Tuesday, July 3, 2012

5 Excellent Reasons to HOST the July 4th Cookout

On the Saturday morning before July 4, when we’d normally be on the road headed out of town, I awoke early and made my way to the superstores. I can’t remember the last time we actually stayed in town for the July 4th week. Typically, we spend the holiday with family and friends in the New York/New Jersey area.  This year, we decided to forgo the annual trip and host a cookout of our own.

Based on my relatively new stay-home-for-Independence-Day planning experiences, here are my top five reasons for throwing the party rather than traveling to it:

Stocked up on celebratory
decorations, yet still saved
money by hosting this year.
1. SAVE MONEY When gas prices are above $3 a gallon, it can be much more cost effective to clean the house, paint a room, buy tons of food and fix the badminton set than to travel. When you factor in the cost of eating on the road and incidentals, like a trip into NYC, souvenirs and trying to outdo relatives with generosity spending, I could feed my family for a year on what we’re saving.

2. HOME REPAIRS Sure, you would have gotten to painting this and replacing that eventually. But people making solid plans to visit you exponentially increases the potential for images of your personal space to be plastered all over Facebook, which in turn motivates a flurry of fixing up stuff before the big party. And while it may be stressful, once everyone heads home you're left with a freshly painted bathroom.

3. NEW TOWELS There’s nothing worse than inviting relatives to stay, and then realizing you barely have enough towels for your family, let alone Uncle Fred and Aunt Myra. After pulling together your entire inventory, finding that most is unfit for donation to Goodwill, let alone guest use, causes an impromptu visit to the bed and bath section of the superstore, where you stock up on new towels, pillowcases and other linens you haven’t thought about replacing since your bridal shower.

Crowded by 10 a.m., yet still
pleasant experience.
4. NO TRAFFIC Even the folks I nearly cut off trying to find a shady spot to park were forgiving when I made my way to Party City and Costco for our outdoor picnic provisions. Yes, the parking lot at Costco was full by 10 a.m., but everyone was much more pleasant than what we encountered during December. But then, Saturday’s crowd consisted of the ones giving the parties, not the ones stuck in Interstate traffic with the gas needle dipping while someone whined in desperation for another potty break.

5. BED There’s nothing like getting home after a long trip and sleeping in your own bed.  Unless, that is, you are home the whole time, sleeping in your own bed. Hosting the party can be exhausting, but when you can escape every evening to your bed, pillow and comforting surroundings, you realize you’ve got the good end of the deal.

Just in case guests want
to get "Lei-ed," we stocked up.
Then again, there is an argument for being the out-of-town guests. We certainly have created a ton of great family memories on our July 4th road trips.
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Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, writer and content manager is the author of Thurston T. Turtle books.
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