As summer rolls in, so do opportunities to celebrate. As early as spring, many families start cooking up plans for Christmas in July. Also, there are several nationalistic holidays lined up: Independence Day and Memorial weekend. For the latter two, we usually deck our homes in patriotic decorations in red, white, and blue, or stars and stripes.
We use these colors and symbols of national pride in other occasions throughout the year. They’ve become the go-to color palette, just like black and orange for Halloween or red and green for Christmas. Learn interesting facts and what these patriotic hues represent. Also, get inspired with Americana-themed home decorating ideas, food, and activities.
The Origin and Meaning of Patriotic Decorations
Here are some fascinating facts on patriotic decorations:
Red, White, and Blue: The Colors of America
In 1776, the United States of America became an independent nation. The Continental Congress back then tasked a committee to create the Great Seal, using three colors to represent the values of the Land of the Free.
The colors were also used in the creation of the national flag. They have been reinterpreted over the years, but these are the official meanings of each hue, according to USA.gov:
- Red for hardiness and valor
- White for purity and innocence
- Blue for vigilance, perseverance, and justice
Bright Stars, Bold Stripes: Patriotic Patterns
The stars and stripes of the American flag have a significant meaning related to the geography of the U.S. There are 50 stars, which stand for the country’s states, and 13 red-and-white stripes to represent the colonies.
The star long has been a symbol of the heavens, of the divine goal to which man has aspired from time immemorial; while the stripes have been symbolical of the rays of light emanating from the sun.Source: 1951 Flag Day speech of House Representative Gerald R. Ford, Jr. from the Ford Library Museum
Other Symbols of American Pride
Besides the usual colors and patterns, other symbols are used to represent American patriotism, such as:
- Liberty Bell
- U.S. flag
- Bald eagle
- National anthem
- Uncle Sam
- The Statue of Liberty
Pair decorations inspired by these symbols with your red, white, and blue color scheme.
What Are the Patriotic Holidays?
Do you know when the following federal or state holidays and national observances are celebrated? Test your knowledge below. Click the question to reveal the answer.
How many answers did you get right?
If you want more reasons to display your patriotic decorations, here are more annual celebrations to choose from:
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – Third Monday of January
- Lincoln’s Birthday – February 12
- Armed Forces Day – Third Saturday of May
- Patriot Day (9/11 Commemoration) – September 11
- Constitution Day – September 17
- Columbus Day – Second Monday in October
- Election Day – Tuesday after the first Monday in November
- Bill of Rights Day – December 15 Unique Patriotic Decoration Ideas
Are you preparing for your 4th of July, Memorial Day, or Veterans Day celebrations? We’ve got tons of fun and colorful ideas for you. Aside from home accents you can buy or DIY, why not repurpose your Christmas decorations? Here’s how:
How to Decorate a Patriotic Christmas Tree
Set up the Stars and Stripes Tree in your living room. Let it represent the flag. Use a few ornaments to complete the look for easy decorating. This gives you more time to dress up the rest of your home.
If you own several Treetopia colorful trees of the same shape, why not interchange sections to create a unique centerpiece? For instance, combine the blue and red Christmas trees of the Treetopia Basics line, which have the same profile. Then, decorate it with white star ornaments.
Another option is to decorate your tree—whatever its color—with patriotic hues and patterns. Ornaments in vivid colors will pop against neutral-tones like a silver Christmas tree. Some ideas for your ornaments: mini Liberty Bells, a tree garland with U.S. flag cutouts, and a Statue of Liberty tree topper.
Celebrating a vet in the family who served in the marines? Consider a nautical theme like this Independence Day tree by craft maven Jennifer Perkins. Alternatives are mini airplanes for pilots, tool ornaments for Labor Day, and others, depending on the occasion.
How to Decorate a Patriotic Wreath or Garland
Tie ribbons, flowers, or mini flags on a white wreath or garland. Dress up white foliage with red and blue lights. Make wreaths and garlands a part of your wall, shelf, or table display.
Another idea is to hang red, blue, and white wreaths in a row on your wall. To go with these, wrap garlands in the same color scheme around your staircase banister.
How to Make Patriotic Wall Décor
Decorate your accent wall with the patriotic color scheme and pattern. Create a garland using red stars on a blue and white ribbon, or craft fans from patterned sheets of paper. Consider statement art prints, such as a classic Uncle Sam illustration or a World War-themed poster. You can also hang smaller flags on the wall to make a bold statement.
How to Add Patriotic Decorations to a Living Room
Aside from walls, you can also hang crafts on your fireplace mantel or front porch. Complete the look with throw pillow covers or rugs in the iconic hues and patterns.
Complete your displays with vintage items that scream Americana. Scout stores or garage sales for enamelware you can display or use as containers in the kitchen. Another idea is to arrange antique ceramic décor like bald eagle or Liberty figurines on shelves along with your planters.
