I know that most of you, if asked what your favorite holiday is, would answer with one of the two biggies in our culture: Thanksgiving or Christmas. I mean, it's actually a rare find to hear someone answer that question with neither of the above.
But I always am one of those rare gems. Because July 4th has been my answer to that question for more than a decade. And here's why:
no high expectations
Because the fourth is the kind of holiday that is typically casual in nature, little expectation is found on this day. You don't have the anticipation of a grand feast to attend, you aren't stressed about what to bring, who's family you'll spend the holiday with this year, and gifts....the stress and joy (mostly stress) of gift giving isn't included. Typically, the only letdowns this holiday potentially offers is the likelihood of a thunderstorm right when the hotdogs are about to go on the grill.
The menu on this holiday includes everything from fried deliciousness at the local festival to homemade apple pie and flag inspired desserts. Add fresh garden veggies and luscious berries of red and blue and, of course, massive buttery ears of corn and this birthday dinner for our great nation has all the bases covered. I absolutely adore all of the delicious "outdoor/cookout" foods and the smell of that grill firing out seemingly endless amounts of American-loving meat is just the best.
fireworks and fireflies
One of the ONLY nights of the year I allow my children to stay up past 9pm is this day. The anticipation of what will be the culmination of what was hopefully a very family-filled celebration of our country's birth, is no doubt, the fireworks display. Even more fun, is watching manly family members set off their own light show in your backyard. And if your husband is anything like mine, the fourth offers a "pyro" a great excuse to play with fire without getting chastised for it.
Beforehand, catching fireflies with your little ones as the sun is setting, is almost as cool as a light filled patriotic sky.
family, festivals, and freedom
What other holiday comes with no strings attached family fun?! What other holiday is filled with creative ways to cool off, Ferris wheels, and parades with tractors, war veterans and fire trucks?! What other holiday clearly brings us all together...doesn't divide us base on religion, taboo traditions, and having to feel pulled in a million directions to the point where we can't honestly enjoy the holiday?! On the fourth we are simply "Americans". We are united as One Nation, Under God. We are reminded of why this holiday makes all the other holidays possible. Freedom to celebrate, freedom to pray, freedom to express ourselves...it's a time to feel nostalgic about how blessed and grateful we should feel about being American.
This is why the fourth is my favorite holiday. Family, faith, and freedom encompass the entire day and encourages us all to be better Americans. To be better citizens of this great nation and to be grateful for the lives both lost and saved so that we can celebrate another year of freedom.
Happy Fourth! Maybe some of you will find yourself a new favorite holiday this year. I would love to have that in common with you!