Way back in 1956, West Virginia mother Marian McQuade was helping her community organize a celebration for its citizens over 80 years of age when she was made aware of many nursing home residents who seemed to have been forgotten by their families. McQuade decided there should be a special holiday dedicated to all grandparents, and in 1973, West Virginia became the first state in the union to have such a day. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter declared Grandparents Day an official national holiday to be celebrated every year on the first Sunday after Labor Day.
The purpose of Grandparents Day is twofold, to give grandparents the opportunity to express their love for their grandchildren, and to help children recognize the strength, guidance, and wealth of information that older people can offer. Grandparents have unique life experience to draw upon for their advice, which is often received better than similar advice coming from a child’s parent.
How will you celebrate Grandparents Day this year? If your grandparents are like most, the celebration doesn’t have to be big. Most grandparents would be happy just to spend some special time together with their grandchildren. The activity can be anything your grandparents enjoy, or something they enjoy doing specifically with their grandchildren. Some venues host annual Grandparents Day celebrations; check your local city guide to see if there are events in your community that your grandparents would enjoy attending with you. Maybe your grandfather really enjoys playing checkers with you, and your grandmother loves to get together in the kitchen and bake. Buy a new checkers game or matching aprons to mark the occasion.
The most cherished gifts are those that come from the heart, so consider making something special for your grandparents this year instead of purchasing a gift from the store. Here are some gift ideas to get you started:
- Call on mom and dad for help in gathering pictures and mementos of your grandparents’ lives and put together a “this is your life” presentation or personalized photo gift.
- Compile a video of all the family members sharing their favorite memory involving the grandparents.
- Make a list of all the qualities you admire about your grandparents, what makes them special to you, and specific things you’ve learned from them.
- Write a poem for your grandparents and frame it.
- Make a batch of their favorite treats and wrap them in a decorative tin.
- Put together a “Tell Me” notebook for your grandparents, and write open-ended questions on each page such as, “Tell me what a typical day was like for you in high school”.
- Get a special puzzle to work with your grandparents or a new board game or card game.
- If you don’t live near your grandparents, you can still honor them on this special day with a special letter or greeting card, a phone call, a floral delivery, or a video call.
Your grandparents are very special people, and they deserve a special day, so be sure to remember them this Grandparents Day and let them know how much they are loved.