National Cousins’ Day is celebrated on July 24th of each year. I didn’t even know such a day existed so I decided to do some research to see what was the origin of this unofficial holiday. There are no clear-cut answers to this question but two theories stand out. One view suggests that greeting card companies came up with this marketing scheme to sell more cards. I tend to disagree with this suggestion as sending any type of card through snail mail has almost become a thing of the past. The second argument put forth makes more sense to me which is that cousins just wanted to reconnect with each other so a date was picked to accomplish that.


The fact that there’s actually a designated date for Cousins’ Day made me realize how important these family connections are to so many people both young and old. I looked back on my ‘cousin’ history. When I was young, everyone tended to live geographically close to their relatives and every holiday and celebration usually involved the entire clan. For most of us, our cousins were our very first friends. They were the ones who were the guests at our birthday parties and sleepovers. As we became adults, it was necessary to move further afield to get employment but we still returned “home” once or twice a month as this family group was such a major part of our lives. As time went on and families grew, these visits occurred less often but the bonds had been made and they remained strong.


I thought about my extended family. How many of us have said to our relatives, usually at weddings or funerals, “We must get together and have a visit.” and of course, no date is set at the time, so no visit takes place. As a result, months or even years slip by without this kin connection being made. I decided it was time for me to reconnect with my cousins. Clicking the “Like” button on one of their Facebook posts wasn’t enough. The need to visit in person, share a cup of tea or something a little stronger and have a good old visit put me into action.


While growing up, I was very close to three cousins – Ann, her sister Fay and another cousin Marjorie. Destinations for my hit list visits were Hanover and Owen Sound. My sister, Betty and I set the dates. Visiting with these ladies was good for both the heart and soul. Although it had been a long time since we had been in touch, the talking was nonstop. Topics covered the past – our childhood memories, the present – updates on our kids, grandkids, etc. plus the current happenings taking place in our daily lives and finally, about the future – what events and plans we were looking forward to. The conversations flew and the laughter flowed. Old memories were relived and new ones were being created.


I have always treasured these family ties. My own children were totally involved in extended family activities when they were growing up and they have maintained these relationships today. I have carried on this tradition with my grandkids. Visits and holidays at our place always include all four of them. This way they have fun with two different generations and lasting bonds are formed. Grandparents and cousins are the best mix.


I’m glad I stumbled upon the National Cousins’ Day article. It reminded me to renew these important and rewarding connections. Don’t let your busy life rob you of the opportunity to touch base with them. Give them a call and catch up. You will be surprised to learn that time has not made them strangers. Dialogue will be easy. You will laugh, reminisce and enjoy their company. What an amazing way to spend a day.