Just when warm memories of the long Memorial Day weekend are beginning to fade, already thoughts are turning to the next summer holiday -- the Fourth of July. From parades to picnics, the patriotic activities to celebrate our nation's birthday are among some of the most cherished of the year.
It's never too soon to start planning for your own party to make this year more memorable than ever. Whether it's a fancy shindig or a down-home casual get together, it doesn't matter, but here's a checklist of essentials for any Fourth of July celebration.
Invitations -- Whether by snail mail, e-mail, or hand-delivered, set the tone of the event with creative invitations.
Decorations -- The theme is all set, and there's no limit to the red, white, and blue, and stars and stripes potential. From plates and napkins to balloons and centerpieces, let your patriotic flag fly.
Sunscreen -- Summer days are longer, so unless you're starting late night you're going to need plenty of sunscreen on hand. Red is great for decorations, not guests.
Bug Spray -- For all the joy summer brings, it also brings out the mosquitoes and bugs. Makes sure you have plenty of insect repellent so your guests aren't left swatting and itching endlessly.
Food & Drinks -- From barbecue to patriotic red, white, and blue recipes, it's a great holiday to get festive with the fare.
Noise Makers -- If fireworks aren't your thing, you can still celebrate loudly with horns, bells, and other loud ways to say Happy Birthday to America.
Children's Activities -- Speaking of noise ... the Fourth of July is about family, so make sure you have plenty of activities on hand to keep children entertained (and out from underfoot). Things like bubbles, sprinklers, and water balloons are all sure to be hits.
Patriotic Clothing -- Christmas sweaters and most other holiday attire are a big what-not-to-wears as far as I'm concerned, but when it comes to some good old red, white, and blue outfits, you can't go wrong.
Are you planning a Fourth of July party? What essentials would you add to the list?
Image via Hryck/Flickr