Activities for National Grandparents Day on September 8, 2019
Nana and Pops. Mamaw and Papaw. Oma and Opa. Abuela and Abuelo. Granny and Granddad. Grandma and Grandpa. It’s fitting that grandchildren call their grandparents by so many names because grandparents fill so many different and important roles within our families. They are our leaders, teachers, biggest fans, and treasure troves of knowledge, history, and the best family recipes. So why don’t we take the time to celebrate them more often?
National Grandparents Day became a national holiday in 1978, only six years after Father’s Day, but most American families do not give their grandparents the same amount of recognition on this holiday as they do fathers on Father’s Day. Our grandparents are responsible for leading our families to where they are today, so it is important that we find ways to show them how much we care. On Sunday, September 8th, 2019, consider some of the following ideas to give your grandparents a National Grandparents Day to remember!
Plan a visit
As grandchildren grow up and start their own adult lives, grandparents might not see their grandchildren because of distance and busy schedules. For National Grandparents Day, consider planning ahead to visit grandma or grandpa like you did when you were younger! You’ll want to coordinate with your grandparents or a caregiver so that you don’t interfere with any plans or appointments they already have. If you really want your visit to be a surprise, check with your parents, caregivers, a family friend, or anyone else who can help you figure out what works with your grandparents’ schedule. Surprises are harder to plan, but they often make for the most special memories!
Work on a project together
If your grandparents live alone or have retired, they might not always be able to share their hobbies with anyone. To help them celebrate National Grandparents Day, spend some time working on a favorite project or hobby of theirs. This could be anything from baking grandma’s famous sugar cookies to helping grandpa finish that 1000-piece puzzle. Doing a fun activity or project together will help you bond and give you time to chat while you work.
Go on a family trip
Family vacations are a great way to relax and spend quality time together. If your grandparent is particularly adventurous and active for their age, look into booking a flight to a state or country they have always wanted to visit. If flying or long-distance travel is not an option for your grandparents, plan a day trip to a nearby town with activities you can do together.
For more in-depth advice about traveling with your grandparents, see our previous blog post: 10 Tips For Traveling With Your Aging Loved Ones
Do something local
There’s a good chance that your grandma or grandpa already has some favorite local spots in their hometown. Take them to some of these places, or research new places that you think they might like. For both local activities and possible day trip itineraries, check out https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/ and see what you can find!
Send them a letter or card
If your schedule or something else is keeping you from visiting your grandparents, send them a handwritten letter or card. Not only do grandparents want to feel the love of their family, but they also want to feel in the loop. Make them feel special by including some family photos, a postcard from a recent family trip, or a funny story. Your letter should be personal and remind them how much you and the rest of your family care about them!
Share a meal
There are many different options if you want to share a meal with your grandparents. If they have a favorite local restaurant, take them out to dinner. If they enjoy cooking, let them make a home-cooked meal and make sure they know how much you enjoyed it. You can also personally prepare a meal from one of their old recipes and let them relax until dinnertime. No matter which one you choose, it is sure to be a delicious way to spend some quality time together. As author Virginia Woolf once wrote, “one cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
Make or buy a thoughtful gift
Giving a gift to your grandparents is another way to celebrate National Grandparents Day, especially if you live out of town. Think about things they may want or need, and don’t forget the possibility of a homemade or personalized gift. Your grandma or grandpa would probably love the effort you put into a family scrapbook or handknit sweater!
Sometimes the best thing we can give to our grandparents is a listening ear, especially since they might not always have someone to talk to when they are feeling lonely. Ask your grandparents questions about their childhood, how they met and fell in love, their time in the military or workforce, and anything else that interests you about their lives. Most importantly, make sure that you listen. They will be happy to share their stories and you will be glad to have a family memory to fondly recall and pass down in the future.
National Grandparents Day is about celebrating and appreciating the ways our grandparents have impacted us, but celebrating does not have to be just about them. Pick activities that you will enjoy doing with them because, at the end of the day, they probably just want to spend time with the people who made them grandparents in the first place! Show them your love, admiration, and undivided attention, and it is sure to be a great National Grandparents Day for everyone.