It’s hard to believe, but June is here and Father’s Day is right around the corner. There are all kinds of fun ways to celebrate dads and lots of recommendations out there for how to do so. But what about the GRANDfathers of the world?
You may know them by any number of names: Grandpa, Granddad, Grandpop, Pop-Pop, Poppy, or The Babysitter. They have done the double duty of raising their own children AND caring for their kid’s kids. Stories, wisdom, and jokes for miles - these are the things grandpas are made of.
Regardless of what name they go by, we know grandfathers are a gift. Time with them is precious and the memories are priceless. This has become even more clear during the pandemic, when so many families have been separated from their grandpas and grandmas.
During the Memorial Day holiday weekend, our team member’s 7 year old son said,
“Wow, I never knew how much fun Poppy was!”
They were digging for worms and Poppy (Grandpa) was telling him everything he needed to know about worms. He has been digging for worms in the garden ever since.
There’s a special kind of magic that happens between grandparents and grandkids. A magic that deserves to be fostered and celebrated.
So how do we celebrate grandfathers this Father’s Day and beyond? Check out these 5 ideas for how to show Grandpa he’s loved and appreciated.
1. Give Grandpa the gift of being known and valued
Grandfathers have a lifetime of experience and knowledge to share, and that’s exactly what they would like to do. They want to pass their gifts on to future generations and feel like they have value to contribute.
What can you do?
Ask Grandpa to share his stories and jokes, teach you (or the kids) a skill, or pass on some sage advice. Make sure to be fully engaged in the conversation or activity, rather than distracted. Ask questions and make comments that prove you are paying attention. If you do take his advice, and it works for you, be sure to let Grandpa know and thank him for helping you.
Granddad is very proud of his grandparent status, so make sure he knows you’re proud he’s your Pop-Pop!
Gift ideas: personalized items related to Grandpappy’s interests or something to show off grandparent pride (like the ‘Grandpa Partner in Crime’ T-Shirt)
2. Give Grandpa the gift of connection
Like all humans, grandfathers have an innate desire to be connected to others, especially their own family. They care about the lives of their kids and grandkids, and want to stay in the loop on both the milestones and the mundane. They’re happy if they know you’re happy.
What can you do?
Tell PawPaw all about what’s going on in your life. Share your own stories and jokes. Connect over common experiences and interests. You’re bound to have overlapping interests, but if not, Grandpa is likely to develop an interest in whatever you’re in to.
In person communication is best, but if that’s not possible, you can video chat, call on the phone, email, or send cards, letters, poems, and pictures. Whichever method you choose, try to be as consistent about it as you can.
Gift ideas: Something that facilitates communication or connection (like a voice recordable storybook - a gift for grandfathers and grandkids!)
3. Give Grandpa the gift of being recognized and remembered
None of us are going to be around forever (unless you’re some kind of immortal being like a vampire), and grandfathers are no different. They want to know that they will be remembered. That their legacy will live on through their family and through their contributions and accomplishments.
Have you seen Coco? Fantastic movie. If you haven’t seen it yet, do it! Also *spoiler alert*… In the movie, a young boy named Miguel finds himself in the colorful land of the dead, where departed souls live on through the memories of their family and friends. Pretty cool, right?
What can you do?
Show PeePaw that he has made a lasting impact in your life and the lives of others. It could be that he inspired you to do something or that his advice really helped you out. Maybe he taught you something that you continue to use today. Tell him your favorite stories and jokes of his and memories of time spent together.
You can also recognize Grandpa for his contributions outside the family. What was his profession? What has he done? What has he created? Who has he helped? Make sure he knows you know his legacy.
Gift ideas: Something that will help keep Grandpa’s legacy alive (like the National Genealogy Society ‘The Basics’ Online Class)
4. Give Grandpa the gift of being included
None of us like feeling left out, right? This desire is similar to the desire to feel connected, but the focus here is more on shared experiences rather than conversation. Grandfathers want to be in the middle of the action, participating in whatever capacity they can. They want to have quality time with the people they care about. And they want to admire the beautiful family they have created.
What can you do?
Invite Poppa to all kinds of events and activities. Host family reunions and invite Grandpa. Your little one having a birthday? Invite Grandpa. You can ask Grandpa to go on a movie date or out to eat. Find something he likes to do, and invite him to do it. Or invite him to join an activity you enjoy doing. Bonus points if it’s a shared interest.
And as much as grandparents love babysitting their grandchildren, make sure this isn’t the only invite you extend.
Gift ideas: An ‘experience gift’ or something that makes him feel included (like a personalized calendar with custom photos and special dates written in)
5. Give Grandpa the gift of being cared for
Grandfathers like to feel independent, capable, and helpful. They may even be stubbornly self-sufficient. But they also like to feel like they have people they can count on to help out if needed. They like to know that you care enough to take time out of your busy schedule to do something just for them. Everyone can use a little support.
What can you do?
Ask Granddaddy if there’s anything you can do to help out. Don’t force the offer but be persistent. It could be a big project or small task. You could help with a home improvement project, a backyard pest problem, a ride to an appointment, a grocery run, or some other chore or errand. The options are endless. If it’s something you can do together, even better.
Gift ideas: Something that makes life easier (like the Kindle Paperwhite e-reader)
In short, grandfathers are awesome and deserve to be celebrated, during Father’s Day and beyond. When life gets busy, it can be hard to find the time to connect with family. But we know, now more than ever, that time with Grandpa is precious.
To celebrate grandfathers, show them they are valued, connected, remembered, included, and cared for. Hopefully this 5-part breakdown has given you some inspiration for how to show your love and appreciation for Grandpa.
If you’re still not sure what to get Grandpa or you just want to save time finding the perfect gift, check out our curated list of the Top 29 Meaningful Gifts for Grandpa.
Pro Tip: There are a few gifts that accomplish more than one of the above ways to make Grandpa feel loved and appreciated (including a new children’s book we’ve created, called Grandpa Saved the Day...Again!).