There’s nothing as genuine as the smile of a grandparent holding a newborn grandbaby. From that moment, a lifelong bond is formed. There are many ways to strengthen that important relationship, including celebrating National Grandparents Day on Sunday, 12 September 2021.
How Did Grandparents Day Get Started?
This year will mark the 43rd year that Grandparents Day has been observed in the United States, but its founding didn’t come easily. In 1978, after almost 9 years of lobbying from citizens, President Jimmy Carter officially proclaimed the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day.
The decision was influenced by dedicated people who believed the nation should revere grandparents and the elderly. In 1961 Jacob Reingold, head of the Hebrew Home nursing home, honored grandparents for their important role in the lives of families. It became an official holiday in the borough of the Bronx by 1963. In 1969 Russell Capper, a 9-year-old boy, sent President Richard Nixon a letter asking him to create a holiday to celebrate grandparents. He received a “thanks, but no thanks” letter of rejection from Nixon’s secretary. Michael Goldgar spent thousands of dollars of his own money to lobby for the holiday, and in 1973, mother and housewife Marian McQuade convinced politicians in West Virginia to proclaim the first Grandparents Day in the state. She continued to lobby for national observance until it was finally proclaimed. She was later named the founder of Grandparents Day.
Fun Facts about Grandparents Day
- Since 1978 at least 22 countries have adopted Grandparents Day.
- Poland has celebrated a separate Grandmothers Day and Grandfathers Day since 1964.
- The beautiful, blue flower the forget-me-not is the symbol of Grandparents Day.
- In 2021 Pope Francis announced the World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly to be celebrated each year on the fourth Sunday of July.
- In the United States, about 4 million greeting cards are sent each year for Grandparents Day.
The Purpose of Grandparents Day
The connection between grandparents and grandchildren is unlike any other relationship. Science shows that grandparents live longer and kids are more emotionally resilient when they spend time together. Close inter-generational relationships also help kids to have a stronger sense of personal identity. Speaking of grandparents, Pope Francis said, “They remind us that old age is a gift and that grandparents are the link between generations, passing on the experience of life and faith to the young.”
How Do You Celebrate Grandparents Day?
The whole family can be involved in planning Grandparents Day activities, from a fun get-together to Zoom or FaceTime calls. The possibilities are endless. For creative ideas, check out the following articles.
These suggestions are great for Grandparents Day, but they are also ideal throughout the year.
What do you know about your grandmother? Here’s some questions you can ask your grandma to get to know her better.
One way to honor grandparents is to talk about their family heritage.
A how-to article about staying connected with grandparents and helpful tips for using the Family Tree app to save grandparent stories for generations to come.
No matter how much distance lies between families, this article explains ways to stay connected.
What Halloween costumes did your grandparents wear? A discussion could lead to some entertaining stories.
Learn what people from all over the world call their grandmas.
Make lasting memories on Grandparents Day by sharing favorite old-time songs, creating a new tradition, or making up jokes with your grandparents. If you have fun together, it won’t matter whether you’re together in one place or meeting virtually. And don’t forget to record those precious memories on FamilySearch Memories!
Source: Family Search