Ah, the 4th of July! It’s the hallmark of summer and a time to gather for one of the most special holidays of the year. Unfortunately, as busy moms know, it can be difficult to fully enjoy the moment when we are focusing on the “details” as the host of a get-together.
The good news is that it’s possible to celebrate the 4th this year without a lot of fuss! Whether you are keeping the festivities small or getting together with a large group of family and friends, simplicity is key.
Here are some fun and easy ways to create a no-stress, festive 4th of July event that will put a smile on everyone’s face.
First, embrace the idea of “store-bought”.
If you have time to cook, wonderful! But, if you are struggling to find the margin to prepare homemade goodies for your 4th of July gathering, listen: it is perfectly okay to just head to your local grocery store or bakery. All you’ll need is creativity to spruce up store-bought items to fit your Independence Day vibe. Remember, the goal is to focus on your people, without getting sidetracked by the stress of doing #allthethings. So, begin by eliminating unneeded pressure and giving yourself some grace!
Make the food the easy part.
The more you can prep your menu ahead of time, the easier it will be to engage with your guests instead of getting overwhelmed by your food to-do list. Here is a couple of festive 4th of July menu ideas that are not only simple to execute but also so much fun.
- Hot Dog Bar: Sure, cookouts are king when it comes to Independence Day, but how about putting a twist on an All-American classic? A hot dog bar is a fun way to enjoy a meal that perfectly suits your guests’ unique tastes.
- Begin by offering a variety of items – from the types of meat on your bar (think traditional hot dogs, along with bratwursts and chicken sausages), to the breads and toppings in your spread. This will not only make it interesting for your guests but also meet the individual tastes and dietary needs of everyone at the table.
- Prep everything ahead of time. A hot dog bar couldn’t be easier to prep ahead! By cooking or grilling your meat before your guests arrive, you’ll free yourself up to fully engage in the fun once the festivities begin. You can also prepare all of your hot dog bar toppings a day or two in advance so that set-up is your only “day-of” task.
- Have fun with it! The best part of any kind of food bar is that there’s something for everyone. While you may choose to anchor your topping selection with traditional condiments like ketchup, mustard, relish, and onions, don’t be afraid to get creative with non-traditional additions like specialty relishes and slaws, chili, bacon, crumbled cheeses, or even pineapple! And, remember, you do not have to tackle preparing these toppings yourself; store-bought varieties are perfect.
Festive Fruit: Everyone loves fruit at their summer gatherings, and one of the easiest 4th of July sides is a fun and patriotic fruit kabob. You will just need some wooden skewers and your favorite red and blue fruits, like strawberries, red grapes and blueberries. Bananas or even large marshmallows add that little pop of “white” to make this kid-pleasing treat an Independence Day home run. Speaking of kids, this is a part of food prep that is perfect for little hands. Enlist your kiddos – they’ll love helping to make this fun dish!
Dessert Made Easy: Don’t reinvent the wheel when it comes to dessert. All you need is some red, white, and blue, and you can add a little Independence Day spark to anything! For example, pick up your favorite cupcakes from your local grocery store or bakery and top them with 4th of July-themed sprinkles. You can also take a simple ice cream sandwich and dip the sides in red, white, and blue sprinkles for the same effect.
And, who doesn’t love a traditional red, white, and blue “rocket” popsicle? We loved them as kids and now there are even healthier versions on the market for our children. Again, simplicity is key… and these low-maintenance treats are guaranteed crowd-pleasers.
Remember that a little goes a long way when it comes to the extras.
The 4th of July lends itself to fun all on its own, so don’t let the “extras” overwhelm you. When it comes to Independence Day, old-school fun translates extremely well today. Who didn’t love running around in the sprinkler and setting off sparklers as a kid? I promise you that this generation is going to enjoy it just as much. Decorations don’t need to be complicated either. Grab your kiddos and take a trip to your local dollar store for red, white, and blue decor to put around the house. Just keep it easy.
When we reflect as adults, aren’t some of our best memories the ones that are most wholesome and simple?
I have a feeling that, in our complicated and busy world, these are the moments that our kids are going to remember the most, too. So, take the pressure off yourselves, mamas, and just “be” this 4th of July. You won’t regret taking the focus off the details and putting it on what’s most important.
Happy Independence Day!
Looking to celebrate outside of your house? Be sure to check out these events in and around Atlanta.