For the past three weeks, I’ve focused on the African American Aunt including why she is important to the family. In this week’s column, I want to explore more how we can celebrate aunts as well as uncles.   National Aunt and Uncle Day is Tuesday, July 26th and like some of you, I had no idea there was even a day to recognize those extended family members.  The question is how to celebrate what appears to be a new holiday?    One way is to think about your experiences with your aunts and uncles and what you liked most (or least) about them.

In some instances, they took care of you as if you were one of their own children.     At other times, they offered words of advice designed to keep you from getting in trouble.   Even though they said it was for your own good, some also were snitches and told on you.   Aunts and uncles have been confidantes as well as holders of many family secrets. My great aunt Annie on my Daddy’s side often would patiently indulge my many questions as she shared little known family history.  And I can always count on my Aunt Mary on my mama’s side to give little known facts about she and my mother’s lives as little girls growing up in Central Texas.

Unlike Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, there is no standard gift like flowers, ties, kitchen appliances or macaroni art projects for Aunt and Uncle Day. This means that you can be as creative as you want with how you want to honor your aunts and uncles. For example, consider giving gift cards to favorite restaurants, retail stores, spas, and bookstores.  For something more personal, a photograph of you with the aunt and/or uncle might work. Consider creating a new family tradition like a special family breakfast, lunch, or dinner.   One of my favorite things I do with my nieces and nephews (and now great nieces and nephews) is going to the movies.    It’s not just about the popcorn and sodas but about the connection.      Now one of my nephews continues the family tradition and takes his younger cousins to the movies.   For those of you who say you have no money to buy anything, a simple phone call would do.   There are also free ecards you can download on my website –

According to the website, it’s not clear who started National Aunt’s and Uncle’s day but undoubtedly it was to recognize the many contributions that both make to families.    Romans 12:10 says to “Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.”   Celebrating National Aunt and Uncle Day on July 26th (or sometime during the week) is one way to show genuine appreciation for the impact they’ve had on your family.    And to all the aunts and uncles (by blood or by choice) Happy Aunt and Uncle Day!

Shewanda Riley (Aunt Wanda), PhD, is a Fort Worth-based author of “Love Hangover: Moving from Pain to Purpose After a Relationship Ends” and “Writing to the Beat of God’s Heart: A Book of Prayers for Writers.”   Email her at or follow her on Twitter @shewanda.   Find out more about her new podcast “The Chocolate Auntie Podcast” at