Celebrate National Grandparents Day

National Grandparents Day

Established in 1979, National Grandparents Day is designed to encourage generations to join together in celebration. The holiday is celebrated on September 8 and the theme for 2019 is “Dig In! Bringing Generations to the Table.”

History of Grandparents Day

Although the official holiday was established in 1979, Grandparent Day had its origins much earlier. In 1969, nine-year-old Russell Capper sent a letter to then President Richard Nixon suggesting that a day be set aside to recognize grandparents. He received a letter from President Nixon’s personal secretary, Rose Mary Woods, who explained that the President could only issue proclamations when a Congressional resolution authorizes him to do so. The idea languished until 1973 when Marian McQuade, who served on the West Virginia Commission Aging and the Nursing Home Licensing Board, campaigned in her state to set aside a day to recognize grandparents. Then-Governor Arch Moore proclaimed May 27, 1973 as Grandparent Day in West Virginia, the first state in the country to do so. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter established the first Sunday after Labor Day as Grandparents Day, starting in 1979. McQuade has long been considered the founder of the holiday.

Importance of Grandparent Day

One of the reasons McQuade pushed for a day to recognize grandparents was her recognition that many of the residents in nursing homes had been forgotten by their family. Some of the residents never received visitors and she felt there should be a day, similar to Mother’s and Father’s Day that recognized older adults as well. The purpose of the holiday is to honor grandparents, to give them an opportunity to show love for their children’s children and to help children become aware of what an older person can offer them, such as strength, information and guidance. Unfortunately, this holiday is often overlooked and does not get the attention from greeting card companies that other holidays may receive. This doesn’t mean that families shouldn’t take the time to celebrate, whether it is simply providing the older members of your family with flowers for Grandparents Day or you simply invite them over for dinner.

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Gift Ideas for Grandparents Day

Grandparents Day gifts do not have to be elaborate. Create a Grandchild Date of the Month Club by finding fun activities that are appropriate for each month that grandparents and children will enjoy. Your children will enjoy the one-on-one time as much as their grandparents will enjoy spending time with them. Create an “I Love You” pillow using fabric markers and a pillow-case. Let the children write their own message and decorate the pillow as they see fit. One of the most adorable Grandparents Day gifts is a life-sized hug. Have your child lie down on a giant sheet of paper with their arms outstretched. Trace around their upper body, head and arms to create a “hug” that can be rolled up and mailed. If your children are very small, use acrylic paint and canvas to create a footprint butterfly that their grandparents will treasure.

Grandparents Day Gifts for the Busy Parent

As much as you would like to give your parents a handmade project as a gift for your child’s grandparents on the holiday, you may not have the time to commit to such a project. There is nothing wrong with purchasing a gift, especially when it is easy to find Grandparents Day discounts. Many stores offer a wide range of Grandparents Day specials on grandparent-specific items. A mug that says “My favorite people call me Nana,” or a small photo album filled with pictures of the grandchildren are the perfect gift ideas for grandparents. You don’t want to forget grandpa when you search for Grandparents Day deals. A cup with “This grandpa takes his fun very seriously” or a baseball cap embroidered with “Grandpa” or “PapPap,” whatever name your children have chosen for him.


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