I first started noticing it when I moved to South Dakota: Holidays just didn’t feel like holidays anymore. At first I thought it was because I worked basically every single holiday, and still do (the beauty of the news- it never sleeps, or in this case, breaks for holidays.) But as I got to thinking, I realized it was more than that- since I was no longer near my family and friends, my holidays were lacking the traditions I grew up with.
Every holiday had it’s fair share of traditions in my family. 4th of July was a big one growing up. It always started with my cousins coming over bright and early so we could start decorating our bikes. See, our town had a parade where all the neighborhood kids and their parents would decorate their bikes (and themselves) as patriotic as possible and then walk in the parade for all to see! We went all out- streamers, glitter, ribbons! We even dressed my youngest cousin up as the statue of liberty once. Our goal wasn’t only to impress parade onlookers, it was to impress the judges! After the parade we’d all file in to Sheridan Park for the contests, treats and eventually, fireworks. My favorite part though had to be the cracker jacks and ice cream. Ever since, every time I eat either of those I automatically think 4th of July!
After we won the contest (of course) and ate enough cracker jacks and ice cream to keep our sugar highs energized for weeks, we’d wait for dusk and watch the fire works. Inevitably I would always get a glow in the dark necklace from the passing vendors. Once the final firework exploded in the night sky, we would all walk back to the house, where we would light off more fireworks of our own. And no 4th of July would be complete without sparklers!
As we got older, the tradition changed in little ways, like we went from being in the parade to watching it (our spots on the curb always saved by my dad before the sun had even risen- we had to get the prime spots so we could catch the candy!)
I really missed those traditions. I missed every little piece, every little memory. So my boyfriend Sean and I started incorporating those little traditions into our holidays. It was never the whole shebang, but by doing that, the holidays starting feeling like holidays again.
So for this 4th of July holiday, even though I have to work, it will still feel like a holiday, because I will be anticipating getting home and lighting off my sparklers, and celebrating my 4th. It would be even better to have my family around for it all (they are all still in Wisconsin), but every time I light up a sparkler, or dig into some cracker jacks, they’re there in spirit. :)
What are your 4th of July traditions? Old or new? Please share! :)