07/06/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

4 Ways To Celebrate The Fourth Of July

The other day, we asked our friend what she was doing for the Fourth and she said, "Nothing; I don't really like the Fourth of July." Really? Who doesn't like a day off in the summer to celebrate our nation's freedom? Even though gas prices, the real-estate market, global warming, and whole damn economy all pretty much suck right now, we still can't forget how lucky we are to be living in a free country. When things in the U.S. look grim, they still pale in comparison to the issues in many other countries. No matter how fed up we are with the current state of things and the present administration, we must remember that we are blessed to live here and we owe it to our forefathers to live it up this weekend and celebrate the liberties we often take for granted.

And so our friend and people like her have a choice: you can be a grumpy scrooge about the Fourth of July while other people are out enjoying picnics and fireworks, or you can grab a beer and a hot dog and take this opportunity to celebrate not only your freedom, but your life. Here are our four favorite ways to celebrate your independence to the fullest.

Fourth Favorite #1 - Get to the Coast

If you happen to live in a state that's near the edge of the country, we think it's worth the extra gas to drive to the beach for the weekend. Better yet, take a bus or a train and you won't have to worry about traffic, gas prices, or making sure you have a designated driver. Once you get to the beach, you'll have free entertainment. Most beach towns put on their own fireworks show over the water and there is nothing more beautiful and peaceful than watching the colors reflect over the ocean while breathing in fresh ocean air. It may sound cheesy, but it does feel magical to celebrate our country's freedom while standing at the very border of it.

Fourth Favorite #2 - Decorate Your Backyard

The best way to get excited about something is to just start acting excited about it! It doesn't matter how big your yard is or how many people you invite over; having a Fourth of July party in your yard (or even in your tiny apartment) can be lots of fun. Take that red, white and blue theme and run with it. Make red and blue Jell-O shots and top them off with whipped cream, or serve bowls of strawberries and blueberries with cream for the kids. It doesn't have to be expensive, either - you can order pepperoni pizza and put red and blue food coloring in your Popov vodka. Just do whatever it takes to get into the spirit and everyone is sure to have a good time.

Fourth favorite #3 - Start a Family Tradition

One year on July 4th we took a little trip away with our mom and it was so amazing to have mother/daughter time on such a special holiday that we decided to always spend the Fourth of July together. Of course we still argued about typical petty crap, but we still enjoyed using this holiday as an excuse to bond with our mama. We've missed a couple of years now, but we did manage to spend four 4ths in a row watching fireworks while drinking cocktails with the woman who gave us life and brought us into this country, and that was very special. Think about something fun and easy and inexpensive that you can do with your parents or your sisters or your niece and nephew that will turn America's birthday into an opportunity to bring your family closer together.

Fourth Favorite #4 - Do Something Different

Another good way to celebrate the Fourth is by getting out of your comfort zone. Gather some friends and go tubing down a local river, or buck up and go camping. Sure, the water might be cold and you'll probably get a few bug bites, but drifting slowly down a river and zoning out to the sounds and smells of a campfire are two of the most peaceful things we can think of. Don't spend the day off running errands and catching up on bills; it'll be far more memorable if you do something completely different. Just remember to bring the s'mores ingredients and enjoy!

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