Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are important occasions for many families, but this isn’t true for National Grandparents Day, a holiday that many don’t even know exists. Set on the second Sunday in September, it was first observed back in 1978, eight years after West Virginia housewife Marian McQuade lobbied Senators Jennings Randolph and Robert Byrd to introduce a resolution (later signed into law by President Jimmy Carter) to celebrate our elderly relatives.
Officially sanctioned or not, Grandparents Day has never really gained broad appeal. If there are grandparents in your life, why not take the time to celebrate the day with them this year? You don’t have to spend a pile of money or create a lot of fanfare, just use it as an opportunity to celebrate your elderly loved ones. Here are some simple ways to spend time with grandparents on their special day.
One of my favorite things to do with my grandmother when I was growing up was to play old school card games like Gin Rummy, Crazy Eights, Go Fish, and Spit. We laughed a lot, and she didn’t condescend to me by letting me win. In fact, she was happy to beat me whenever she could.
If you don’t know any card games, there’s a wonderful website that provides clear instructions specifically tailored for grandparents and grandchildren.
Have you ever shared a favorite movie from your youth with your kids? Have you made snacks, popped in The Goonies, and hoped they would like it (or at least say they did)? Grandparents feel the same way.
Ask your loved one about a movie he or she adored as a kid, and plan to watch it together on Grandparent’s Day. If you make it a surprise, complete with some old-fashioned candies and treats, it will be even more special.
Good Time Music
There’s nothing quite like listening to great music. It can be an instant mood boost and your grandparent might surprise you with a few dance moves, along with stories that begin with, “I remember the first time I heard this song…”
If your grandparent suffers from dementia, music may be especially important. Recent research suggests that Alzheimer’s patients who listen to classical music and show tunes actually see an increase in their mental performance and ability to recall past events. Experts believe that music elicits emotions that prompt our brain to remember. So, sing away!
FaceTime or Skype
If you are far from your grandparents, you can still spend some time together on National Grandparent’s Day, thanks to modern technology. Applications like FaceTime or Skype are simple ways to connect with loved one. Even if it’s virtual, seeing each other’s faces and sharing stories will mean the world to them—and to you, too.
This year, National Grandparent’s Day is on September 10th, so mark your calendar and plan something special. You will cherish the memories for years to come.