Do We Really Need Grandparents Day?

Sunday September 7th is National Grandparents Day here in the United States.  It’s a celebration that’s been disparaged as a Hallmark holiday,* and called redundant in the wake of Mother’s and Father’s Days.  And it’s certainly true, in our family, that grandmas are celebrated on Mother’s Day and grandpas feted on Dad’s Day.   And yet, I just can’t seem to muster cynicism for a holiday set aside to honor the grandest people in my and my child’s life.

I hold some pretty strong beliefs about the importance of “The Grands”, as one friend calls them.  I was lucky enough to have wonderful grandparents – one grandmother who was my #1 cheerleader and who still represents to me the ideal of unconditional love – and another grandmother who embodied a strength, pluck, and independence that inspired you to reach for distant dreams.    In turn, my own child is immersed in a village of equally nurturing grandparents (and god-parents), who shower her with love and acceptance.

There is much research highlighting the supportive role grandparents play in a child’s life.  Scholars have noted that close grand-parental relationships improve emotional well-being in the teen and young adult years, help children adjust during divorce, and create an “emotional sanctuary from the pressures of the outside world”.**

So, the idea that we might set aside a special day to honor these “Grands” strikes me as simply an ideal opportunity to appreciate the wonderful, amazing, important role they play in our lives.  Even if we did already give them a gift for Mother’s and Father’s Day!

We made the video card above to honor The Grands. It was, at least in part, inspired by my own grandparents, ( my grandma did sing Elvis to us).  It features a snippet of some terrific music by Rebecca Roubion.  We hope you enjoy it, and invite you to send it to your Grands.  Either on September 7th, or whenever you the mood strikes you.


Deb Whitman is a co-founder of private, family photo sharing service, Photo Mambo, which allows you to transform loved ones’ iPads and computers into a digital picture frame that updates itself. 

* By the way, National Grandparents Day wasn’t created by either Hallmark or, it originated with Marian McQuade, an activist on senior issues and vice-chair of the West Virginia Commission on Aging.  She had 43 grandchildren.  President Jimmy Carter signed a bill designating the first Grandparents Day in 1979.

** The quote is taken from the book, Grandparents, Grandchildren: The Vital Connection by Arthur Kornhaber, Kenneth L. Woodward, the other results are from research by Sarah A. Ruiz and Professor Merril Silverstein, and by Gretchen Lussier, Kirby Deater-Deckard, Judy Dunn, and Lisa Davies.

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