How to Celebrate the Fourth of July During a Pandemic

Dog jumping of fa dock with a flag cape

Believe it or not, the Fourth of July is right around the corner. While the traditional barbecues and pool parties may not be possible this year, there’s no reason why you can’t celebrate our nation’s birthday.

With that in mind, here’s a guide on how to celebrate Independence Day during the pandemic. Follow the suggestions below to celebrate in style.

Throw a socially-distant neighborhood block party.

One of the best parts of the Fourth of July is getting together with family and friends. While that may not be able to happen this year due to stay-at-home measures and social distancing, there are still ways to socialize, even if they look slightly different than anything we’ve ever seen before.

One idea that’s catching steam is the idea of a socially-distanced neighborhood block party. To make this work, you simply have to invite your neighbors to all grill out at the same time. However, here’s the catch: instead of grilling out in your backyards where you’ll be separated, bring the grill around front so you can all socialize together.

You can even take steps to make this feel like a cohesive event. Ask all your neighbors to bring out any holiday-appropriate decorations that they may have, play some background music for everyone to listen to, and give out sidewalk chalk to the families with children so that they have an activity to keep them occupied.

Use virtual tools to catch up on our nation’s history.

Especially if you have young children, learning about our nation’s history is the perfect way to spend the holiday. Fortunately, in light of the pandemic, many of the nation’s biggest educational attractions have released free virtual content for families to explore.

For example, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History is offering a host of online exhibitions. George Washington’s Mount Vernon is offering a free virtual tour. The Statue of Liberty is now offering its own version of an online tour. Additionally, the City of Philadelphia — where it all began — offers an online tour of some of its most historic areas.

A note to parents: Many of these tours have corresponding history lessons that go with them. Take the time to check out the tour and the lessons beforehand to see if they are age-appropriate for your little ones.

Donate to (or virtually volunteer for) your favorite nationwide cause.

Sometimes there’s no better way to celebrate than by giving back. If you can, consider donating to your favorite nationwide cause. While you can donate to whoever you’d like, if you’re looking for suggestions, Feeding America aims to help Americans in the fight against food insecurity, and Give Directly is helping to provide funds to those most in need during the pandemic.

If you would rather donate your time, you’ll be pleased to know that even in the middle of the spread of COVID-19, there are plenty of ways to do so virtually. Those who are fitness-minded may want to check out Virtual Charity Events, which gives you the opportunity to run or bike in various virtual events. If you’d rather offer other skills, Volunteer Match is a great place to find a volunteer opportunity that’s the right fit for you.

Watch some fireworks.

While standing shoulder-to-shoulder in a packed location to watch a fireworks display may not sound like a great match for this year’s celebrations, the great thing about fireworks is that you can see them from a variety of locations.

Take the time to find out where a fireworks display is happening near you this year and then make plans to park your car somewhere nearby to watch the show. (Fair warning, some locations are canceling this year’s celebrations to comply with social distancing measures. You may want to double-check that the show is still going to take place.)

To make the event even more special, consider packing some snacks to enjoy while watching the show. Popcorn is always a solid choice for this type of event because it travels well. However, you could also bring the fixings for campfire-less smores or your favorite movie theater candy.

Plan a patriotic movie night.

If you’d rather spend the night in with your family, look no further than a patriotic movie night that puts all your favorites on the list. Do a double-feature and choose two films that either have to do with America’s history or that put American accomplishments front and center. Then, once it’s dark out, get cozy and enjoy the show.

Of course, no movie night is complete without plenty of snacks either. Be sure to load up on those before the show starts. While classic movie theater snacks are always a good choice, consider branching out include more patriotic snacks like a fruit platter with bananas, strawberries, and blueberries or a strawberry and blueberry pie.

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