Marian McQuade, a West Virginia mother of 15, first began her campaign for a new holiday, National Grandparents Day, in 1970. Three years later, her home state celebrated the first Grandparents Day in the nation. And in 1978 it became an official holiday after being signed into law by President Jimmy Carter.
According to the original proclamation, the purpose of Grandparents Day is “to honor grandparents, to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children’s children.”
Sometimes our relationships with the grandparents in our lives are great and other times they can be strained. But Scripture, like the proclamation, tells us to honor one another and be devoted to one another in love (Romans 12:10).
So whether celebrating and being thankful for grandparents is easy or difficult, and whether you are near or far away from the grandparents in your life, here are ten ideas to help our kids (and us!) carry out the Biblical encouragement to honor them in a special way!
10 Ideas for Celebrating Grandparents Day
1. Record a video with things you and your kids love about them or with your children singing a favorite song and then send via email or text message.
2. Bake and bring them a special treat. If they live far away, you can have fruit or flowers delivered or even send cookies in the mail!
3. Reminisce over a family photo album or play old family movies if you can. This is something my grandmother loved to do when my kids were little and they had so much fun listening to her stories about growing up in Depression-era America.
4. Play cards or board games or do a puzzle with a grandparent. This is often a great way to connect with a grandparent who may be the quieter sort and not want to have long conversations. And if your kids have a grandparent or great-grandparent with memory loss who struggles to hold a conversation, many times they can still remember how to play board games from their childhood and are capable of doing puzzles. This is often what my kids would do with my grandmother in the last years of her life when she was living with the effects of dementia. They played a lot of Scrabble and Sorry together!
5. Pay the grandparents in your life a visit! This is especially important if you don’t see them often or if you have a great-grandparent that is in a nursing home or assisted living. They love a thoughtful visit! When I was a kid, I always enjoyed going to see my great-grandma in the nursing home. She would set out special treats for us (Hershey’s Kisses and colored pillow mints) and would hang up the pictures we colored with great fanfare.
6. If they aren’t close enough to visit, Skype with grandparents or spring a surprise “FaceTime” on them – my parents love this! Prep your kids to wish them a Happy Grandparents Day and then share with them something they love about what their grandparents do for them or a reason they are thankful to have Grandma or Grandpa in their life.
7. Surprise them with a “party” celebrating them as a grandparent. Serve their favorite foods and play their favorite music. Hang homemade decorations and put on a play or a skit. This may only work if you’re geographically close, but you can definitely get creative!
8. Make a card (simple but effective!). Write or doodle a Scripture verse that describes a character quality you admire in your grandparent or write out Scripture as a prayer, decorate it and send or give it to them!
9. Whether you’re near or far, arrange for grandparents to have a “Storyhour” about their childhood. There are some really neat things your kids will learn from the older generation! You can search online for questions to ask or just let them talk. Don’t forget to record it as a keepsake!
10. Adopt a grandparent by reaching out to your church, community center or nursing home to find out if there are older people you can connect with in honor of Grandparents Day. You could help them with shopping, listen to their stories, or assist them with yard work. Grandparents Day is a great chance to honor all grandparents, especially those who may not be very geographically close to their own kids and grandkids.
I hope these ideas give you inspiration for creatively honoring the grandparents in your life on Grandparents Day this year!