Get ready for National Grandparents Day set aside for young and old to honor each other. The official commemorative day is the Sunday after Labor Day. National Grandparents Day is meant to honor the importance of grandparents and their role in the family unit. It’s not supposed to be another reason to give gifts, but instead to spend time together. In that spirit, here are my 4 best inexpensive gift ideas for Grandparent’s Day — and any day.
History of Grandparents Day
West Virginian and grandmother Marian Lucille Herndon McQuade (with her husband’s support) initiated her grassroots efforts to create Grandparents Day in 1970. She didn’t want to create another cards and flowers holiday but instead envisioned a family day to celebrate the importance of grandparents. A day to spend more time together and celebrate the multigenerational family with private gatherings, family reunions or community events. It is also a day of giving.
Finally, Mrs. McQuade succeeded in her quest. In 1979, President Jimmy Carter proclaimed the first Sunday after Labor Day each year as National Grandparents Day. Reportedly, September was chosen to signify the “autumn” years of life. The proclamation (in part) reads:
“Grandparents are our continuing tie to the near-past, to the events and beliefs and experiences that so strongly affect our lives and the world around us. Whether they are our own or surrogate grandparents who fill some of the gaps in our mobile society, our senior generation also provides our society a link to our national heritage and traditions.”
4 best inexpensive gift ideas for Grandparent’s Day
According to American Grandparents Association, there are more than 70 million grandparents in the United States today, representing more than one-third of the population. And 72 percent think being a grandparent is the single most important and satisfying thing in their life.
As a grandparent, I can assure you — my grandchildren are the light of my life! I LOVE traveling with them anywhere — from theme parks like Disney World to kickin’ up our cowboy boots in Cheyenne. (Click here –> Traveling Grandmom travels with the grandkids.) And time spent with them is time spent well. In the spirit of creating a family day, here are my 4 best inexpensive gift ideas for National Grandparent’s Day — and any day.
1. Get Crafty
I’m a sucker for handmade crafts. In fact, I still have a “baby box” of crafts, colored papers, and cards from my now adult children.
Create a book or poster titled, “Why We Love Grammie” or “Why Grandpa is the Best.” list their many reasons. Illustrate with a photo collage or draw your own pictures.
My granddaughter loves to craft, and it’s one of many inexpensive gift ideas for Grandparents Day. She’s gifted me personalized crafts, such as wine signs, photo boxes, painted ceramic dishes, and more. (TIP: Write the date and giver on the back of these craft gifts. Because — let’s face it — our memory ain’t what it used to be!)
2. Plan a Play Date with Grandmom and Grandpa
Play dates aren’t just for kids. For inexpensive gift ideas for Grandparents Day, plan a fun day in (or out) with grandparents. Invite grandparents over to play a favorite board game or game of cards. Learn your grandparents’ favorite hobby. Ask Grandpa to take you fishing at his favorite watering hole, or Grandmom can teach you how to cook her favorite recipe.
Last year, we took a multigenerational family vacation to The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, where Papa taught the grandkids how to play chess.
3. Take a Hike on Grandparents Day
You might be surprised to know that today’s grandparents are active (43 percent exercise or play sports). Make plans to take a hike together on Grandparents Day. Get out and be active. Find a nearby local park or create a day trip and drive to a nearby national or state park. Pack a picnic lunch. Get to know your grandparents.
4. Volunteer Together for Grandparents Day
Since Grandparents Day was created to spend time together, why not volunteer as a family? One of the most inspiring evenings I spent was on a cold winter day, volunteering at a soup kitchen with my daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren.
We volunteered in January coinciding with temperatures in the teens, so there were a lot of homeless people needing a hot meal and a break from the cold outside. At first, it was a bit scary as we didn’t know what to expect, but it was a good lesson learned by my family about homelessness and how lucky we were. Seriously, this was a priceless feel-good day for all of us — and the first time we had done anything like this.
What are your favorite gift ideas for Grandparents Day? Share with us in the comments below.