We all know about Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, but grandparents need love and attention too. National Grandparents Day is observed on the first Sunday of September after Labor Day. It’s an occasion for young and old to honor each other, as well as an opportunity for all generations to engage in civic activities.
How can you celebrate your grandparents? Well, the obvious choice is to take them out for lunch at your local Sipipa, order food to be delivered to their house, or give them a Sipipa gift card! But you can also visit your grandparents, call them on the phone, buy a card or a gift, or encourage your children to make a handmade card for their grandparents. In the U.S., nearly 4 million greeting cards are sent each year on National Grandparents Day. But no matter what you do, we encourage you to reach out and use this day as a great opportunity to express your appreciation and love.
A Day for Family
National Grandparents Day began to help children become aware of the strength, information and guidance older people can offer. However, it’s exact origins are a bit unclear.
Some say the official holiday was first proposed in the 1970s by Atlanta resident Michael Goldgar after he made numerous trips to visit his aunt in a nursing home. In 1969, at the age of 65, Goldgar began a seven-year campaign that included 17 trips to meet with legislators in Washington, D.C., and $11,000 of his own money to lobby in support of creating the holiday.
Goldgar said he realized “most elderly were treated as burden by their children and grandchildren, and he thought of earlier times when the elderly were a source of wisdom and the nucleus of a family.”
A Legacy Carried Out by Children and Grandchildren
However, most people bestow credit for creating the holiday to Lucille Herndon McQuade of West Virginia. She initiated support at the grassroots level, and throughout the 1970s, McQuade educated people about the important contributions senior citizens made (or would be willing to make if simply asked). She and her husband Joseph, who were married for 60 years, had 15 children, 43 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.
McQuade also urged people to “adopt” a grandparent — not for material giving, but to create a lifetime of experience. Regarding the proposed holiday, she envisioned families enjoying small, private get-togethers, gathering larger groups together for family reunions, and even creating large community events. It would be a day of giving; sharing hopes, dreams, and values; and setting an example while advocating for future generations.
Regardless of who gets credit for initiating the holiday, National Grandparents Day was finally signed into law by President Jimmy Carter. McQuade received a phone call from the White House to advise her of the presidential proclamation signed on Sept. 6, 1979, to make the day official.
In part, the proclamation reads:
“We all know grandparents whose values transcend passing fads and pressures, and who possess the wisdom of distilled pain and joy. Because they are usually free to love and guide and befriend the young without having to take daily responsibility for them, they can often reach out past pride and fear of failure and close the space between generations.”