July 4th is a federal holiday, but if you don't work in a school or for the government, that, unfortunately, doesn't guarantee that you'll be getting out of work. For those of you stuck in an office, have no fear — there are many ways to celebrate the Fourth of July at work. Sure, they might not be as fun as drinking a red, white, and blue beverage and eating a crazy amount of grilled hot dogs at 3 p.m., but you deserve the right to be festive and enjoy the holiday that formed our country.
Before going into how to celebrate, here's a brief reminder on why we celebrate — back in June of 1776, representatives got together to declare our independence from Great Britain. Congress voted in favor of this on July 2, but it wasn't until July 4 that the Declaration of Independence, largely written up by Thomas Jefferson, was accepted. We can thank Thomas Jefferson for penning what would eventually become one of the most important documents in our country's history — and we usually celebrate this historic occasion with fireworks, family time, and reflection of how far we've come in, quite honestly, not that much time.
The fact that the Fourth of July falls on a Monday this year makes working even more of a bummer — nobody wants to be denied a three day weekend. And even if your office decides to make that day a half-day, it's simply not the same. So, here are a few ways you can make the most of it, and perhaps bond with your co-workers at the same time.
1. Bring in some festive baked goods for people to share
One way to make friends at work? Be the person who brings in homemade snacks. For the holiday, any kind of red, white, and blue treat will show that you're celebrating the day, and want your fellow employees to celebrate along with you. If you want to ditch the boxed cupcakes and step it up a notch, these Fourth of July-themed doughnuts from The Simple Sweet Life are probably the way to go. If you're in a hurry, you can buy your own doughnuts and follow the steps from there.
2. Deck out your desk in red, white, and blue
All you need are some streamers to wrap around your desk, and probably a bit of tape to make sure your streamers stay put. Unless your office has really strict rules about desk decoration, this is a great way to show that even though you're stuck in the 9-to-5 schedule, you're still pretty darn patriotic.
3. Get some mini-flags to decorate your co-workers' pencil holders
For about $10, you can get 12 of these small American flags on Amazon (and have them shipped via Prime) and hand them out to your coworkers to decorate their space. It's a small price to pay for a little bit of office fun. While you can use them to truly jazz up your once non-patriotic pencil cup, these lightweight flags can be used however you like.
4. If your office runs on CDs or Spotify playlists, make a USA mix to share
Sometimes smaller offices use CDs to blast some tunes throughout the building. Other offices let employees have a "day," where the music is up to them (within limits, of course.) If you're in a Muzak-free environment, take the chance to create a playlist of your ultimate favorite USA-themed songs. For some inspiration, Bruce Springsteen's "Born In The USA," "American Girl" by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, "American Pie" by Don McLean, "America" by Simon and Garfunkel, and "R.O.C.K. In The USA" by John Mellencamp are non-offensive crowd favorites.
5. Dress up in festive colors
Dressing up in flag gear may be a bit much (and against the dress code for your office) but making a point to rock some red, white, and blue in your attire will make you feel like you're outside with your buddies, and not inside with your co-workers and customers.
6. See if your boss would help sponsor a jelly bean counting competition
If you're bummed to be at work, likely everyone else is bummed to be at work. Besides vacation days, another shared interest that a majority of us have is candy. Get some red, white, and blue jelly beans (or M&Ms, if you're more of a chocolate-loving office) and hold an old-fashioned competition to see who can come closest to guessing how many are in the jar. See if your boss can maybe up the ante a bit, and offer a small gift card, or maybe a lunch out, as a prize.
7. Gather your co-workers to light some sparklers together after work
Have you ever been to a wedding sendoff that included sparklers, to wish the brand new couple off to their honeymoon? It's a pretty scene. And thankfully, sparklers are pretty easy to use, and not super dangerous if you're well versed on, well, holding something. Seriously, I'm the biggest baby when it comes to fire, and even I can appreciate a good sparkler. Who knows? Maybe you'll have so much fun with them that you'll celebrate with a post-work happy hour, and grow an even better bond with your fellow 9-to-5 warriors.
Images: The Simple Sweet Life, Amazon, Giphy (2), Dasha Petrenko / EyeEm/EyeEm/Getty Images