Aaaand … that’s a wrap!
Just a little television jargon for you there because, well, I was just on TV!
If you missed it LIVE Wednesday on CBS 11, watch this video to see me and my son Reed talking about Memorial Day party food, table settings and the new family tradition we started to support our troops.
Party With A Purpose
When CBS reached out to me to appear on TV with my tips on Memorial Day entertaining, of course I said yes immediately — even though I was crazy, pit-forming-in-my-stomach nervous. I started prepping for the interview by thinking back on the years of Memorial Day parties thrown by both sides of my family.
I had a million ideas swirling around in my head! But then it hit me: The most important element of any celebration should be the reason there’s a holiday in the first place: our military.
The purpose of Memorial Day is to remember those who have given their lives in service to our country. I don’t remember that as being an important part of our parties in the past, or maybe it was just because I was a kid. But Jason and I decided our family was going to change that starting now, and we’d do it in a way that our boys would understand the meaning of Memorial Day, too.
Memorial Day Care Boxes
Our family has officially kicked off our Memorial Day festivities by assembling care packages for the men and women in uniform, and we are shipping these boxes out early next week. We bought as many items as we could fit into the box from several suggested lists while Googling around. And then we are including a hand-made card with a non-denominational prayer (to honor our country’s unity while respecting its diversity).
If you’d like to do something similar, here are a few useful resources to get you started.
Making Memorial Day Memorable
Now for the party part of Memorial Day! For me, Memorial Day entertaining has always involved water, whether that’s a party on the dock at our lake house or a barbecue by the pool. Which means our celebrations are always outside and uber cas.
RULE NUMBER ONE: FFF
Before you do, make or buy anything, ask yourself, is it FFF? That is, Family, Friendly and Festive? Nothing about Memorial Day should be too fancy or too fussy. Cute? Absolutely. But if it requires a dishwasher, you are just adding extra layers to your day. I appreciate disposable party goods, but at the very least, plastic is probably on par, so if you drop a glass on the pool deck, you just pick it up and refill it!
TOP FOOD TWO-FER: A DELICIOUS DUO
– Charcuterie Board: This is a GREAT dish to provide or bring to a gathering. It not only appeals to both men and women but kiddos too. Central Market‘s catering department whipped up this fabulous red, white, and blue spread that I showed on TV, on a FABULOUS antique bread board from Simple Things.
BTW, if you are in the market for the perfect board that you can pass down for generations, Simple Things is your one-stop shop! I actually borrowed this board for the TV segment, but I fell in love with it so hard, I ended up purchasing it.
– Patriotic Parfait: Not only is this another great FFF option, but kids can help build this dessert as an activity. All you need are blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and a few tubs of whip cream. And VOILA, your mega parfait will be the talk of the party.
SETTING THE TABLE: NEVER BREAK THE BANK
You’d be surprised to know how little money I spend on décor and party stuff for my Memorial Day get-togethers. Like, almost nothing. Really! For me, Memorial Day is the most relaxed holiday from a theme perspective because it’s casual (see above for Rule Number One).
But also, it’s all about red, white and blue. That’s right: It’s also the same three colors used for Independence Day in July and Labor Day in September. Heck, you can even pull out these tricolors for a little Bastille Day soiree, because who doesn’t want to celebrate a holiday that involves Champagne!
Because I rely on a color theme for this holiday (and others), I build and keep a collection of red, white and blue party supplies, similar to the way I do for Christmas decor. You’ll always find me on July 5th stocking up on all the marked-down plates, napkins and other goodies, and you should, too. I especially love places like Kay’s Hallmark, Hobby Lobby, Michaels, Party City and Dollar Tree. And when they have sales, I feel like they’re almost paying me to take things! (Note I said ‘almost.’) Here are some ways we have decorated at the lake over the years for all three patriotic summer holidays
In-studio Memorial Day flagpoles courtesy of Jim Irwin
Photography by Elusive Images