Like any holiday we can get into routines and traditions that we love and stick to, but all those traditions and routines started somewhere, and maybe your family celebration could use a thing or two to kick up the celebration a bit for Independence Day. Here are a few ideas we really like.
#Merica Music Playlist
We listen to Christmas music around Christmas time, so why not have an Independence Day playlist for July 4th? It’s a way for the different generations in your household to get exposed to some music they may not ordinarily hear. You should definitely have some traditional songs in there, like My Country ’tis of Thee or America the Beautiful (Ray Charles has a great rendition) or even the unforgettable Whitney Houston version of the National Anthem. But your playlist would be wanting if it didn’t include:
- Ragged Old Flag by Johnny Cash
- Living in the USA by Steve Miller Band
- Take Me Home, Country Roads by John Denver
- Born in the USA by Bruce Springsteen
- Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd
- God Bless the USA by Lee Greenwood
Visit a Cemetery
While Memorial Day and Veterans Day are fitting days to give thanks to veterans, so is July 4th! Think about visiting a cemetery and cleaning up some tombstones of veterans. You might even leave a flag or two.
Sometimes a local American Legion chapter might handle this, but don’t wait for permission to honor our dead. There are so many that are forgotten, and your family will learn a lesson that it’s important to care, in small and unseen ways, for those who have gone before.
Write a Note
Another variant on taking care of our veterans is writing a handwritten thank you note to a veteran in your life. If you don’t have one, ask around in your network. It’s something that can directly connect you with our country’s history and make someone else’s July 4th really special.
Red White and Blue Pot Luck
With strawberries and blueberries in season, and white bread to mop up bbq sauce, you’ve got easy starters for a red, white, and blue-themed pot luck. But there are plenty more options to make the celebration even more festive (and delicious). Get creative!
After rocking out to your #merica playlist all day why not enjoy an American-themed film in the evening? You’ll obviously want to pick to suit your audience, but here are some ideas:
- Independence Day
- Captain America: The First Avenger
- Saving Private Ryan
- Air Force One
- Apollo 13
- The Right Stuff
You can play invented-in-America games, whether of the outdoor variety, like football, baseball, basketball, and volleyball, or the indoor type, like Monopoly, Life, and Scrabble.
Have a Contest
Why not have different members of your family celebrate American history by dressing up and giving a speech or re-enacting a historical event? It doesn’t only have to come from the colonial period of history. You could consider the Lewis and Clark expedition or Rosa Parks, for example.
So many holidays have become commercialized these days, but the more non-commercial traditions a family celebrates, the more that children and other members of the family will see that holidays are not occasions to buy mattresses, but to truly celebrate something special.