Happy Summer! While it’s not officially summer until June 21st, I’m writing this post at the end of a very full, fun Memorial Day weekend with temperatures topping 95 in southern Michigan. Very warm, but I’m not complaining. For context, we had multiple days of snow in April.
A few of my favorite things about summer: A more relaxed schedule. No school, no bagged lunches to prep, no homework. Later nights and kids sleeping in. Sunshine and warm weather. This also means longer days with after-dinner walks, time at the lake and pool, and vacation.
Summer is also a time to celebrate America’s birthday and our servicemen and women who make the ultimate sacrifice to keep our country the land of the free and home of the brave. And since we have a more relaxed schedule, it’s the perfect time to gather friends and family to celebrate.
A Red, White, and Blue Patriotic Tree
Photos by Rachel Cuthbert Photography
With that in mind, Tree Classics asked me to help them celebrate summer and America with Patriotic Fridays. I started with a 7.5-foot Flocked White Fir. This is my second time decorating this tree, and I like that it’s a white one with the bonus of white flocking. Flocking adds that extra texture and oomph.
When it comes to holiday décor, I always mix a little old and a little new. I had ribbon that I purchased from Michael’s for previous 4th of July parties. By sheer luck, I found these party fans on super clearance at Pottery Barn (normally $24.99 for a box of 8, they were on sale for less than $5 a box). I used the small and mid-sized fans to decorate the tree—the large fans would be perfect hanging from the wall or ceiling. I could also see them hanging from a patio umbrella. They’re well-made, and hopefully I can reuse them for a number of years. To create a bit of a firework effect, I used these red & blue glitter star sprays from Hobby Lobby as a topper and added sparkly red curly tree picks throughout the tree.
Food for the Free…
Photos by Rachel Cuthbert Photography
Then I tied the patriotic theme through to the food table. I recently found cute paper coasters and straws in the Target dollar bins. If you throw a lot of parties or like holiday decorating, Target dollar bins are great. I also found really festive paper napkins at World Market last year.
And of course, what’s a celebration without people and great food? If you want to throw a great 4th of July celebration, I’m all for keeping it simple. Tie in a bit of color with tableware and food, provide meat and drinks, and ask friends to bring their favorite sides.
When planning food, I started with Ina Garten, truly one of my favorites. I love her approach to parties and food. I tend to like traditional with a twist, and I immediately thought of her homemade French onion dip recipe with caramelized onions. So good! Side note, it’s worth it to watch the video because she mixes everything in a food processor instead of a stand mixer as the directions suggests. After making this for years in a stand mixer and then watching this video, I will definitely make it in the food processor next time. I think it’s easier than a mixer because it can be difficult to get the right consistency when creaming the cream cheese in a stand mixer. Finally, I served the dip with colorful Terra chips. The red, “white,” and blue chips add a bit of holiday flair, and the vegetable chips make snacking feel healthier. 🙂
…And Refreshing Drinks for the Brave!
You can keep things simple with water and iced tea or lemonade, or if you’re looking for something with a bit of kick, you can try this Lemonade Champagne Punch. To me, lemonade says summer and champagne says celebration, and they actually taste great together. I made mine with frozen concentrate pink lemonade, ginger ale, regular vodka, and champagne—all things I had on hand (champagne was leftover from a previous New Year’s). I love when I can save a little money by shopping my pantry.
So that’s it. Some festive décor, good food, and friends make for a great patriotic celebration. I would love to hear how you plan to celebrate this summer—from food to décor!