Another fabulous 4th of July is upon us. It’s summertime, the kids are off from school, things are a bit more relaxed, and I love having a holiday that celebrates American independence. Best of all, a perfectly patriotic get-together with family and friends doesn’t have to break the bank, if you know where to shop.
A Frugally Festive 4th of July
The Decorations – Nothing says Independence Day like a house decorated in over-the-top amounts of red, white and blue. The best place to shop for materials is your local dollar store, where miles of red, white and blue streamers await you, as well as scissors, markers, glue and (if you’re feeling brave) glitter. Show even a minimum of care to these festive accessories and you’ll find they store beautifully in a nearby drawer for next year’s parties (not to mention Memorial Day, Flag Day & Veterans Day). While you’re at the dollar store, stock up on your red, white and blue paper plates, napkins, cups and cutlery as well.
Related: 4th of July Entertaining Ideas
The Movies – I took an informal poll of friends and family to see what movies hit the patriotic mark, and got a fabulous list. My personal pick is the 1942 Classic “Yankee Doodle Dandy” with James Cagney. Family and friends chimed in with the excellent suggestions of “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” and one of my all-time-favorites, “Saving Private Ryan” as must-sees. I don’t have any teenagers in my house, but others “in the know” assure me that the 1996 film “Independence Day” is required viewing for those between the ages of 14-18.
The Food – This holiday calls for a day out of the kitchen, with a menu based entirely around your grill! My advice is to keep it simple (and inexpensive) with burgers and hotdogs. If your guest list calls for a few steaks and some seafood, start scouting out the sales at your local supermarket now, and keep the items in the freezer until the big day. Best bets for side dishes include chips and salsa, potato salad, popsicles and patriotic red and blue berries covered in impressive amounts of whipped cream.
The Fireworks – Don’t even think about setting off your own; I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “Do-It-Yourself-Fireworks” stories that ended with less than festive results. Nothing says Independence Day buzz kill like an impromptu visit to your local emergency room. Instead, set off on a Google search of nearby parks where you can catch the show. Just grab a blanket and scout out a spot where you can enjoy a beautiful summer night sky filled with free fireworks… orchestrated by trained professionals.
Happy Birthday, America!
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