How to Add Patriotic Outdoor Décor
Hang up buntings of the Old Glory on your front porch and add red, white, and blue accents in your outdoor entertainment area. Give windows and patio tables a burst of patriotic color with flowers like geraniums and hydrangeas. Use metal buckets or ceramic pots with stars or stripe patterns as planters. Another idea is to tie red ribbons around white vases and fill them with flowers. Why not hang rustic watering cans on the porch, too.
How to Celebrate Patriotic Holidays with Food
Extend the patriotic motif to your dining table with themed tableware. Whether plastic or ceramic, go for those that come in flag-inspired colors or patterns. Set these on top of placemats in a contrasting color. Use a vintage tablecloth or a simple piece of white linen with red and blue table runners. Place mini flags in tiny glasses beside each plate and tie table napkins with colored ribbons.
Savory Red, White, and Blue or Patriotic Party Food Ideas
For your party food, consider savory dishes that are perfect for a hot summer day. Most people default to barbecues. If you’re one of them, add a variety of appetizers, starters, and side dishes to make the meal more inviting. Here are a few ideas:
1. Whip Up a Salad or Snack Tray
Serve up a refreshing mix of strawberries, blueberries, and feta cheese. Becky of The Cookie Rookie used a mason jar for this salad. Add greens like lettuce to this patriotic palette. Toss it with salt, pepper, and poppy seed dressing. If you’re not serving it right away, pour the dressing in the jar or bowl first so the salad doesn’t get soggy.
No cooking necessary—just look for fresh blueberries, strawberries, and cherries. Place them on a rectangular tray with a star-shaped bowl for the blueberries. Alternate rows of the red fruits with white chocolate-coated pretzels to represent the stripes of the flag just like Diary of a Debutante.
2. Spice Up Your BBQ Chicken
Satisfy different taste preferences by marinating chicken in various sauces before barbecuing. Some can be sweet and savory while others have a spicy kick. Don’t forget to prepare side dishes that complement these flavors. Maria of In Honor of Design combined Italian seasoning and basil with butter and barbecue sauce for this juicy recipe.
3. Let Freedom Ring with a DIY Hot Dog Station
Guests will have fun putting their yummy sandwiches together. Chanel of Camille Styles says that when it come to topping selections, “The more, the merrier.” So, pull out all the stops! Chop some onions, bring out a jar of relish, and roast peppers. If you want to stick to the palette, you can dye mayonnaise blue with food coloring. Then, combine it with ketchup or chili (red) and cottage cheese (white) on your hot dogs.
4. Say, “U.S. Yay!” with Red, White, and Blue Desserts
This treat by Two Sisters is perfect for summer. Make chocolate-covered banana popsicles and coat them in red, white, and blue candy sprinkles. Drizzle them with melted candy in the same colors.
If you’re into baking, there are so many ways to recreate the star-spangled banner! Check out this idea from Tastemade. Aside from your usual ingredients, use food coloring, fruits or berries, syrups, and candy sprinkles. Look for a fitting cake platter for your tasty version of Old Glory, too.
5. Don’t Forget the Sweet Summer Drinks!
Iced Eggnog Latte
Serve an iced version of eggnog. This frosty treat by Table for Two retains the comforting flavors of the traditional drink and gets an extra kick from espresso shots. Add a dusting of nutmeg on top before serving.
Cucumber Peppermint Tea
Enjoy the refreshing flavor of peppermint tea with tangy lime or lemon. Add cucumbers for freshness, just like in this refreshment by Brooklyn Farm Girl. For grown-up parties, prepare a big batch and add a splash of gin to each glass for a tempting cocktail. Served in a tall tumbler and garnished with mint leaves, this light potion looks just as good as it tastes.
Sweet and succulent, watermelon makes an excellent base for many kinds of mixed drinks. This rum-infused cocktail by My Gourmet Collection is one of them. Crushed basil not only adds a bright, clean flavor. It also has natural cooling properties that enhance the soothing effect of this concoction. The alcohol is optional, so even kids can enjoy this sunny season sipper.
Other Fun Ways to Celebrate 4th of July and Other Patriotic Holidays at Home
One way to break the ice during a party is to play a game. Test everyone’s knowledge of the country by having a USA-Themed Quiz Night. Prepare related questions—from history tidbits to pop culture references. This could be a great way to celebrate the holidays together or apart, as virtual parties are also becoming a trend. Check out the video by The Trivia Channel on YouTube below for ideas on the questions you can ask:
Looking for more low-key ways to celebrate? How about a movie marathon of America’s greatest films? Now is a great time to revisit classics like Casablanca (1942) and Rocky (1976), to name a few. Of course, there’s nothing like a string of war or political movies to get you in the patriotic spirit. Air Force One (1997), Act of Valor (2012), and Olympus Has Fallen (2013) are some examples. Here’s a movie round-up by GameSpot Universe for your viewing pleasure:
Try any of these decorating and party ideas for your celebrations. Share the tips with friends and family who are gearing up for the patriotic holidays, too. May red, white, and blue continue to inspire you!