Memorial Day is almost here, and if you're anything like me, you're realizing right about now that you didn't give a lot of thought to how you would celebrate the occasion. For most of us, Memorial Day means an extra day or two off from work, not to mention the symbolic start of the summertime and a meaningful moment to reflect on the sacrifices that people in the military have made on our behalf. See? There's a lot wrapped up in Memorial Day! In an effort to take some of the pressure off, I've compiled this list of
12 ways to celebrate Memorial Day that you can still do, whether or not it rains. You can thank me later... like, after you've had the best long weekend ever.
Some of these activities are specific to the symbolic meaning of the holiday, while others are more general, summertime fun. Regardless of what you decide to do, I hope you make some good memories this Memorial Day. The occasion might exist so that we can remember the servicemen and women who have sacrificed for us, but you can also look at it as an opportunity to build new memories of your own... the kind that those servicemen and women would be proud to have helped fight for.
Go To The Beach
It might be the most cliché thing
ever, but clichés usually exist for a reason, so why not pack your beach bag and revel in some highly predictable behavior? There's no judgment here, as long as you put on sunscreen, of course. Host A Memory Potluck
The real theme of Memorial Day is obviously about remembrance — more specifically, the remembrance of men and women who have lost their lives fighting in the military, according to
History.com. Bring your friends together for the occasion, prompting each of them to bring a dish that reminds them of a loved one, even if the loved one didn't serve in the military. Volunteer
We're spending the day honoring people who gave back to their community and country, and is there a better way to do that than to do a little give back ourselves? Bring some pals together and find a local organization that needs your support this May 28. Help clean up a park or volunteer at an outdoor community event so you can enjoy the early summer weather in the process.
Go To A Parade
Chances are that your city or town organizes some kind of parade in honor of Memorial Day. Grab your favorite lawn chair and a travel mug of your favorite drink and go play spectator. Who doesn't love a parade?
Go Bargain Hunting
Like most holiday weekends, Memorial Day is prime time for finding great deals. Your favorite online and local retailers are probably running big sales, so take the opportunity to finally commit to purchasing the bigger ticket items that have been on your list.
Plan Your Summer Vacation
Maybe you didn't get around to planning a Memorial Day getaway — or maybe you just didn't feel like dealing with the crowds — but that doesn't mean you can't take the long weekend to get another summer trip on the books! Locking down a vacation for July or August will really make it feel like the summer has been officially kicked off.
Donate To A Veteran Organization
Express your gratitude for the men and women who have served in a tangible way by pulling out your wallet and making a donation to an organization that supports veterans. If you're not sure where to start, check out the
Wounded Warrior Project or Hope for the Warriors. Spruce Up Your Outdoor Area
Memorial Day marks the start of the summer season, which means it's time to gear up for barbecues and all kinds of outdoor hangs. Use your extra time this weekend to clean up your landscaping, scrub a winter's worth of grime from your deck (gross), and uplevel your outdoor furniture, if necessary.
You have a few months of outdoor activities ahead of you, so why not start now? Plan a hike or take a bike ride on a new trail with your friends. You options are wide open.
Catch A Concert
I know we're approaching "last minute" territory at this point, but I'm not suggesting that you try to get tickets to some major show with just a few days to spare (although that would definitely be cool). Research smaller-scale shows that are taking place in town. Bonus points if it's free... and
double bonus points if it's free and outside. Throw A Barbecue
I know this is
another cliché, but I already told you how I feel about that. Memorial Day barbecue parties are cliché because they're awesome. Now that your outdoor space is prepped (per my earlier suggestion), you can easily welcome friends and family for a night of good food and casual fun. Go To A Movie
Once you've had your fill of outdoor activities — clearly, I'm a big proponent of those for Memorial Day — cool off at the movie theater! This is also a great way to spend the day if it ends up raining wherever you are. After all, it's the start of summer movie season, so you should definitely be able to find something you're excited to see.