National Grandparents Day

grandparents day

National Grandparents Day is celebrated the Sunday after Labor Day; this year that is September 13th. This is a day to cherish and show appreciation to grandparents. Grandparents and grandchildren share a special bond. Grandparents often provide love, support, and wisdom to the loved ones in their family. This day has become a bigger celebration over time. The population of grandparents has grown significantly over recent years. In 2011, there were about 65 million grandparents and now in 2020 that are about 80 million grandparents. As this number of loved ones continues to grow, it is expected that the celebration will also expand over time.


In 1969, a nine-year-old boy, Russell Chapper, sent President Nixon a letter stating that there should be a date to recognize and celebrate our grandparents. Shortly after, he got a reply back from Nixon’s secretary thanking him for his time, but declining his request.

It was not until 1978 when this day was officially celebrated in the United States. President Jimmy Carter signed the proclamation and declared that the founder of National Grandparents Day was Marian McQuade, from Oak Hill, West Virginia. Her activism with older adults is what really got this day started. McQuade’s goal for this day was to educate the younger generations about all of the significant contributions of our elders throughout their years. She also encouraged youth to have conversations with the older population and really learn about their lives. She created the idea of “adopting” a grandparent. This allows you to spend time with an older adult who might not have grandchildren or children in their life. Some of the older generations might not have grandchildren, but they still have important wisdom to share with those around them. This is a great way for some older adults to experience grandparent’s day that might not otherwise be able to.


Ways to Celebrate

There are many great ways to show your appreciation to grandparents on this day, however, the very best way is with quality time. Whether it be a visit, phone call, or video chat, grandparents will always love being in your presence and just seeing your smiling face. It is important to cherish the time you can spend with your grandparents while you are able to.

Other great ways to show your appreciation would be to do things like writing them a letter, sending them a card, helping them out with certain tasks, or even by “adopting” a grandparent. There are many ways that you can celebrate the older adults in your life that you love. This is a day that you can make your own. Each family might celebrate differently. 

For individuals who might not have grandparents who are still living, this is still a day that should not go unnoticed or uncelebrated. Your time this day could still be used to go visit the place they are buried. You could also just share some fun memories that you had with them while they were still here. Go through some old photos and just remember the times when they were still in your life.

Whether it be your grandparents or an older adult that you have “adopted” into your life, it is great to take some time on this day to show your appreciation and spread some love.

Author: Samantha Potocnik
Samantha is an intern at EVOLVE and a student at the University of Wisconsin River Falls.

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