When you ask people what they’re doing for the 4th of July, there’s a good chance their answer is going to include fireworks. Yes, these loud, colorful explosions are a tried and true tradition for many people celebrating Independence Day. There are other popular traditions as well, like grilling hotdogs and burgers or attending parades, but fireworks takes the proverbial cake. Not everyone needs fireworks to celebrate the 4th of July, though, and that definitely includes families. So if you're worried that fireworks are bad for babies, or simply tired of the noise, here are some tired and true 4th of July traditions that don't involve fireworks. Mom tested, and mom approved.
According to Parents, your baby will likely tell you if they're into the whole fireworks thing or not. Either way, it's important to keep some distance between your baby and any fireworks. "Sitting a little farther back will increase the chances that [they] will like it and it will decrease the noise to protect [their] ears," according to Parents. All of our ears are vulnerable to loud noises, the same site notes, so your baby is no more at risk than you are.
But if you want to avoid the issue entirely (and I don't blame you) know that you can still celebrate Independence Day sans fireworks. I’ve tried a number of different rituals, including movie marathons, barbecues (though I tend to enjoy veggie burgers more than anything else), and attending our local 4th of July parade. And there are a few other traditions I would like to start, too. For example, Injecting some activism into the day and teaching my son about being a good citizen by volunteering, caring for others, and giving back to his community. Now that he's 4, my hope is that I can start with reading A is for Activist with my son, then talking about why it’s important that we, as Americans and as humans in general, help others.
So with that in mind, here's how other moms decided to celebrate 4th of July without fireworks:
“Growing up, the joke was that we knocked a wall out of the house on every major holiday (my dad was a home improvement junkie). We've continued that tradition in our house. We don't do fireworks; it's a house-project day!”
“My husband and I always watched at least part of the Twilight Zone marathon on SyFy. We've continued that with our kids and, frankly, cautionary tales of dystopia on a day that celebrates America feels right at this historical juncture.”
“My family does ‘feats of strength’. We compete in teams of two, usually couples, in events like breath holding, cannon ball splash, relay swimming, and full contact chicken (plus others depending on the year). It's a total blast, especially after a few adult beverages.”
“Drinking too much and railing at Republican relatives? Also, deviled eggs.”
“When it rains (which it does about 50 percent of the time), we make chocolate fondue. At least once, my daughter and my niece or my daughter and my cousin has said, ‘Forget the fireworks, we want the fondue!’"
“We do the color smoke bombs that are silent and the kids run through and make swirls in the color. Another kind of weird tradition is having grilled salmon instead of hot dogs. My uncle-in-law came back from an Alaskan trip with two huge ice packed coolers the first year we celebrated the 4th together as a family in our new house (me, my then-husband, and two kids ages 2 and 4). From then on we always did grilled salmon for the fourth (I and my ex both grew up in poverty, and hated hot dogs after eating them way too often as kids)."
“My youngest doesn’t like fireworks, so we haven’t gone for the last couple of years! Instead we stay home and swim all day, barbecue for dinner, eat an entire watermelon with spoons, and do sparklers when it gets dark.”