The 4th is my favorite holiday. Yes, Christmas is nice, but it's cold, it's busy, I get stressed out trying to figure out what to buy people, and I have to spend a lot of money. I do LOVE the Christmas Season though – the Christmas lights, the cheesy made for TV movies, the Christmas classic movies (Rudolph! Grinch! The Christmas Story!), the ads, and magic of Santa for little kids…. I love that part.
Okay, back to the point.
I love the 4th of July. It has been my favorite holiday since I was a little kid. When I was younger, my father and all his cousins would spend the whole day at my Grandparent's house and I would play with all my cousins and second cousins (as a kid I saw some of my second cousins on my father's side more than I saw my first cousins on my mother's side!). We had a family parade up and down the street that the neighbors would come out and watch, we'd have a cookout, there were games (shuffleboard, putting greens, horseshoes, impromptu touch football game) and loads and loads of food. Once people left, my uncle would break out the fireworks he inevitable brought up from Florida and we'd have our own personal fireworks show and then go see the fireworks from the beach.
These days the celebration is much quieter. Many (okay, the large majority) of my great aunts and uncles and my grandfather have passed on. Some of my father's cousins have stopped coming, and the ones that do still come have mostly grown up children and they do their own thing. But my own cousins, immediate family, aunts and uncles, and my daughter and niece and nephew still do it up. There's still a parade, albeit much smaller. But the neighbors still come out to watch us march up and down the street, there's still music blaring, there is still the obligatory family picture to take at the end. There may be a shuffleboard game or two, there's still great food, and we (okay, I) still go to the beach and watch the fireworks.
Let me tell you this: watching fireworks over land is pretty much the same as never seeing fireworks. I watched them up in NH once and I was so disappointed. If you've never see fireworks launched from a boat, over a large body of water (large being key) start saving now to spend next 4th of July in a beach town!