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When Did Grandparents Day Originate and 4 Best Ways To Celebrate It

What year did Grandparents Day start - A smiling senior couple sitting on a sofa with their grandchildren.

Once a year, we celebrate Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and in some states, Siblings Day. Every family member is recognized for one day, and the list of special days isn’t complete without Grandparents Day.

During Grandparents Day, we pay respect to all grandparents for all the remarkable things they have contributed to the family and society. But when did Grandparents Day originate? How do people celebrate it? If you’re an adult without kids, can you celebrate it with your senior parents? Continue reading to learn more.

When Did Grandparents Day Start?

When was Grandparents Day established - a granddaughter kissing her grandma.

Americans started celebrating Grandparents Day on a nationwide scale in 1978 when President Jimmy Carter officially signed a proclamation declaring the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day.

Two people contributed to making the history of Grandparents Day, and they are Jacob Reingold and Marian McQuade.

What year did grandparents day start?

Before Grandparents Day became a national holiday, a celebration to honor grandparents first occurred on September 16, 1961, at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale, which is now part of RiverSpring Living, a retirement community in Riverdale, NY.

Jacob Reingold, who worked at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale then, got inspired by a speech about the “new image of the aged” during the White House Conference on Aging in 1961.

This led him to the idea of celebrating grandparents in their retirement community. It got a positive response, and in 1963, it became an official holiday in the Bronx borough.

Meanwhile, Marian McQuade, who was working at West Virginia Commission on Aging in 1970, reached out to people with authority, business owners, religious and civic leaders, and politicians to campaign for Grandparents Day.

She pushed tremendous efforts to encourage everyone to set a special day to honor grandparents and their contributions. Finally, in 1973, Governor Arch Moore announced the first Grandparents Day in West Virginia.

When was Grandparents Day established?

Origin of Grandparents Day - a granddaughter hugging her grandma and giving her a handmade card.

It was in 1978 that Grandparents Day became an official holiday, and people throughout the country celebrated it.

On January 27, 1987, the Congressional Record attributed the creation of Grandparents Day to Jacob Reingold.

Now, Grandparents Day is celebrated on the first Sunday after Labor Day.

Who Started Grandparents Day?

The origin of Grandparents Day started with Jacob Reingold and Marian McQuade. Both people rally around to support seniors and their well-being. Throughout their career, both individuals worked closely with older people and were leaders in elderly care. They wanted the rest of the country to recognize senior citizens for their immense impact on society.

Jacob Reingold worked as the executive vice president of Hebrew Home from 1958 to 1995, while Marian McQuade worked with West Virginia Commission on Aging and was elected vice president in 1971.

McQuade strongly advocated the welfare of seniors. In 1956, she organized an event called the “Past 80 party,” where people past the age of 80 participated and enjoyed gospel music performances, games, and other activities in Richwood, WV. It has become an annual event since then and is celebrated every June.

Why Is Grandparents Day Celebrated?

When did Grandparents Day begin - a grandmother hugging her granddaughter, holding in her hand some flowers and a present.

Grandparents and older family members play a special role within the family. They help raise young children and make sure they grow up to be better and law-abiding people in society. Their significant contributions deserve a spot for a celebration.

People celebrate Grandparents Day for three reasons:

  • To honor grandparents

  • To allow them to bond with their grandchildren and show their affection

  • To make older people’s strengths, guidance, and information known among the younger generation

Apart from the parents and teachers, grandparents also take on the parental role for the younger family members. They guide them, teach them life lessons, and always listen whenever grandchildren need to talk about their good and bad feelings.

How To Celebrate Grandparents Day?

History of Grandparents Day - a woman and her daughter giving a present to her senior mom.

A close relationship between grandparents and grandchildren brings harmony to the family. It also benefits both sides since a good relationship between family members can improve health and well-being. For seniors, playing with their grandchildren can lessen the risk of depression and loneliness.

If you have kids and want them to get close to your parents (aka their grandparents) and enjoy a day of fun activities, we’ve rounded up the best ways to celebrate Grandparents Day.

1. Make it a family day

When did national Grandparents Day star | A family having a simple lunch party.

See if you can arrange a family get-together during this day. If your senior parents live in an assisted home, invite them to your house, and organize a simple lunch or dinner party. There’s no need to spend a lot of money to make this day memorable.

