Memorial Day unofficially starts the summer season, but with social distancing recommendations in place at the moment, you will be most likely celebrating it rather differently this year. Social gatherings with extended family and friends will probably not be a part of this year’s celebration. What can you still do to ensure this holiday stays special, all the while remembering the military personnel who sacrificed themselves for their country? Here are 10 ways in which you can make this holiday memorable this year.
1. Decorate in Red, White and Blue
This Memorial Day show your love for your country by making your surroundings a bit more star-spangled! You can have the children participate in some DIY decoration projects, which they can display again on the Fourth of July. Think gingham tablecloths, ribbon-tied flatware or a striped vase. Move your decorating ambitions outdoors and hang an American flag wreath on your front door. While you search your home for last year’s Memorial Day decorations, take some time to locate other seasonal decorations which you don’t need right now. You can rent a self storage unit to put them in, thereby creating extra space until you need them again when their turn comes around.
2. Fly the American Flag
Let your patriotism shine by hanging a flag in your front yard. This is a great time to teach your children how to correctly fly the flag for the holiday: Make sure to follow the proper US Flag Code by flying the flag at half-mast until noon, then afterwards raise it to full mast.
3. Watch the Memorial Day Concert on TV
While the yearly National Memorial Day Concert won’t take place on the West Lawn of the US Capitol this year, you can watch it by tuning in to PBS at 8 pm on Sunday, May 24. Actors Joe Mantegna and Gary Sinise will be the hosts of the event. The concert features Trace Adkins, CeCe Winans, the National Symphony Orchestra and many more.
4. Honor the Tradition of the Memorial Day Poppy
As a way of honoring Memorial Day, red poppies are worn on this holiday. As a matter of fact, the Friday before Memorial Day is known as National Poppy Day. You can either buy poppy pins at the store or can get crafty and make your own using tissue paper. Make sure to involve the entire family as a way to spend more time together while learning a new skill.
5. Donate to a Military-Related Cause
A great way to spend this holiday is by honoring the veterans. There are various programs dedicated to furthering the lives of current or former military personnel. Find a cause that’s important to you – veterans with PTSD, grieving families or soldiers coming to terms with disabilities. For instance, Operation Gratitude encourages people to get involved year-round, but they also host several events during the Memorial Day weekend. You can host a neighborhood drive to collect non-perishable items to make up care packages for soldiers.
6. Don’t Skip the Traditional Barbecue
Honor the American tradition of opening the summer season with a barbecue. This time around, your backyard festivities will most likely be restricted to your family members due to social distancing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a feast. Fire up the grill and try out a new recipe. If, however, you live in an area where a backyard is not an option, you can still barbecue indoors with a countertop grill.
7. Make It a Virtual Party
Just because we are socially distancing, it doesn’t mean you have to avoid all your friends during this celebratory weekend! Turn your barbecue into a party and invite your friends over Zoom or another virtual conferencing tool. You are probably already using the technology for work purposes if you’re working from home, so why not extend its use to socializing and enjoy your outdoor meal with friends. You can even use a video party game platform like Jackbox or other online games that can be streamed by groups to keep the fun party games alive.
8. Go for a Star-Spangled Dessert
Create a special Memorial Day-themed treat to accompany your backyard barbecue. Get your children involved: They will love decorating pretzel rods with white chocolate and red and blue sprinkles. Don’t forget about cupcakes, cookies or berry pies – they’re a delicious red, white and blue addition to your outdoor party.
9. Put Together a DIY Outdoor Movie Theater
We’ve already established that Memorial Day is not a time to spend indoors. Get all the family involved and set up an outdoor movie screen. All you need is a few PVC pipes, a drop cloth and a few tools in order to make the screen. It’s easy to set it up and you’ll be needing some popcorn in no time!
10. Make It a Complete Outdoor Night
Now that you’ve set up a movie theater outside, there’s no reason you shouldn’t get comfortable in a sleeping bag and watch a film with your entire family. Set up a tent nearby with pillows and blankets to be comfortable. Once the movie is over, you can stargaze, make a campfire, and munch some delicious s’mores while you enjoy each other’s company.