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Twelve Star-Spangled 4th of July Family Traditions

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4th of July Traditions

I have a deep appreciation for positive traditions. Traditions pack our lives full of memories. They’re a thread that binds us together. They shape the identity of our family or friend group. They fill our days with meaningful fun.

The Fourth of July has always been one of my favorite holidays.

Growing up, our family always gathered at my grandmother’s home.

The aroma of hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill permeated the air. Grandma also fixed up food fresh from her garden – corn-on-the-cob, green beans slow-cooked all day, and blackberry cobbler. She used berries growing wild in her yard. Homemade ice cream topped off the meal.

No matter how hot it was, we ate outside.

As the sun faded, grandma handed out jars from her kitchen for catching fireflies. It was always a competition to see who could catch the most.

I loved running through her huge yard, hiding behind trees, and gathering light for my jar.  

The dad’s shot off fireworks as we sat on blankets spread out on the cool grass. The night culminated with sparklers and snakes. 

New Family Traditions

 When I got married and had my own kids, we developed some very special traditions. Every year we invited our closest friends to bring their kids and join us for a big celebration. We decked our home in star-spangled splendor for about 100 people who showed up each year. Loved it immensely!

In the afternoon, there was swimming off the dock in the lake behind our house.

In early evening, we savored dishes from the kitchens of our friends at our potluck dinner. My husband always grilled the meat for the meal.

At dusk, everyone began finding their places for the show. The display was on a point on the lake just two houses away from us. Some lazed in lawn chairs in our backyard. Others floated on the water on pontoon boats as the sparkles and glimmers exploded in the sky overhead – and reflected in the water around them.

After the show, everyone returned to our home for s’mores around fire pit, sparklers, snakes, smoke bombs, and other explosive things.

We’ve since moved from that place. I miss those parties (and friends) like crazy, but we’ve come up with some new traditions. We go out on the lake for the day and watch fireworks from our boat. It’s pretty great.

 Traditions you might try with your family: 

1. Put out a flag

Show some patriotism and love for this great country we live in.

4th of July traditions

 

2. Buy fireworks for your own fun

It’s fun to watch the big stuff from a distance, but 4th of July isn’t complete without blowing up your own stuff.

3. Go to a parade – or join a parade

Our kids used to decorate their bikes for the annual 4th of July bike parade in our neighborhood. It was a big deal and something we all looked forward to.

4. Make it a party – invite friends and family over

Relationships. Community. Fellowship. There’s just nothing like it. This is what “the great life” is made of.

5. Fire up the grill

Here’s a great rib recipe. The smell as they cook will make your mouth water. Fall-off-the-bone delicious!

 

4th of July traditions

6. Crank out some homemade ice cream

This link to ice-cream recipes includes flavors like Pecan Caramel Crunch, Key Lime Pie, and Vanilla Bean ice cream. 

7, Go somewhere to watch the big fireworks

This is the best way to end the day. Ooh’s and ah’s, and eyes filled with wonder all around.

8. Make homemade lemonade

My aunt used to make homemade lemonade. I still remember its sweet taste. It was a real treat for the whole family.


 

Old-Fashioned Lemonade

Combine 1 1/2 cups sugar with 1/2 cup boiling water. Stir until sugar dissolves. Add 1 1/2 cups fresh lemon juice (about 6 lemons) and 5 cups cold water. Mix well and chill.

 


 

9. Catch fireflies

Magical and whimsical, chasing the flashing lights of fireflies creates moment of wonder for everyone involved.

4th of July traditions

 

10. Eat s’mores

Make it easy on yourself with pre-made s’more kits like the one I made in this small Ball jar. Eliminates constantly handing out graham crackers and chocolate to your guests. Consider including a wet wipe for sticky hands.

4th of July traditions

Backyard S’more Party

Star-Spangled S’mores

11. Make traditional foods each year – like my grandma’s blackberry cobbler

 


 

Fresh Blackberry Cobbler

  • Put 4 cups fresh blackberries in a greased 8×8 pan. Sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon lemon juice.
  • Stir together 1 egg, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup flour until mixture looks like fine crumbs.
  • Sprinkle mixture over blackberries.
  • Drizzle 6 Tablespoons melted butter over the top.
  • Bake at 375for 35 minutes. Allow to stand for 10 minutes. Serve with whipped cream or homemade vanilla ice cream. Yum!

 


 

12. Read the Declaration of Independence as a family

Unfortunately, many have forgotten the truth about our founding fathers and what took place at the formation of our nation. What better way to honor the holiday than by reading the document written in 1776.

 

20071018_declaration

  

I’m hoping your 4th of July is filled with laughter, wonder, and rich memories. Get out there and have some fun!

What are your favorite 4th of July family traditions?

 
Lisa~

 

5 Comments

  1. Cindy says:

    I think of you all every 4th of July and remember with such fondness the years we celebrated with you. Sweet memories!! Thank you for ALL the times you’ve welcomed us to your lovely home. Enjoy your day on the lake!!

  2. Pam says:

    Hi Lisa,
    I am new to your website/blog and I love it here! Great Fourth of July post! I will be back for more visits. Take care. Blessings!

  3. Hi Lisa!
    I was searching for ways to celebrate Independence Day and found your website! I love this article and am going to share it on my blog!

    Have a wonderful 4th of July!

  4. I found this article in researching family traditions for Independence Day. Wonderful article. I shared it on my blog on July 3rd:)

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