When we were younger we used to attend huge 4th of July celebrations among great crowds of people, with a featured band, lots of noise, in a carnival atmosphere.
As the years have gone by we have given it all up for a home celebration. We felt safer and more comfortable, were able to use our own kitchen and find a restroom more easily. The first year we stayed home, we studied how people celebrated the fourth of July in previous centuries and tried to immitate that. Some of our ideas came from The American Girls Handibook and The American Boys Handibook, which were reprints from the late 1800's.
These books explained how to make harmless fireworks out of bright, sparkly cellophane and metallic papers. These were cut to make fringes, and tied around little beans to give them weight, then dropped from a high place such as an upstairs balcony. They twirl as they make their way down to the lawn. Lacking a balcony, trees or a ladder give a good height. Another simple child's fireworks consisted of a straw to hold, on which was stuffed some sparkly paper that the child could wave around. We had great fun with many of the fireworks crafts from these books, and still get them out of the tin where we stored them, each year.
One year we had a dog and pony parade. To do this, the family just finds everything they own with wheels, and every animal that will cooperate and stay in line. Wagons, tricycles, bicycles, lawn mowers of any type (push or ride), will do. The children carry flags while they ride in the "parade," and we take pictures.
This year the traffic in the city was impossible to navigate in order to see the annual city fireworks. We stayed home in the country and had our own display, which was quite good. We talked to the children about the meaning of the Fourth and what it meant to other countries, as well. My email was interesting, as I received "Congratulations," on the birth of our country from Russia, The Ukraine, Romania, Great Britain, and Kenya. Our country is noticed by people all over the world and is of special concern to them. Many of these people know and understand the reason behind the existance of America more than some of our own citizens. Some of these countries actually appreciate it more, as they suffer things that we have never had to endure.
Then we took a quilt and laid it in a farmer's field in the moonlight and watched the fireworks on display from a nearby town. We had snacks on a tray and some cold drinks. While we were sitting outside we were commenting how pleasant it was to be experiencing this in peace and quiet, not having to turn our heads away from unpleasant scenes or try to ignore rude arguing, blatant immodesty, smoking or the smell of alchohol, and having opposite values flaunted before us. We all commented on the fact that harmony was so present between us all.
Having our own quiet 4th celebration was so much more meaningful to usn than forging our way through traffic to see a show.Last year we videotaped the children singing "Hail to the Chief" and marching in their own parade.
From Pierside Gallery.com: Seaside Memories by Susan Rios