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Pool parties, barbecues, and fireworks are great Fourth of July traditions. However, there are other ways you can celebrate this important holiday with your family and friends. Why not give one of these unique ideas a try this year? You might just find a new favorite family tradition.
- Read the Declaration of Independence
July 4th is the perfect time to read and reflect on this historic document. Don’t have a copy handy? No problem. You can read the entire document online at the National Archives website. It’s a fairly easy-to-read document that people of all ages and abilities can appreciate and understand, at least on some level. Consider reading it aloud as a family and having a discussion about what the Declaration means to you.
- Thank a Veteran or Service Member
Our freedom did not come free. Why not do something special to show a veteran or service member how thankful you are for their service? It could be for someone you know personally or a complete stranger. Send a letter or care package, or perform a small act of service to show how much you care. Contact your local VA Hospital and see what needs they may have and donate a few items.
- Care for Your Community
Likewise, share the love with those who keep your community safe. Take some treats to your local police or fire department. Remember, many of these men and women have to pull extra shifts on July 4th, so they would probably appreciate the kind thought. Hand out cold bottled water at the local parade or community celebration. If you are traveling over the holiday, think about doing something a little extra-special for your bus driver, pilot, flight attendant, and so on. Consider ways you can continue to volunteer in your community and serve others … even after the holiday is over.
- Host an All-American Meal
Enjoy a dinner or picnic featuring all of your favorite classic American foods … what you eat may vary wildly, depending on how much of a food critic you are! Of course there are the standard favorite “American” foods like hot dogs, hamburgers, and apple pie. A hot dog bar or make-your-own sundaes are two kid-friendly options.
- Deck the Halls … In Red, White, and Blue
Drag out the patriotic decorations and make your house festive with a touch of Americana. (Look in our Kid’s Corner for a fun and easy lantern craft that will help you light up the night on Independence Day and beyond.) Cut out paper stars, hang some streamers, fly Old Glory, and celebrate in style!
- Read a History Novel
This July 4th, pick up a classic history novel with American cultural or historical significance. Or read a biography about a famous American. You might discover something new. If reading non-fiction isn’t really your style, try a historical fiction novel.
- Visit a National Landmark or Historic Site
Last but not least, take time to look up historic locations near you and plan a trip. You may have to schedule your visit around the actual holiday – many national and state parks may be closed on July 4th to give their employees time to celebrate.
No matter how you choose to do it, the birth of America and our freedom and independence are all worth celebrating!