Memorial Day is just around the bend, bringing with it a time to reflect on those who died in active military service defending our country. For nearly 150 years, we have gathered in the late spring to honor the sacrifice of those who have given their lives to the military services and the defense of our country.
Though the first commemorative events weren’t held in the United States until the 10th century, the practice of honoring those who have fallen dates back thousands of years. It dates all the way back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who held annual days of remembrance for loved ones each year, including their soldiers.
In May, 1868, General John A. Logan issued an official order that May 30th should become a national day of commemoration. It didn’t become a federal holiday until 1971.
Memorial Day traditions have evolved through the years. Some of the formal rituals that are still observed today include hanging the flag at half-staff until noon on Memorial Day, then raising it to the top. All Americans are encouraged to pause for a Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m.
Memorial Day is also a time to gather with loved ones and show our American pride with the red, white and blue décor and to kick off the unofficial welcome of summer.
The American Flag is the most popular decorating item for Memorial Day. Whether you want to display the American flag proudly in your front yard, hang a decorative wreath, decorate your patio with patriotic pillows or hang patriotic American flag styled swags off your back deck, there are hundreds of ideas.
You can plant some red and white flowers in a blue pot. Put them on your porch for the celebration weekend and then spread them throughout your landscape and enjoy them all summer long.
Line your driveway and walkway with welcoming patriotic Mason jar lanterns that you make yourself. Or you can easily find decorative patriotic string lighting online or at your local home supply store.
Paint stars on your lawn. Most hardware stores sell paint that is specifically designed not to harm your grass. (It is the kind used for sports field lines.) Make a stencil out of cardboard and paint some stars around your lawn. This is an especially striking display if your lawn slopes.
Decorate your fence or back deck railing with a patriotic-themed material. It can’t get much easier than that, but what an impact it will have!
Memorial Day is known for its picnics and parties, and if you’re the host this year, you’ll want to be prepared. Start out with a cheerful, bright table using red, white and blue bandanas as runners or sew them together for a quick tablecloth.
Accent with bandana napkins and use Mason jars painted in red, white and blue to hold your eating utensils. Of course, you will need a fabulous patriotic centerpiece which you can easily make by purchasing flowers from your local grocery store or florist or hitting a party supply store.
A festive way to add red, white and blue to your party is with patriotic pinwheels. Hang them all over the room and outdoors to set the tone and welcome guests as they arrive.
Use star-shaped stickers on your red, white and blue buckets filled with ice to keep your drinks cool. Be sure to have plenty of straws to go in your patriotic colored solo cups.
Patriotic Decorative Food
Can’t you just smell those hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill? What would a celebration be without food?
Whether you are hosting a party or attending one, there are millions of ideas online for appetizers, entrees and desserts. There are patriotic themed cakes, pretzels, candy, cheese trays, dips, cookies, cupcakes and ice cream to beverages, both alcoholic and virgin.
If you are looking for something easy yet beautiful, consider making a trifle cake. Or try a very simple, four-ingredient no-bake flag cake. Dip some pretzel sticks in chocolate and add some sprinkles, place upright in a Mason jar and you have a wonderful salty-sweet and decorative munchie for your table Americana.
Kids Decorative Ideas
Kids love to help with décor, especially when they can do it themselves. Be sure to load up on little American flags and let the kids place them throughout the yard.
Throw in some balloons and you have a real party. Sidewalk chalk is another superb idea for children to exert their creative energy.
Kids are great at making paper chains. Buy some construction paper and some non-toxic glue and start cutting and pasting. It is a festive way to decorate any fence, doorway or even a tree.
Making simple luminaries is great fun and an excellent way to add more outside (or indoor) pizzazz to your décor. Using tissue paper, glue and Mason jars, kids can create easy luminaries to help pass the time until the fun begins.
Use a battery-operated votive instead of candles when it turns to dusk. Add in some miniature flags, and you have the perfect party favor.
Most importantly, don’t forget the flags, all sizes, everywhere and anywhere. Have a safe and enjoyable (and delicious!) Memorial Day.