How To Make Grandparents’ Day Special
Unlike many holidays invented to sell candy and flowers, Grandparents’ Day was started as a family day by a person surrounded by children and grandchildren. Mary Lucille Herndon McQuade, who had 15 children, 43 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild, was an advocate for older adults who worked tirelessly for nine years to have the holiday recognized for national observation. In 1979, the first Sunday after Labor Day would be celebrated each year as Grandparents Day. The holiday even caught on in Canada in 1995, where it is celebrated on the second Sunday in September.
Why National Grandparents’ Day?
Deeply influenced by her own grandmother, Mrs. McQuade worked hard to establish National Grandparents Day to:
- Honor grandparents everywhere
- Offer grandparents a chance to show love for their children’s children
- Make children aware of the important role of grandparents in offering strength, information and guidance
While honoring grandparents, the day is a family day aimed at connecting every generation. While gift-giving and card-giving have become part of the day, the day offers a wonderful opportunity to make a family connection. Every family has years of history that the grandparents can pass on, and this day can be a great one to share stories. The format for sharing can be a family dinner or a visit to the grandparents’ house. Since the focus of the day is about strengthening inter-generational bonds, it is a good day to honor both biological family and “grand friends” and other adult members.
Celebrating Grandparents’ Day
There are many other ways to celebrate the intergenerational connection. Here are three of the many ideas offered by the Legacy Project that you can do for Grandparents’ Day or any time of the year. The focus is on making a memory, not just doing a quick project.
- What was it like then? “Now and then” fill up charts, fill in the blanks of your life, and family tree charts are a good way to get a better understanding of how life has changed and to learn more about your family members. Even if you have detailed genealogy charts of your ancestors, these activities will give the names on the chart a personal touch.
- Life statements. Family members can create a life statement that includes stories and insights into their own hopes, dreams, and values or do so in memory of deceased family member. The goal is to make this more like a history of self-discovery than an annual Christmas newsletter.
- Little hand/big hand. An interesting twist on the hand prints that kids often make for their parents, the little hand/big hand exercise starts with each person looking at their own hands and comparing the differences between an old hand and a young hand. Each person then traces the outline of the other’s hand on a piece of paper and then describes their own hand either inside their own outline or around it. Once the piece is decorated and signed by each person, the result is a memory of two generations of hands. The two generations should shake hands to complete the exercise.
We’re Part of Your Family
SelectCare of New York is often privileged to serve senior and others who need home healthcare services. However, we are always happy to see the involvement of other family members. While we may provide daily care that makes us part of the family, it is the biological family that usually provides continuity among generations.
Happy Grandparents’ Day!