Celebrate the Fourth of July—with a Twist!

Who doesn’t love the sights, sounds, and tastes of July 4th? This year, ramp up the excitement with these fun new twists on tradition.

Make a “summer” playlist. Choose a fun roster of songs that all have summer in the title, then host a sing-a-long. Give the worst singer a special prize (earplugs, perhaps?) Test the playlist while you’re tidying the house before the party.

Serve something unexpected. Grilling burgers for the Fourth? Instead of serving ordinary cheeseburgers, hide the cheese inside. Roll slices of American cheese into balls then form your meat patties around the cheese (pepper Jack, Cheddar, or brie work well too). And remember to thoroughly wash your hands, cookware, and utensils with warm water and an antibacterial dishwashing liquid whenever you handle raw meat.

Upgrade your favorite beverage. Mix a pitcher of your favorite pink lemonade, then add crushed ice, sliced strawberries, and fresh mint leaves. Serve in clear tumblers with a blueberry swizzle stick (fresh blueberries threaded onto a skewer) for a festive touch. For a more grown-up refresher, add a shot of vodka or rum! Other ideas: Add cucumber and lime slices to sparkling water, or frozen red and white grapes to white wine or fizzy citrus soda.

Create colorful centerpieces. Arrange clear glasses and vases in a variety of heights down the center of the table, then fill with fruit and sweets, such as marshmallows, cherries, blueberries, and red, white, and blue candies. Plant mini American flags and sparklers (unlit, of course) in each. If your celebration will stretch into the night, sprinkle some twinkly votive candles across the table too.

Give yourself a scent boost. Before the party, wash your table linens and clothes with liquid laundry detergent, fabric softener, and an in-wash scent booster. Even when the temperature soars, you’ll be surrounded by refreshing scents that will keep you in an upbeat mindset.

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