How to Plan the Perfect 4th of July Cookout

There are so many things that go into a good ol’ All American 4th of July cookout—or in some parts of the nation, a BBQ. And while the food and the décor are important, there are so many other things that make these celebrated events worth it.

After-all, what is a tradition without friends and family?

While you’re gearing up for your 4th of July cookout, don’t forget to focus on the people. Your get together is about way more than just entertaining everyone, it’s also about connecting with them. The food is great, but it going to get eaten or go to waste—just as all those decorations will come down and get packed away for another year. However, what will remain are the memories, the traditions—the time with your people.

Don’t get so caught up in the logistics and the menu that you miss the people!

As you prepare for your gathering, set out lots of chairs—and be sure to put them in groups. Instead of lining them up in rows, set them up to face each other, either in little circles or one big one. Prepare an environment for lots of chatting.

The goal here is to plan something that is, or that could be unique and memorable for your family and your friends.

  • Make it purposeful--have everyone bring a canned good or some item to donate.

  • Start conversations--have everyone share one of the freedoms that they’re most grateful for. Sure, people feel a bit awkward, but it’s truly awkwardness and vulnerability that often connect us.

  • Plan a special event for the kids--let them decorate something or put together a bike or stroller parade that blesses the entire neighborhood.

  • Let everyone chip in--have everyone bring a side dish that is a family recipe along with the story or memory that goes with it.

Regardless of what you do to make your 4th of July celebration special, make it revolve around making memories and people—for they are the ones that make this nation great. Our society will only ever be as great and as strong as the families and the people within it.

Oh, and if you invited me to your party, I would for sure bring along my Grandma’s famous potato salad. It just wouldn’t be a 4th of July celebration without it! If you want to bring the best dish to the party, get my Gigi’s Famous Potato Salad recipe below!

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