Memorial Day was one of my favorite holidays growing up. My uncle would have a pool party, and no matter how cold it was (and in PA in May, it can still be really cold!), Memorial Day was always the first day of swimming for the summer. I remember standing by the side of the pool after a long day in the water, shivering, trying to convince my mom that I wasn’t cold and should be allowed to keep swimming. Nowadays I won’t even put my toes in a pool unless the water is 80 degrees. How times change!
Next to the swimming and the socializing, the best part of the day (for me) was the food. There were hot dogs and hamburgers from the grill, and everyone brought something delicious, whether it was a salad, ziti and meatballs, brownies or my favorite, zucchini quiche. There were also a couple of crowd favorites which I was always skeptical about: a chopped ham salad that everyone seemed to love, and a Reuben Casserole my mom would make that looked and smelled like the definition of “Blurgh” to me. The “old folks” went bonkers for that casserole. Now that my palate has matured a bit, I think I might actually like the ham salad. No amount of arm twisting will get me to touch that Reuben casserole, though…the phrase “corned beef” just makes me shudder.
Of course, even though Memorial Day is the unofficial first day of Summer, it is about much more than food and fun. It is really about remembering those who fought for our freedoms. All those hanging flags and red, white, and blue decorations that I would hardly notice as a kid now seem just as essential as great food and the kicking off of summer fun. Here are some Memorial Day party ideas that capture the spirit of the day:
This DIY Carnation Flag Wreath can also be used for the 4th of July and Labor Day:
A simple chalkboard can transform into a tasteful welcome and remembrance:
If you have ever wondered how you could get more use out of your Christmas ornaments, this patriotic display is the perfect solution:
For more Memorial Day food and drink ideas, check out our post on Summer Holiday Party Ideas, or our Pinterest board:
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