For Americans, Memorial Day is kind of like the official kickoff of summer. Most of the families I know like to pack up and head to the lake or the beach, and everyone has huge parties and barbecues.
Thanks to coronavirus, this year’s grand plans are definitely canceled. Even though that’s a bit disappointing, you don’t have to throw out the celebration completely!
There are still plenty of fun things that you and your close family members (or whoever you’re quarantined with) can do to make the most of the holiday and honor the sacrifice of all of our soldiers, both past and present.
You don’t have to throw out the holiday completely! There are still plenty of fun things that you can do to make the most of your Memorial Day staycation.
1. DIY Some Decorations
Sure, you can buy some bunting and put up a flag, but we all have some extra time on our hands now, so why not try your hand at some DIY projects?
One of my favorite things to do is make a themed wreath for my front door. You can buy anything you need from the craft store or online, and there are tons of YouTube tutorials that walk you through how to make simple or intricate wreaths.
If you have a paved driveway or sidewalk, grab some sidewalk chalk or make your own sidewalk chalk paint with cornstarch and food coloring (here are some easy instructions!), and make a patriotic mural that even Banksy would admire.
You and your kids (or your adult roommates or just you … whatever!) can have fun decorating the sidewalk or driveway for all to see. You can even make a hopscotch grid and turn it into a drinking game! Nothing says “good, safe fun” like jumping around on pavement while you’re tipsy, right?
2. Have a Huge Picnic
You can do this indoors or outside if you have a big enough yard. Grab a big blanket, pull out the plasticware, and search out the most American recipes you can think of to make.
Grill up hotdogs and hamburgers, learn how to make amazing baked beans, make some mini apple pies (and cover them in spray can whipped cream), buy your favorite American beer (or just make some sangria, whatever floats your boat), and pretend you’re on vacation. You can also get the kids to help you make a booze-free punch so that they can have something special to drink too.
If you’re going to be outside, don’t forget the sunscreen and citronella candles! Mosquitoes and sunburn are my least favorite parts of Memorial Day, no matter where I am.
3. Glamp in Your Backyard
I’m not really an outdoorsy person, but I can get behind glamping because it’s basically just bringing the comforts of inside, outside. If you want to drag a tent and sleeping bag into your yard and rough it, absolutely do that. If you’re like me though, I suggest making your Memorial Day glamping session a little more luxe.
For these festivities, we aren’t sleeping outside (unless you’re into that). Instead, we’re doing all of the fun, “stuff-you-read-in-a-book” camping activities, but in style.
This means making fancy s’mores in a fire pit (I’m talking dark chocolate, nut butters, dried fruits, sprinkles, cinnamon graham crackers—go all out!), sipping cocktails in blankets and sleeping bags, watching a movie on a projector, telling cheesy scary stories, and stargazing if you can.
If you have kids, you can set up a tent with tons of pillows and blankets, grab some flashlights, and read books or make shadow puppets. Have fun with it!
4. Pay Your Respects
Sometime during the weekend, you and your family can take a trip to the local cemetery to place flags, flowers, or handwritten thank-you’s on the memorials and graves of soldiers who fought for our country.
This doesn’t have to be a sad activity, but it’s important for everyone to remember that Memorial Day is not only a time to celebrate being American but also to pay tribute to all of the men and women who fought to allow us to live freely.
5. Attend a Virtual Tour
There are a lot of museums and historical sites that are offering free virtual tours in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you want to take a trip without leaving your living room, you and your family can make a list of museums and national memorials that you would like to “visit” this Memorial Day weekend.
You can Google “Memorial Day virtual tours” to find dozens of lists to choose from, but I’ll also include a few links here to get you started:
If there’s a specific monument, museum, war, or memorial you’re interested in learning about, I suggest doing a Google search for that specifically! There’s so much interesting history to learn about.
Get Creative With Your Celebration!
You might not be able to go to the beach or spend a long weekend at the lake, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a fun Memorial Day staycation. Besides all of the things I mentioned above, there are also virtual 5ks that you can sign up for, virtual commemoration services you can attend, fundraisers and volunteer projects that you can donate to, and parks you can visit!
What do you plan to do to enjoy your Memorial Day staycation this year? I’d love to know!