Your grandparents were always the ones who told you yes when your parents said no. They were the ones who you always wanted to spend time with, even when you were embarrassed to be seen with your parents. Grandparents are there to provide us joy and wisdom, as they are some of the most experienced people that we grow up with.
Grandparents Day is a day to celebrate the grandparents of the world in honor of everything that they do for us throughout our childhood and adulthood.
What is Grandparents Day?
Grandparents Day is a national holiday that is celebrated throughout the world during different times of the year. In the United States, it falls on the first Sunday directly after Labor Day. While it’s not as heavily-marketed as Mother’s or Father’s Day, Grandparents Day is a special holiday to honor the grandparents of the world.
This national holiday gives children the opportunity to show their love and respect for their grandparents, as well as grandparent-like figures who are in their lives. This can mean creating memories through events or gifts.
Grandparents Day is also an opportunity for Grandparents to spend time with their children and their grandchildren. It gives grandparents the chance to share their life experience with their grandchildren, helping to guide them with information that only someone with that level of experience could have.
Most importantly, the day is there to commemorate the strength, guidance, and importance of grandparents. The initial vision for the holiday can be traced back to a grassroots campaign put together by Mrs. Marian McQuade.
The History of Grandparents Day
Just prior to Marian McQuade’s success in organizing Grandparents Day as a national holiday, a young, nine-year-old boy by the name of Russell Capper sent a letter to President Nixon in 1969, asking for a special day to be set aside for honoring grandparents. A letter returned to the boy from Nixon’s personal secretary Rose Mary Woods, stating that while the boy’s letter was greatly appreciated, the president could only create a proclamation regarding a special observance if Congress allowed him to. While Russell was not successful in his attempt, he was the first major piece of the puzzle in Grandparents Day history.
In 1973, at the urging of Marian McQuade, who was elected the Vice-Chair of the West Virginia Committee in 1971, Senator Jennings Randolph created a resolution for the Senate in hopes that they would make Grandparents Day a national holiday. At the time, Governor Arch Moore had already proclaimed Grandparents Day as a holiday for the state of West Virginia. Unfortunately, Senator Randolph’s resolution did not go very far and ended up failing while it was in committee. When Marian McQuade found out that Randolph’s resolution did not go through, she began organizing supporters and contacting politicians from each state, including senators, governors, and local congressmen.
Only three years later, Marian McQuade had obtained Grandparents Day proclamations from 43 of the 50 states, which she later handed over to Senator Randolph. Along with a slew of other senators, Randolph created a joint resolution to the senate for a request that the president issue an annual proclamation for National Grandparents Day on the Sunday after Labor Day. On August 3, 1978, Jimmy Carter signed a proclamation to create the National Grandparents Day.
The proclamation read:
“…to honor grandparents, to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children’s children, and to help children become aware of strength, information, and guidance older people can offer.”
Marian McQuade passed away in 2008, leaving behind 43 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
How to Celebrate Grandparents Day
Grandparents Day is celebrated differently all over the world, from Australia to Mexico to China and beyond. Though some countries have their own special celebrations, the idea remains the same.
If you want to celebrate National Grandparents Day with your grandparents this year, here are some wonderful ways to do so:
- Set up some time to talk and ask them to share stories with you. Grandparents have experienced a lot. They likely have a list of fascinating stories about your family or your heritage that you never knew. Use the day to make an effort to get to know your grandparents better!
- Create a playlist for them. If your grandparents aren’t tech-savvy, compile a list of some of their favorite songs from back in the day for them so that they can listen to them wherever they are!
- Scrapbook! Though we have moved into the digital age and most of our photos are stored on our phones or on computer hard drives, it is likely that your grandparents have tons of old photos stashed away. Plan some time out to organize or scrapbook those photos. Each photo has a story too, so you can probably make a whole day out of it!
- Does your family have a special family recipe? Use today to prepare and cook something with your grandparents.
Hear the official Grandparents Day song below!
Grandparents Day is an incredibly special day for individuals and communities alike to honor their grandparents and the legacies they live or have left behind. Though it may seem that we as a society often talk about how much old people need our help, it is truly us who could use the life lessons and experience from them.
This is why we celebrate Grandparents Day all around the world.If you are interested in learning more about this wonderful holiday, the Legacy Project has some amazing information on celebrating Grandparents Day within a community and why it is so important.