How To Celebrate Memorial Day While Social Distancing

Photographed by Eric Helgas.
Throughout this quarantine caused by the coronavirus pandemic, many of us have been engaging in the painful pastime of sitting around thinking back to what we were up to this time one year ago. This thought experiment is almost always upsetting, given how much every aspect of our daily lives has changed, but the exercise is particularly unpleasant when it comes to special occasions.
As Memorial Day approaches, for instance, we've been daydreaming about long afternoons on our favorite busy beaches, big backyard blowouts with all our friends and all their friends, and even wading through crowds at an amusement park, street fair, or outdoor concert. Due to vital social distancing guidelines, we won't be doing any of that those activities this Memorial Day weekend, but that doesn't mean we can't have fun. There are still several ways you can celebrate the unofficial start of summer. Here are some social distance-safe ideas for what to do over the long weekend.

Mix Up A Summery Cocktail

Pour the best parts of summer into a glass by mixing up a cocktail at home. You may not be able to hit up your favorite outdoor bar, but festive beverages can still flow. You could finally try your hand at making frozen drinks, even if it's just a simple White Claw Slushie. And if crafting a cocktail seems like too much, cracking open a chilled bottle of rosé could be enough to make you feel like summer really has arrived.

Bring The Barbecue Inside

If you have a grill in your backyard, by all means, break it out this weekend. Sadly, though, some of us are quarantining inside homes that don't even have yards attached to them where a grill could conceivably go. For anyone in that camp, consider recipes that guide you through making cook-out staples in the kitchen. Try making pulled pork in the slow cooker, a rack of ribs in the oven, or burgers on the stove. Or, you could invest in a countertop grill. Pair your meal with potato salad, watermelon slices, or any other side dish that's a staple at the best outdoor bashes. Finish it all off with a warm-weather dessert like homemade ice cream or boozy popsicles.

Watch A Summer Movie

If you want to be transported to another time and place without having to actually leave your couch, there is no better way than with a great movie. Enjoy high season on the island of Kalokairi, Greece by turning on Mama Mia, spend time at summer camp with Wet Hot American Summer, The Parent Trap, and Friday The 13th, or head to the beach by watching Blue Crush and Jaws. Kick-off the season with a summer movie for every mood.

Get Outside

More opportunities to connect with nature is one of the best things about summer, so if you have a yard, spend some time outside. You could just chill in the sunshine, or take your time with mother nature a step further by starting a garden with summer fruits and vegetables. Depending on the shelter-in-place orders in your area, you may be able to get outside even if you don't have a yard or terrace. Check to see if your local parks, hiking trails, or campsites are open. If you do choose that route, please always follow social distance protocol — stay at least six feet from others while in public areas — and be sure to wear a mask!

Throw A Virtual Party

It doesn't have to be your birthday to throw a virtual party. While gathering with a large group of friends IRL may be off the table, you can still hang via Zoom or another video conferencing app. If you're sorely missing fun party games or if you simply prefer your Zoom meetings to have a little structure, try using a video party game platform like Jackbox or other online games that can be streamed by groups. And, if you really want to bring the spirit of a summer party to your virtual hang, change your Zoom background to a photo of the beach or a backyard space.

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