positive, forward-thinking. Leap days offer you the perfect chance to sit down and think about the four years ahead. Where do you want to be on the next leap day? What are your hopes for the next four years? What new things would you like to try?

Just for fun, make a list of things you’d like to accomplish by the time the next leap day arrives. Pull it out in 2024 and see how you did.

So, there you go. Try any one or more of these fun ideas and have an enjoyable, memorable, and inspirational leap day. Perhaps the most important thing to remember when planning activities is to make sure that you spend this special day with the people you love.

What will you do with your extra day? Please share in the comment section. But before you go… click over to more #Gr8Blogs for smiles and inspiration on ways to spend this precious gift of time.


Julie A. Gorges is the author of two young adult novels, Just Call Me Goody Two Shoes and Time to Cast Away and co-author of Residential Steel Design and Construction published by McGraw Hill. In addition, hundreds of her articles and short stories have been published in national and regional magazines, and she received three journalism awards from the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association while working as a newspaper reporter. Julie currently lives in southern California with her husband, Scott, and has two grown children and three grandchildren.

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14 Responses

  1. Carmela says:

    I love the idea of writing where you would like to be in four years on blank cards then reading them in 2024.

  2. James Milson says:

    Great ideas on how to observe Leap Day, Julie! I really liked the idea of coming up with a Four Year Plan to the next Leap Day. Nice! 🤠 🐻 ❤️

  3. Cat Michaels says:

    Oooooo. a Leap Day party! What a great idea! Love the creative menu ideas for 4’s! I’ve always felt sorry for anybody born on Leap Day but never knew they were called leaplings. I hope they feel special, not isolated -:D. My Saturday will be a mix of chilling after I spend the morning putting down a new garden bed…and then get a party together .

  4. These sounds like awesome ideas, Julie!

    Love the music and movie ideas. Throwing a party sounds like fun, too.

    I always think about those that celebrate their birthdays on Leap Day. Do they skip it or celebrate the day before or the day after. Ha! Loved your interesting facts you found on Leap Year.

    Chilling and relaxing was on a lot of people’s list. With it falling a a Saturday, it’s a perfect day to do whatever they want.

    The four year plan is a popular one, as well. Excited to give that one a try.

    Happy Leap Year, Julie. Enjoy your extra day. 🙂

  5. Julie says:

    Thats it – leap day party it is! I want one of the leap day cocktails 🙂

  6. Rebecca Lyndsey says:

    We had a lot of the same ideas! Great minds think alike! 😁

  7. Hi Julie, while reading this I had a few thoughts to add – on the playlist, Cyndi Lauper Time After Time, and movies, About Time starring Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy and Domhnall Gleeson, it’s fabulous.
    Great to see everyone coming up with similar ideas and their own special version of them. Fascinating bit of history about the eight Premier of Tasmania, I had no idea, thank you.

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