patriotic american flag

Happy 4th, everyone. I think Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays – it’s in the summer, there are fireworks and candy and parades, pancake breakfasts, BBQ dinners – aren’t these some of the great things about America? Hmm-mmm.

I’ve been thinking about our 4th of July traditions, getting ready to celebrate, and I wanted to share mine and get some ideas from you for next year. I am constantly on the lookout for fun family traditions to add to our repertoire because I LOVE TRADITIONS!

When I was growing up, we had a 4th of July pancake breakfast out in the backyard with my parents, 5 siblings, and grandparents. We had a large and beautiful backyard with a little creek just behind our house, and I remember smelling the fresh morning air and feeling happy and content with my family all around. I remember feeling the excitement of the day – the upcoming parade, family baseball game, and fireworks accompanied by homemade popcorn with way too much butter salt.

My mom would occasionally teach us a new patriotic song around the 4th of July. The one I remember best is There’s Only One America, and I still catch myself singing that song at random times throughout the year. Singing songs together is a great way to celebrate any holiday!

I grew up in a small town across the street from my church and a big parking lot. The parade started right by my house, so every 4th I would wake up really early to the sound of horse hooves clacking on the streets and people bustling around, getting ready to make their appearance on Main Street.

I don’t know why, but I’m getting all blubbery just thinking about this! Maybe because so much has changed since then, almost all good, but that time of my life is gone and I can’t ever have it back. That’s why traditions are so important – people need happy memories to look back on and draw from and recreate in their own families.

the star spangled banner book peter spierAs an adult now with my own family we have started a few of our own traditions. We attend a hot air balloon festival each 4th of July, followed by the parade. Then we usually BBQ with friends. Another one I’m going to add this year is reading my favorite patriotic book, The Star-Spangled Banner, by Peter Spier. As you might guess, the book puts pictures to the words of our National Anthem. The first verse is the most popular and well-known, but the subsequent 3 verses are just as powerful and poetic.

I want my family to appreciate and love our country and the principles on which it was founded, so part of our tradition is to think and talk about the founding of our country and give thanks for the people who made it happen. God bless America!

I would love to hear your Independence Day family traditions, so please share!


1 The Narcissist July 4, 2008 at 11:33 am

Your traditions are pretty much identical to mine! Start with a parade, Barbeque with friends, finish at a big city festival for games, food and fireworks. It’s for SURE my favorite holiday of the year. No expense, no preparation, just wake up and let everyone else entertain you for the day. It’s also the most emotional holiday for me, as I am very patriotic. I cry at least once every year during the fireworks show (I think the coordinating music is a major contributer to that)

Great post. Now I’m all excited to get back out there and play some more!

2 Michelle Dawn July 4, 2008 at 2:53 pm

Happy Independence Day! I’m Canadian, but would love to steal some of those traditions -it sounds like a lot of fun.

3 Jessica July 4, 2008 at 7:54 pm

I am like you, I love traditions. Love carrying on old ones and starting new ones. 4th of July has always been pretty big in my family growing up. Now that I don’t live in my home town anymore I try and go back every year for the 4th. Couldn’t do it this year. :(
Anyway, we would always have a big cookout with all the family. Get a huge game of wiffle ball going, swim, do sparklers, watch fireworks, wear our red, white, and blue!

4 Jeri July 4, 2008 at 8:15 pm

We don’t have any great traditions yet. We used to go to a baseball game on the 4th because they always have great fireworks after – but two little kids would make that too hard. We do have BBQ every year and we get some little fireworks for the kids. This year we plan on seeing if we can see the fireworks from our deck. Half an hour to go!

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