10 Ways to Celebrate Memorial Day 2012

If you aren't traveling for Memorial Day weekend this year, there are still plenty fun ways to celebrate the beginning of summer. Hosting a barbecue at home with a unique theme will get everyone in the mood for the long summer ahead but there are some other ways to honor this special day. Memorial Day 2012 could also be a good excuse to kick off your own countdown to the 2012 Olympics in July. Whether you decide to stay at home or want to do some traveling this Memorial Day, here are 10 different ways to celebrate the national holiday:

#1: Host a Patriotic Barbecue

Host a barbecue or potluck and create a menu that incorporates red, white, and blue in some way. Ask guests to bring something with a flag theme or just a classic American dish.

#2: Make Red, White, and Blue Ice Cream

Memorial Day weekend is a great time to spend a few hours making your own ice cream. A homemade ice cream project is also a great activity for kids and teens. Make your own layered "flag" ice cream using red (cherry), white (vanilla), and blue (blueberry) ice cream in an ice cream maker.

#2: Watch the Local Parade

Find out if your town or city is hosting a Memorial Day parade this here so you can show your patriotic spirit and celebrate with neighbors and locals. Parades can be a fun family event and you may even be able to register to be a part of your hometown parade.

#3: Visit the Veterans' Cemetery

Place a small bouquet of flowers or a flag on a veteran's grave stone at your nearest cemetery. This can be a good way to show respect for someone who served our country or lost their life during their service.

#4: Honor a Veteran on Facebook

Find out if there are any Facebook pages set up to thank veterans in your area or community. Post a heartfelt message or send a donation to the page organizer to show your support.

#5: Decorate Windows

Decorate windows and doors with vinyl stickers of flags and other Memorial Day-themed images. Decorating windows can be a fun project for young kids and you can assign a different window to each child to see who comes up with the best design.

#6: Visit a Military Museum or a Veteran's Memorial

Plan a day trip to visit a military museum or a veteran's memorial in your area. You could also take a short road trip to a city or town that has some cultural attractions or sites that house artifacts, exhibits, and photos of veterans and military history of the region.

#7: Host a Dessert Party

Instead of worrying about putting together a whole lunch or dinner menu for Memorial Day, host a dessert party with a patriotic theme instead. Have guests bring cupcakes, full-size cakes, cookies, and other small desserts to share.

#8: Host a Backyard "Olympics"

Since Olympics season will be right around the corner, host your own backyard "Olympics" and invite friends, family members, and neighbors to participate. A few sports tournaments and rounds of classic backyard games can be a fun way to kick off summer.

#9: Hit the Beach or Pool

If you live near a beach, pack a picnic and head to the beach for the day. You could also head to a local pool for a few hours. Show some patriotism with beach towels designed as a flag.

#10: Host a Memorial Day Yard Sale

Clean out the house before summer with a yard sale, then donate a portion of the proceeds to your local veteran's museum or other nonprofit military organization in your area. Decorate tables, chairs, and your door with some red, white, and blue décor .

Content by Sabah Karimi.