Sunday, September 12, 2021 is National Grandparents Day!
Celebrated on the first Sunday of September that falls after Labor Day of each year (in the USA), Grandparents Day is a national day set aside to remind younger generations about the important contributions senior citizens have made through the years.
This special day is a great time to remember and/or spend some time with a little bit of your family history.
It’s also a wonderful time to celebrate your grandparents, whether they are here with you or not. After all, you are who you are, in part because of their undeniable special bond with you.
West Virginia native Marian McQuade is the founder of National Grandparents Day. She championed for this national holiday for years. In 1970, she got West Virginia governor, Arch Moore to designate this special recognition of older adults in his state.
In 1973, Senator Randolph pushed the U.S. Senate to set aside a grandparent’s day as a federal holiday, but he had a difficult time persuading the senators and his resolution failed.
Marian McQuade then took her petitions for the special observance to each state. It took her three years, but she was eventually able to get forty-three states to recognize the importance of seniors.
She finally got a phone call from the White House, telling her that National Grandparents’ Day had been passed by a joint resolution of Congress, in 1978. President Jimmy Carter signed the federal proclamation that made it an official holiday (and greeting card companies rejoiced!).
“So many of these people are shut up and neglected, even though they have grandchildren living,” Marian later said. “I thought maybe if we had a Grandparents Day, some [residents] would get the love and attention they need so badly.”Grandparenteffect.com
What a wonderful legacy she was able to leave (she lived to be 91) the world and to so many people, young and old.
Just as with Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, the purpose of the public holiday, as stated in the preamble to the statute, is “to honor grandparents, to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children’s children, and to help children become aware of the strength, information, and guidance older people can offer.” – verywellfamily.com
Which Countries Celebrate Grandparents Day?
Other countries also celebrate the elders of each family on various days of the year.
These countries include:
- Hong Kong
- South Sudan
- United Kingdom
Although the National Grandparent’s Day in other countries might fall on different dates over the calendar year, the sentiment is the same – to have young people recognize the contributions of elderly individuals and celebrate them in future generations.
Ideas On How To Celebrate National Grandparents Day
1. Learn Something From Them
If your grandmother can make an amazing apple pie, National Grandparents’ Day is a great excuse to make one with her and learn how she does it. Or maybe your grandfather was a financial planner and you can spend some time learning about managing your own finances from him.
Whatever your grandparent is skilled at or has spent a lifetime learning – why not take the “free course” that they can offer you?
2. Go To Where They’ve Been
Perhaps your grandparent(s) have traveled extensively or have lived in several places. They why not travel to those places with them – virtually.
Take trips via Google Earth to where they grew up, where they got married, where they were during a war or their first job, etc.
It’s a great way to not only learn about your grandparent(s) experience of life and also a little bit about history and what the world they grew up in was like.
Their experiences and lessons learned could help you in your own life.
3. Unite Through Music
Just about everyone loves music and of course, we all love (for the most part) the music that we grew up with.
Your grandparent(s) are no different.
And who knows, you may find out that you really like some of their old time favorites.
4. Virtual Get Togethers
We can’t always be physically with our grandparent(s) but these days – there’s always a virtual way to do it.
Hopefully, your grandparents have Amazon’s Echo Show which makes it much easier for them to communicate with you (and vice versa). It’s not as complicated to use as Zoom or Skype.
If they don’t – well – now’s a good time to gift it to them.
5. Begin A New Tradition
Give your grandparent(s) the ultimate gift – the gift of your time on a regular basis.
Set up a weekly meetup with them. It could be just an hour out of your day or going out to lunch or coffee, whatever it is. For your grandparents, knowing that you are coming for a visit every Tuesday afternoon (as an example) can be a truly wonderful gift.
6. Make A Video
Years ago when my in-laws were in their mid to late 80’s, my husband decided to make a video interviewing them. The idea was to ask them questions about their lives and perhaps to learn something about them that he didn’t know.
It truly worked, he learned more about his parents from those interviews than he had learned in 50 years!
So go ahead, put together a series of questions and turn on that video camera (or cell phone) and begin the interview.
You may learn some amazing stories about your family, past and present.
7) Introduce Your Grandparents To Your Life
Take your grandparent(s) with you on a typical day. Running errands, working at home or just visiting some of your favorite places.
Sharing your world with your grandparent(s) can help them to understand what your life is like, what you are being exposed to and the joys and stresses that you go through on a regular basis.
Take them to your favorite coffee shop (if it’s safe these days due to Covid-19) or to your favorite park.
Even if you’re just staying home to stay safe, having them there with you to share in your day – can be of great benefit to you and to them.
8) Scrapbooking Can Be An Ongoing Project
It takes time and energy to put together a proper scrapbook – especially when you have lived so many years.
So gather the supplies and start going through all those boxes of photos with your grandparent(s) and jot down the stories associated with them.
I did this with my mother just before she passed away and it was so joyful to see her tell me all the stories of her family in Italy – people I never met but somehow have a connection with.
9) Remembering Your Grandparents
If your grandparents have passed away – then National Grandparents Day is a wonderful time to take a few moments to remember them. Just some ideas are…
- Go through some photos of them and their lives
- Spend time with your parents to talk about their parents
- Light a candle in their honor (maybe say a prayer)
- Talk to your children about your grandparents
All in all – if you are lucky enough to have your grandparent(s) here with you, then make an effort to spend time with them, learn from them and about them.
In some way, they have contributed to who you are today and a great way to becoming a better person is to understand where you came from.