If you don’t have Sunday, September 12th circled on your calendar, do it now. We’ll wait.
It’s National Grandparent’s Day, and it’s a day you don’t want to forget. Grandparents worldwide form the backbone of many families, sharing wisdom from the past, hope for the future, and a seemingly endless supply of love, kindness, and hard candies! Your parents may play an important role in your child’s lives and Grandparent’s Day is a reminder to be mindful of their support and a way to teach children about their role in the family.
What is Grandparent’s Day?
You may not know what Grandparent’s Day is. Unlike Mother’s and Father’s Day, it doesn’t carry the same stature. We’re here to change that because grandparents deserve a dedicated day to be honoured and celebrated.
Officially, the intent of Grandparent’s Day in Canada is “to acknowledge their importance to the structure of the family in the nurturing, upbringing and education of children.” First celebrated in 1995, the day is a non-commercial celebration of the love that grandparents have showered you with over the years.
Whether you’re looking for some unique inspiration to celebrate your grandparents or want to help your children give back to their grandparents, here are a few thoughtful ways to make this September 12th extra special.
Make a Scrapbook
Take a trip down memory lane and make a scrapbook that inspires storytelling and shared experiences. Gather a collection of images of your kids with your parents, with other family members, or just by themselves. Personalize the scrapbook by having your child write notes and share their feelings about each snapshot and what they remember most.
Or take a different approach and curate the scrapbook with the grandparents. Request that grandparents gather their photographs from their life and spend Grandparent’s Day creating a timeline of their life, asking them to tell the stories behind each snapshot. Consider asking other family members to contribute photos and anecdotes to record in the scrapbook. Each year, add new pictures and stories to the scrapbook as your family grows.
Children will love the experience of seeing how their grandparents looked when they were younger. Ask them to point out any similarities between the pictures and their lives today.
Make Matching T-shirts
Forget the generic “#1 Grandpa” or “World’s Greatest Grandma” coffee mugs; make a custom t-shirt instead.
Establish a tradition of wearing your matching shirts each year. Have your kids draw a picture of them adventuring with their grandparents. Snap a photo and print it on a shirt. Or, find your favourite picture of the kids with their grandparents and get shirts printed for everyone. The options are endless for photo crafts; personalized mugs, magnets, or blankets all make great keepsakes as alternatives to t-shirts. Just remember that these projects sometimes require a week or more for printing, so plan ahead.
Grandparents will love sharing their favourite hobby, so use the day to make it happen. It is beautiful to witness your parents pass their wisdom to your kids, just like they may have done with you.
Maybe it’s a piano lesson, baking their time-honoured cookie recipe, or sharing the secrets behind the greenest thumbs on the block! These shared teachings are what make family histories so rich; perhaps you or your children may discover a new interest, continuing a tradition in the footsteps of a grandparent!
Gift a Coupon Book
Come together as a family to make a coupon book of chores, activities, and other creative ideas that your grandparents can redeem throughout the year. Maybe there are coupons for cutting their grass, helping them use their iPad, or playing some chess together. Better yet, leave some coupons blank, leaving space for the grandparents to ask for acts of service that they need the most but may not always ask for.
The book is a gift that keeps on giving, ensuring that the time spent together on Grandparent’s Day continues all year long.
Love From a Distance
Maybe you don’t live close to your grandparents and still want to celebrate. Carve out time to phone, FaceTime, or Zoom with them on the day, and think about ways to make the call extra special. Perhaps mail their personalized t-shirts or some fun themed props that all attendees can wear on the call to create a virtual Grandparents Day fiesta!
Consider other fun ways to share your love from afar. Re-kindle a snail mail chain, sharing letters back and forth filled with stories, pictures, and life updates. Instead of a traditional scrapbook, consider curating a yearly video slideshow of images, home videos, and shout-outs from family members to send on Grandparent’s Day. You can also host a remote movie night with all family members (bonus points if you all wear matching pajamas).
Be prepared to invest a little time to teach any new technologies involved in your distanced Grandparent’s Day celebrations.
Honour Your Grandparents
We understand that grandparents may have passed away. If you are at a point in your grieving process that you feel you can celebrate their memory, there are many ways to do it.
Bring flowers to their gravesite or gather the family together and share memories over a meal that your grandparents would have loved. You could also show some love to other grandparents who feel a little lonely or isolated by visiting an assisted living centre (be sure to check health & safety protocols first), or volunteer for meal services for seniors.
A Day Worth Celebrating
Consider that with back-to-back lockdowns, you’ve probably seen each other a lot less over the past 18 months; grandparents are likely eager to bring the family back into their regular folds of life. Make this Grandparent’s Day count by making up for all that lost time!
It is about quality time, not lavish gifts. It’s about celebrating the connections between generations. It is a time to focus on what matters – sharing quality time. No matter how you celebrate, we hope it’s memorable!