Independence Day. July 4th. Freedom. Fireworks. Big barbecues. Flags. Fun. Friends. Family.

2020 has changed many things, including what we celebrate, how we do it and with whom. Parties are different now. They can be masked without being masquerades, they can be outside at a distance and they can be in smaller groups than what we’ve grown accustomed to when we celebrate. Or, they can be on Zoom or another video conferencing platform. 

As with any challenge, there is so much opportunity for growth and learning amidst the upheaval. To begin with, we all have the chance to consider what freedom means, both on the individual level and the societal one. It may be less about what we eat on July 4th and more about the bigger things that feed our souls and our communities. It’s a chance to pause and realize that abstractions separate us, but humanity unites us. That message seems to be beating louder than before. Despite the challenges, the slow restart and limbo that we have all been through has been useful for many. There has been time for reflection.

As we dip our feet back into the pool of normal life, we’ve got a chance to look at July 4th in a new way and consider a return to innocence and simplicity as we mark the moment. Amava Members are always full of ideas and we’ve asked a few to give us their best ones. We hope they help you find a way to celebrate Independence Day that is safe, thoughtful, enjoyable and meaningful. And here they are:

  • Bring the barbeque out into the driveway. Invite the neighbors to do the same. Figure out who is making what and share! Sidewalk smorgasbord anyone?
  • Break out your red, white and blue and put sparklers in your potted plants. Instant party and your dog will hate it less than those scary fireworks. (Poor puppy!)
  • If you’re missing family and friends (aren’t we all?) organize a virtual picnic. Agree in advance to make all the same recipes (Aunt Betty’s potato salad, maybe?) and then bring your phones and computers outside, sit on blankets and video chat together. Share the stories, smell and taste the same delicious food and make more memories. 
  • Check out the old USO movies on YouTube and  maybe even get dressed up in character.  A night of nostalgia!
  • Watch the fireworks from around the country and crank up the music!
  • Make your own playlist that takes you back. We’re not saying don’t have an impromptu dance party. Because we’d never say that.
  • Write a letter or an email or a text to someone who believed in you and made you feel empowered. 

We could all use some coming together and a reminder of what we all share. Creating new rituals in this new normal is a great way to start. Stay safe and healthy and stay connected!