Grandmother's Day
Grandmother's Day

Share this article

A day to celebrate and spoil your grandmother with handmade gifts

Grandmother's Day

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

What is the history of Grandmother's Day?

Religious or historical?  No, in France this day has it's roots planted in commercialism...

Created in 1987 by René Monnier, the founder of the French coffee brand Gran'Mère, this national day even adopted the brand spelling - 'Fete des Grand'mères' - until 1999.  Today, the Gran'Mère coffee brand is owned by the food industry giant Jacobs Douwe Egberts.  

Almost all ties with its commercial past were swiftly broken.  Back in 1997, a study showed 87% of people were aware of the day but only 6% associated it with the coffee.

Since then, this yearly celebration of Grandmothers has really taken off in France....

La Mamif much so that, since 2011 the association 'fete des grand-mères' has organised a special event in central Paris - the 'Mamif' (a play on words as 'mamie' means grandma and 'manifestation' a rally or march).  As the name suggests, it consists of a family walk through the capital and ends with a little afternoon tea around 4pm.  Food, fashion and dance workshops are a few of the activities which have accompanied the mamif since 2014 in the form of a follow-on event named 'Troc'n'Roll' (poster above right).  

Based around the principles of respecting one's elders, encouraging inter-generational communication and the transmission of knowledge, it quickly gained notoriety.

Although the association 'Fête des grands-mères' is not for profit, it was initially lauched by Mondelez Int (back then it was Kraft food) and the brand is highly visible during the mamif.

A day to show her you care

Nowadays, this day is used as a nice excuse to spoil a loved grandma or to initiate spending time with family.  But, as with any celebration, the commercial aspect is never far away...

In 2011 l'Insee reported 8.9 million grandmothers in France. The average age of becoming a grandmother was 54 and almost four out of five 75 year olds were grandmothers. That's a lot of potential present buying just as René Monnier predicted.

Schools and nurseries base present-making activities around Grandmother's Day.  As innocent as this appears, the helping hand from 'l'association fête des grand-mères' is not far behind - they have been sponsoring creative competitions in schools to mark the day since 1988.

The French post office even has personalised post cards for Grandmother's Day!

Grandma's day and Grandparents' day in other countries

Grandmother's day is traditionally celebrated in Poland on the 21st of January, back to back with Grandfather's day on the 22nd of January.  It was created by “Kobieta I Życie” magazine in 1964 and is widely celebrated today.

Elsewhere, grandmothers are not celebrated separately to grandfathers, and in recent times the two have been combined.

Pope Francis established World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly in 2021. The fourth Sunday of July was chosen due to its closeness to the memorial days of Saints Joachim and Anne, Jesus' grandparents. 

Pope Francis stated “grandparents are often forgotten, and we forget this wealth of preserving roots and passing on”.

In England, the charity Age Concern started Grandparents Day in 2008.  It is celebrated the first Sunday of October.

Over in the USGrandparents day is celebrated the Sunday after Labor Day.  It is not a bank holiday and was initiated by Marion McQuade (who had 43 grandchildren!) in 1973.  President Jimmy Carter signed the proclamation in 1978.  

The statute states that Grandparents day is:

" honor grandparents, to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children's children, and to help children become aware of strength, information, and guidance older people can offer".

The best gifts for Grandmother's Day

Of course, a simple phonecall or time spent together are often present enough.  But if you would like to add a little something extra, handmade, personalised cards and gifts are traditional.

If time is short or inspiration lacking, you can always buy something special.  As with any gift, it's important to buy according to her tastes.

Here are Natif Creatif's top handmade gift ideas in the south of France and England - get her something original that can't be found in chain stores.


If you are in the center looking for a handmade bag, purse or belt using recycled leather, try Au fil de Coline. For a special bath bomb or bathroom gift basket, head down to L'épicerie Cosmeto, where you can also find zero-waste bathroom accessories from Montpellier-based Alice et Jeanne.   

Kty Fabrik sell environmentally-friendly toiletry bags, make-up remover pads and other bathroom accessories at various stalls around Montpellier.  Or for household items including hotwater bottles and wash bags, Une étoile en plein jour is ethical and zero-waste.

If you are looking for naturally scented vegetable based candles, go to Pavane where Petit Caprice have a great selection along with loads of other lovely gifts. Just down the road, Mona Mour is full of wonderful, locally made gift ideas at a range of prices.

For a local twist on chocolates, L'atelier d'Eleonore offers handmade macaroons using seasonal fruit in the lively Arceaux market or can deliver larger orders.

For a personalized gift, La maison Rez'in sell hand poured, customizable jewellery and decorations.


If you are up Redland / Clifton way - head to The Bristol Artisan, just opposite the Tesco's on Blackboy Hill. There is something for everyone, from dried flower bouquets to beautiful hand-made mugs. 

The city center is arguably the best place if you are looking for gifts. If you would prefer to support local artists, pop in to Saint Nicholas Market, where you will find Jewellery Lane and Paperjay, aptly named because they specialise in handcrafted jewellery and luxury paper creations (pictures, mobiles, necklaces, earrings, bracelets).  They also sell plants, so odds are good you'll find something she will like.

On the other side of the water on the Christmas steps (still in the city center), the co-operative Blaze shop is run by 10 independent makers. They stock work from over 100 local artists so have a truly huge range of items - cards, art, jewellery etc.

East of Bristol, Eclectic Gift shop in Hanham so you can easily pop in and get something original while supporting local creators. They stock work from over 100 local artists, creators and creative business so you can find something to your taste - including zerowaste household items and locally produced food.

Over in Easton, the wonderful non-profit BAM store also have cool, fun gifts and cards to make the day special.

Looking for shops nearer Bishopston / Horfield? Fig, Room 212 and Paper Plane are all independent stores conveniently lined up on Gloucester rd. Fig is a gallery and shop selling locally made art, jewellery, household decoration and homeware. It's great because it's run by the artists creators so you can speak to someone who really knows their stuff.

Paper Plane stocks work from over 50 local artists and prides itself on ethical and sustainable practices. Clothing, soaps, candles, jewellery, the list goes on -this place is a real Aladdin's cave of treats.

Room 212 is one for all the art lovers - its an independent gallery and shop showcasing local artists. It stocks art for all tastes, everywhere you look there are new colours and forms.

Lastly, We Make Bristol in Westbury proudly stock goodies from Bristol creatives. Original jewellery, art, ceramics, clothes and soap figure among their lovely things.

Grandmother's Day

Share this article

Recent Posts

View more posts