By: Elisheva Blumberg, Lubicom Staff
Happy traditions make happy families.
And with the summer sun, the many local events, and of course, the celebratory spirit of the day, July 4th is ripe for creating the kind of happy memories — and happy traditions — that your family can share in for years to come.
Fire up the grill
To many of us, it wouldn’t be Independence Day without the aroma of flame-grilled hot dogs and rib steaks.
Here’s why BBQs are awesome:
- They’re easy (especially if you’re not the one manning the grill…)
- There’s something for everyone (what other meal can please carnivores, vegans, and picky kids?)
- They’re healthy (check out these tips for creating a healthy July 4th BBQ with Rorie)
- They’re portable (with a disposable grill you can bring the BBQ anywhere)
- They’re versatile (for a full on-the-grill meal, see The Ultimate 4th of July Menu)
- They keep your kitchen clean (‘nuff said)
Whether you set up your cookout at the park, a block party, or in your backyard, barbecuing is one July 4th tradition you’ll want to repeat year after year.
In search of a minimal-planning, minimal-cost Independence Day activity? Look no further than your nearest community park.
Your local city or county will most likely have a free or low-cost event being held near you. Parades, carnivals, and county fairs abound on this legal holiday. And sometimes, it’s the quaintest event that ends up being the most fun.
I have a friend who fondly remembers the July 4th carnivals of her youth, in which they let kids volunteer as dunk tank victims. You can never predict where your kid’s best memories will come from!
Cue the fireworks
At the risk of sounding like a killjoy, I haven’t always been a fireworks fan. Actually, I’ve never been a fan of anything that keeps my kids up late at night.
But when it comes to fireworks, I’ve learned one thing: if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
No matter how much the noise may drive me nuts, my explosion-happy neighbors will spend the entire first week of July testing out their new comets, crosettes, and crackle effects (these are all actual fireworks effects. There’s a Fireworks Dictionary, apparently.)
Since fireworks will happen no matter what, I may as well enjoy them. And I gotta admit, there’s something wonderfully childlike and magical about those gorgeous starbursts of color and light.
Whether you go big (i.e., visit an official display, like the Macy’s fireworks over NYC’s East River) or go home (i.e., let your kids watch your neighbor’s light show from the safety of their bedroom window), fireworks will be an enduring tradition you’ll grow to love (or at the very least, tolerate.)
Red, white, and blue
For a quieter Independence Day tradition, think: red, white, and blue. This patriotic trio of colors lends itself to beautiful themes for festive crafts and tantalizing treats.
For an easy dessert to make with kids, assemble a cake or ice cream dessert using this Stars and Stripes pan. You could also try this Lemon Mousse and Berry Tart by Paula Shoyer or these Vanilla Strawberry Trifles by Faigy Grossman, or any of the roundup options in Red, White, and Blue Recipe Ideas for the 4th of July.
While all the flash!bang!whiz! of Independence Day can create thrilling and exciting memories for your whole family, you can also use this legal holiday as a time for reflection.
Even young children are able to understand the concept of hakarat hatov — being thankful for the freedom we have to fully observe the Torah and mitzvot, and to understand that it has not always been this way.
Taking the time to acknowledge appreciation for our religious freedom? Now that’s a tradition worth passing on.