On the first Sunday after Labor Day we celebrate National Grandparents Day. This year the date falls on September 12. Like Mother’s day and Father’s day we also have a whole day dedicated to our grandparents. Grandparents and children have a special connection that is proven to both make grandparents live longer, and also make children more emotionally resilient. Grandparents Day is an opportunity to treasure that connection and spend some quality family time together.
When is Grandparents Day 2021?
Grandparents Day is celebrated the first Sunday after Labor Day, which is September 13 this year.
History of Grandparents Day
In 1969, nine-year-old Russell Capper sent President Nixon a letter suggesting that a day should be set aside in order to celebrate grandparents. On June 12, 1969, he received a letter back from Rose Mary Woods — Personal Secretary to the President — reading, “Dear Russell, Thank you for your letter to President Nixon. Your suggestion regarding a Grandparent’s Day is appreciated, but the President ordinarily issues proclamations designating periods for special observance only when a Congressional resolution authorizes him to do so. With best wishes, Sincerely, Rose Mary Woods Personal Secretary to the President.”
Following this letter, Marian McQuade was recognized nationally by the U.S. Senate and by President Jimmy Carter as the founder of National Grandparents Day. McQuade wanted to educate the youth about the importance of seniors and the contributions they have made throughout history. She urged the youth to “adopt” a grandparent and learn more about their lives, challenges, and desires for the future.
In 1977, Senator Randolph, with the help of other senators, introduced a joint resolution to the senate requesting the president to “issue annually a proclamation designating the first Sunday of September after Labor Day of each year as ‘National Grandparents’ Day’.” Congress passed the legislation, proclaiming the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparent’s Day. On August 3, 1978, Jimmy Carter signed the proclamation, and the day was finally celebrated the following year.
Grandparents Day timeline
Her activism with seniors is what launches the initiative to start National Grandparents Day.
Nine-year-old Russell Capper writes a letter to the president, asking if he can create a Grandparents' Day.
Marian McQuade's biggest initiative is Adopt a Grandparent — not just for a day but for a lifetime.
Jimmy Carter officially makes National Grandparents Day a holiday.
Traditions of the Day
Grandparents lavish their children and grandchildren with an endless supply of love, gifts, and candy which they always seem to have on them. Today the favor is returned as grandparents are honored and receive gratitude for their strength, kindness, nurturing, and wisdom.
Every family shares their own history and traditions so, naturally, ways to celebrate this day vary. Whether it is going through photo albums, asking grandma to bake your favorite treat, spending time with your grandparents at the park, fixing the car in the garage with grandpa, we’re sure you’ll find something to do together!
Unfortunately, some grandparents have no one to share the day with. Volunteering at an old-age home is a great way to give back and so are community group projects that help the elderly feel included and like they are a part of a family.
By The Numbers
4.8 million – the number of pre-school children in American who were cared for by a grandparent in 2011.
23.7% – the percentage of grandparents who take care of children under the age of five.
58% – the percentage of grandparents who say they care for their grandchildren because they enjoy doing it.
53% – the percentage of grandparents who take care of their grandchildren so that their parents can work.
22% – the percentage of grandparents who take care of their grandchildren to pass on family values.
>70 million – the estimated number of grandparents residing in the United States.
38 – the age of the youngest grandparents.
60% – the percentage of grandparents who work part-time or full-time.
$52 billion – the amount grandparents spend on grandchildren in a year.
45% – the percentage of grandparents who are on social media.
Grandparents Day FAQs
Why is it important that we celebrate this holiday?
Our grandparents are our family and they won’t be around forever. We need to cherish the moments we can with them and create lifelong memories.
How should I celebrate if my grandparents live too far?
Video chatting or calling and expressing love and gratitude will make their day, they always want to hear from you. Sending a card or an arrangement wouldn’t hurt as well.
Is Grandparents Day a real holiday?
Grandparents Day is an official national holiday, signed by President Carter in 1978 and celebrated on the first Sunday after Labor Day.
How to celebrate Grandparents Day
Spend Time with your Grandparents
Sometimes we forget just how important and special our grandparents are. They have a lot more free time on their hands than we do and we know that even a short visit would make them happy.
Have a Family Dinner
Family time is hard to come by nowadays but organizing a family dinner with your grandparents and your parents and siblings is a great way to spend time together. Plus we get to have some good old fashioned home cooking!
Enjoy A Hobby Together
Your grandma might like to paint or your grandpa might love to do puzzles on Sundays. A bit of company would brighten their day and you’ll probably have more fun than you thought you would.
5 Facts You Didn’t Know About National Grandparents Day
It Has Its Own Song
The official song for National Grandparents Day is “A Song for Grandma and Grandpa” by Johnny Prill.
It Has Its Own Flower
The official flower is the “forget-me-not” flower.
It's Not Actually a Public Holiday
Even though it was signed in as a national holiday it is celebrated more as an observance than a public holiday.
On Average 4 Million Cards Were Sent
People are honoring their grandparents with cards, it's the least we can do.
Highest Day for Visits in Nursing Homes
There are many days you’d want to spend with your grandparents but National Grandparents day was on average the highest day for nursing home visits.
Why We Love Grandparents Day
They Love Us and We Love Them
Our Grandparents love us. They can be stubborn and opinionated but in the end they always want what's best for us.
They Have More Wisdom Than We Think
Our grandparents have seen all kinds of things and lived a lot, through all that living it's not surprising that they learned a thing or two. They have so much to pass down and we should take some time to listen.
We Wouldn’t Be Here Without Them
Let's be real, if it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t be here. They raised our parents and they made time to spoil us when we were little, it's only fair we return the favor now.
Grandparents Day dates