Today I read Gena's post about the 4th of July holiday and it inspired me to write some of my thoughts on holiday traditions. Sadly, there will be no pictures today because all our old holiday pictures were taken on film and live in a box under my baby sister's bed.
As a child, the holidays meant getting to see the extended family. If you grew up far from your aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins you'll know just how exciting it is to see family. From what I understand, families that all grow up in the same town have thier share of drama and squabbles. But if you all live in different states every time the whole family gets together it's just a huge joyous occasion (accompanied by lots of dirty dishes). So, in a sense the holidays are a time to catch up on the lives of my other family members.
These days I'm a young adult living far from her immediate family, so the only holiday that I spend with everyone is Christmas. So, I'm currently trying to come up with my own holiday traditions. I do have a new Thanksgiving tradition that I share with my aunt and uncle who moved to North Carolina just a few months before I did. But Independence Day kinda fell through the cracks.
My family always spent July 4th at the beach with a few other relatives. The morning was always spent doing "Beachy things" like swimming, digging in sand, or sleeping in and reading novels in a rocking chair. In the afternoon the neighborhood had a parade. It wasn't a very large neighborhood, but there were always plenty of people around to be in the parade with lots left over to watch it from beach-house balconies. I recall in the pre-vacation shopping we would plan the perfect red, white, and blue outfits so we could march in the parade. My youngest sister got really excited about it when she was small. I think it was because we handed her one of those little plastic American flags and everyone gave her lots of attention while she marched (was carried by me or Hollie). I recall taking several hits to the face with that flag, but we still had lots of fun.
There was always a cookout in the evenings. I do recall one year that involved pounds of shrimp that had to be cleaned. That year we spent our morning doing the "beachy" activity of shelling 3 lbs of shrimp. The fireworks were never a big deal to me so I don't have much of a memory about that part. The best part about the holiday was getting to see family and laugh and joke around all day.
I still don't have an Independence Day tradition. Instead, I worked until noon and now I'm back home to continue grant writing. However, it has got me thinking about how I'll celebrate holidays when I have a family of my own. What were my favorite elements when I was a child (probably the endless supply of hotdogs), and which things would my future offspring(?) enjoy?
Perhaps I'll grill hotdogs for dinner. :)