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Dedication to family is an important part of everyday life, of course! But sometimes, it can be good to take a day off from all of the other pressures in life and enjoy a day out as a family.

History of National Family Day

Though celebrated in a similar manner to National Family Day that falls in September, this Family Day is celebrated regionally in many of the Canadian provinces in the month of February. It is not a federal holiday, so each province gets to choose how it wants to observe the day.

Getting its start in the province of Alberta in 1990, Family Day was the only statutory holiday celebrated in Canada in the month of February from 1990 until 2007. The day was established with the purpose of bringing relatives together, strengthening family ties and celebrating the importance of family. This is a particularly important time for families that have working parents or school children, allowing them to take time off to enjoy, appreciate, and care for their family members, whether little ones, aging parents or anyone in between.

Because Family Day is always situated on a Monday, that means that families can take advantage of the long weekend and travel to see relatives or just take a weekend away to enjoy each others’ company. Many communities choose to organize special events that can be celebrated over the weekend of Family Day, such as cultural attractions and gastronomic events for citizens as well as for visitors and tourists.

Family Day is not celebrated in all of the regions of Canada, but it is particularly important to those who live in Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia. In Nova Scotia and Yukon, different February holidays are celebrated, called Heritage Day. In Manitoba, they celebrate a day called Lou Riel Day and Prince Edward Island has a February holiday referred to as Islander Day.

National Family Day Timeline


Arizona establishes a Family Day

American Family Day gets a start in the state of Arizona as a day to bring families together to share love and appreciation.[1]


Genealogy becomes popular

The early days of Americans learning more about their ancestry and family history. [2]


Family Ties premiers

This show about an American family is beloved and airs for seven seasons.[3]


First Family Day is celebrated in Canada

The first province in Canada to celebrate Family Day is Alberta when the Family Day Act is passed. [4]

How to Celebrate National Family Day

Getting involved with celebrations in observance of Family Day can be a delightful way to enjoy a day spent with those you love, whether or not they’re actually relatives! Even those who don’t live in a province that officially gives the day off from work or school, perhaps this could still be motivation to take a personal mental health day from work. Call the kids off of school and declare it your own “family day”!

Have fun implementing some of these ideas in observance of Family Day, whether officially or unofficially:

Attend a Family Day Event

Those who live in places where Family Day is an official holiday might want to do a little search to see what kinds of local events have been scheduled in honor of the day. Perhaps there will be concerts or other musical events, children’s fun fairs, festivities and more. Check with the local library, online community announcement board to find out what types of events are happening – then join in!

Spend Time With Family

Of course, the most important thing about Family Day is not necessarily what everyone is doing, but with whom they are doing it! Today is the day to hang out with family – and friends who feel like family. In fact, those who have family members and are making plans for Family Day might want to include a neighbor or friend who may be lonely due to living far away from their own family, being widowed or some other reason. Being willing to share family is what the day is all about!

To avoid stress or financial strain, some people might want to keep Family Day activities simple. Try out some of these ideas:

  • Make breakfast together – let everyone play an important part in the meal.
  • Enjoy a movie marathon – complete with discussions after each film.
  • Make a family photo booth – get silly costumes and spend time cheesing in front of the camera for precious photographs.
  • Have a living room picnic – activities at home can seem like a lot of fun when done in a different place so throw a blanket on the floor and eat dinner there. The kids will love it!

Host a Local Family Day Event

Those who don’t have any Family Day events happening in their local areas might want to consider hosting one! Try getting a fun event started at a local school, church or community center. Set up games for kids to play, have some fun family-friendly music playing. Don’t forget to leave opportunities for big and small motor activities, like having a bounce house as well as a Lego or sand table. Provide snacks and drinks, and charge a small fee if that’s needed to recoup some of the costs.

The most important part is that families are encouraged to spend time together in celebration of Family Day!

Take a Long Weekend Together

While it’s still pretty cold in February, in Canada at least, so it might not be possible to do much in the way of outdoor activities like camping, still it might be possible get away for the weekend. Head to a nearby city for a weekend break to enjoy some museums, pop over to grandma’s house or even take a family ski trip. As long as it is done with family, it’s probably a great idea for enjoying Family Day!

Send a Card or Two (or More!) for Family Day

For those who have family members who live far away, this can be a perfect time to remind them how much they are loved and cared for. Just pop a card in the mail to Uncle Bob in Arizona or write out a postcard to send to that cousin you haven’t seen since Aunt Bertha’s wedding. Grab a stack of cards and a book of postage stamps, and then get to writing some personalized messages to various family members – even if they just live across town it would still be a nice surprise to get a little card in the mail!

National Family Day FAQs

How does family influence your life?

Family relationships can provide resources to help people cope with stress, develop self-esteem and engage in life in a healthier manner. [1]

What are family dynamics?

Family dynamics are the patterns of interactions among relatives.[2]

How does family shape your identity?

Family has an impact on how we respond to pressure, whether we share emotions, whether we speak our minds and more. [3]

What are family values?

Many family values are similar but some of them may include categories like moral values, social values, political values, religious values, work values and more. [4]

Can family members work together?

In the US, it is legal for family members to work together, but the rules can change depending on the company. [5]

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