The Story Behind Grandparents Day and How to Celebrate This Year

We have a nine-year-old boy to thank for this thoughtful holiday. 

Grandparents Day is coming up, and if you're lucky enough to still have grandparents in your life, this day can be an extra special way to spend time with them. Whether you choose to spend the day together or set aside time to talk on the phone, the holiday is a sweet reminder to connect with them.

In 1969, a nine-year-old boy named Russell Capper sent President Nixon a letter asking him to dedicate a day to grandparents, much like the national celebrations of Mother's Day and Father's Day. President Nixon's secretary replied to Russell, saying the president liked the idea but couldn't declare a holiday without a resolution from Congress.

Eight years later, Jennings Randolph, a West Virginia Senator, recruited members of the Senate to make Russell's idea a reality. They introduced a joint resolution to the Senate and on August 3, 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed the proclamation that would make Grandparents Day a national observance each fall.

girl making cookies with grandma
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When Is Grandparents Day?

Grandparents Day is always the first Sunday after Labor Day. This year, Grandparents Day is Sunday, September 12, 2021.

How to Celebrate Grandparents Day

Whether you're looking for in-person or virtual ideas, there are plenty of ways to celebrate Grandparents Day this year.

Call or Spend Time with Them

You don't have to do anything elaborate or expensive to make the day special. A simple phone call goes a long way! If you live close, consider spending an hour or two at their home or on the back porch just chatting.

Plan an Activity

If you live close to your grandparents, plan an afternoon filled with their favorite hobbies. Or, organize an activity for your kids to do with your parents! An at-home baking day can be a fun way to share a family recipe with a new generation.

Send a Card or Gift

With a little advance planning, you can brighten their day from a distance! If you live far away or simply want to keep your distance because of the pandemic, sending a card or small package in the mail is sure to make Grandma or Grandpa smile. Send a homemade card, or fill a small package with their favorite treats or activities.

Learn Your Family History

If your grandparents have already passed or aren't in a position to tell you their stories first-hand, take this opportunity to do a little genealogy research. Resources like Ancestry or 23andMe can help you learn about your family history and see where your grandparents came from. You may even be able to find old documents that can tell you things you didn't know about their lives.

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