Parenting

I'll bet you've forgotten about Grandparents Day?

Grandparents Day may sound like a made-up holiday but it's real, and Ian has a few tips on how to celebrate.

Photo: iStockphoto

Once again, Grandparents Day has snuck up on us.

In case you didn’t know — and I seriously doubt that you do — Grandparents Day is being celebrated on Sunday. It’s actually been a recognized date on the calendar since 1978, when U.S. president Jimmy Carter officially declared the first Grandparents Day.

In Canada, we started recognizing Grandparents Day in 1995 — but you were probably too busy watching Melrose Place to notice. Part of the problem is that it has to share the big date with National Pet Memorial Day. According to our society, Oma and Opa’s day on the calendar has as much significance as your pet hamster who died seven years ago.

But while we diminish their big day, grandparents do play a major role in shaping our families. They are a link to our past. They share insight and advice on how to best raise our children — and above all else, they provide us with hours of free babysitting. 

And it seems like some places are trying to give Grandparents Day a little more prestige this year. White Castle restaurants are giving out free “I Heart Grandparents” hats to the first 100 grandparents and grandchildren who come in on Sunday. In addition, they are also giving grandparents coupons to purchase four hamburger sliders for $1. I’m not sure clogging Grandpa’s arteries is the best way to celebrate this day, but at least the folks at White Castle are trying — which is more than can be said for the rest of us.

So if you’re a busy parent like me and you’re in scramble-mode to celebrate Grandparents Day, here are five things you can do before Sunday to make it seem like you, y’know, actually remembered the occasion:

1. Buy a card
If you rushed out to Hallmark today, you would probably see a shelf completely stocked with Grandparents Day cards. This won’t be like when you run into the store on February 13th and are forced to buy the card with a squirrel saying “I’m nuts for you” because all of the good Valentine’s cards are sold-out.

2. Send an e-card
If giving a card isn’t an option, you could get your child to send Grandma and Grandpa an e-card. However, chaos could ensue when they discover that Adobe Flash or a Java Plug-In needs to be installed to view the greeting.

3. Have your kids make a card
This is probably the best route to take because it allows the child to personalize a card to their grandparents. And when children make any type of craft or card, it really takes the heat off parents from buying an actual present.

4. Skype with them
If they don’t live in the same city, you could Skype with Grandma and Grandpa. If they’re tech savvy enough to open that e-card, then you could go one step further and try a video chat session. It would be really touching if your whole family sang the official Grandparents Day song to them. And when you realize that nobody knows the lyrics, just kill the connection and claim there was a technical issue with Skype.

5. Tell your own parents that you love them
This is probably the ultimate gift, but for a lot of families who don’t share their feelings, this will just make things awkward. And at that point, you’ll be left wishing you just took them to White Castle for those promotional sliders. All kidding aside, grandparents are truly amazing and deserve more than just a forgotten day on the calendar. And I’m hoping my parents read that last line and accept that as their Grandparents Day gift from me this year.