2. Enjoy a hobby together

Does your senior mom or dad love to paint? Experts say genes influence aptitude and talents, so why not let your children have a fun-filled day of painting with your parents? Whether it’s painting, cooking, or singing, your kids might end up loving a hobby that one of your parents extremely enjoyed and pursued when they were younger.

3. Share stories through photos

Photos are treasures that tell wonderful stories. Recently, people have been throwing the coolest and most charming photos of their grandparents on social media. These photos were vintage and captured during their younger years — and everyone was stunned!

Your grandkids may not know that their grandparents accomplished an incredible feat when they were younger; for instance, maybe they were soldiers and participated in stopping the war. If your senior loved one has kept old photo albums of their younger self, such as their wedding photos, bring out those for an overnight of storytelling.

4. Volunteer together to make a difference

Origin of Grandparents Day - seniors with young children volunteering to pick up the trash on the beach.

Volunteering is one of the best ways young children learn more about others. While you must teach your children to learn more about themselves, it’s equally important they understand others. Volunteering for a charity with their grandparents can impart knowledge and virtues to younger family members.

If you can’t organize any of these activities because your older parents don’t live nearby, no worries. You can do all of them online. You can arrange a virtual lunch or dinner party, a cooking showdown between your senior mom and your little daughter, or do virtual storytelling and volunteering activities together.

What Are The Best Gifts To Give on Grandparents Day?

Who started Grandparents Day - A senior man opening a gift given by his grandkids.

If you and your kids can’t meet with your senior parents on Grandparents Day, sending a gift is the next best way to show your love. So what gifts should you give your senior loved ones? Here are some treasurable gift recommendations from Amy’s Eden caregivers.

1. DIY kits

Whether it’s a do-it-yourself family tree, embroidery, candle making, or plant pot kits, your senior dear one will certainly have so much fun finishing a DIY project and hanging it on their wall as a decoration.

2. Books

Is reading a favorite pastime of your senior mom or dad? Check what book genres they are into. Gifting them a cookbook, a fiction book, or a gardening book they can read will surely make them productive on some days.

3. Flowers

When did Grandparents Day start - a daughter giving fresh flowers to her senior mom.

Fresh and colorful flowers are pleasing to the eyes and can also improve the mood around the home. They add a homey and cozy vibe to the living room. Giving flowers on Grandparents Day is a thoughtful way to remind your senior relatives that you’re always thinking of them.

4. eGift cards

When thinking of gifts, some people can be practical. Giving eVouchers is a suitable gift option since they’re something your senior loved one can use at any time. You also have a lot of selections for this, such as eGift cards to buy from online stores or their favorite coffee shop and gas gift cards.

5. Online courses

When did Grandparents Day begin - a senior wearing headphones and taking a technology course.

Online courses might be the last gift picks that would cross your mind, but they’re excellent presents for older people who want to learn something new. Online technology courses are popular for seniors wanting to learn how to use a smartphone or a tablet and be updated with the current technology trends.

If your senior relative loves meditation or yoga, several eLearning platforms offer beginner-friendly courses.

Find out what your loved one is eager to learn at the moment, and search for courses online. Platforms like Udemy, Skillshare, and Coursera have comprehensive library courses on almost every topic and are affordable, too.

6. Self-care baskets

Self-care baskets are perhaps the most fun gift choice to assemble. Even your kids can chime in with gift ideas to create the best self-care package for their grandma and grandpa.

You can put in everything your senior parents love, such as snacks, subscription gift cards, socks, gloves, scented candles, essential oils, squeeze balls, and more. You have endless selections to make and fill a self-care basket that your dear one will be excited to unwrap.

Grandparents Day Is a Special Day for Everyone

When did Grandparents Day originate - grandkids kissing their grandmother.

Unlike Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, which are mainly celebrated for one’s own mother or father, Grandparents Day doesn’t have an apostrophe because this special day is for all the grandparents, regardless if they’re your relatives or not. Feel free to greet every older person you will meet on this day. If you need gift ideas, make sure to check our recommendations above.

Grandparents Day is an inclusive special day for all older people. Their contributions to the family, community, and society deserve recognition for giving us wisdom, support, and selfless love. You shouldn’t wait for Grandparents Day to honor your loved ones. Every day is an opportunity to celebrate their love for the family.

Want to know some activity ideas that will improve your loved one’s quality of life? Read our article 15 Unique Activities for Seniors to Improve Their Quality of Life.

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