Did you know that Grandparents Day is always the first Sunday after Labor Day? Yes, it’s THIS Sunday . . . and this year it happens to fall on the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11. While it may seem difficult to celebrate on this day, the holiday provides a precious opportunity for grandparents to share memories and hard-won wisdom with their families.

Just follow our “grand” plan and you’ll be ready to respectfully celebrate this special occasion with the wise, kind elders in your life.

grandpa on the beach
Photo by Tracy Kneip

First, a Little History

In 1970, Marian McQuade began championing the idea of Grandparents Day in her home state of West Virginia. As a result of her efforts, the governor of West Virginia proclaimed a statewide holiday in 1973. Grandparents Day was first celebrated as a national holiday in 1979, with an aim to “recognize the importance and the worth of the 17 million grandparents in our nation.”

While still a relatively little-known holiday, Grandparents Day is expected to grow in significance as the number of grandparents in the United States rises from 65 million in 2011 to 80 million in 2020.

Do Something “Grand”

National Grandparents Day gives grandchildren the opportunity to show love and appreciation to their grandparents. This often comes in the form of cards and gifts, but we know how much grandparents welcome the opportunity to share their experiences, memories, and guidance, if only they’re provided with a willing ear. Even the smallest child can do a family history interview that will let them get to know their grandparents better. Here are a few questions to get the conversation started:

  • What year were you born?
  • What is your earliest childhood memory? Happiest? Saddest?
  • Where did you grow up? Did you live in a house or an apartment? What was it like?
  • What were your favorite games and hobbies? Did you play any sports? What else did you do for fun?
  • Where did you go to school? Who were your favorite teachers and classmates?
  • Did you have any pets?
  • What did you want to be when you grew up? What jobs did you have?

Your children will be fascinated to hear about their grandparents as children, and surprised to learn about how things were different and what has stayed the same. It may also help them feel more secure in this often crazy world to know that Grandma and Grandpa made it through some pretty difficult times. So this year, as we celebrate National Grandparents Day and commemorate September 11, let’s remember our history and share the wisdom of our elders. Let them know we will never forget.


Today’s blog post is written by our Marketing Manager, Melissa Tigges—who loved to listen to stories about the early, romantic days of her grandparents’ 65-year marriage.