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Give your Independence Day celebrations a Goodwill jolt


On July 2, 1776, our founding fathers asserted that the 13 colonies were no longer subject to British rule, and voted to form a new government.

John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail that July 2 would forever be “the great anniversary festival” with “pomp and parade … games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other.”

The city of Philadelphia, where the Declaration of Independence was signed, waited until July 8 to celebrate. George Washington’s Continental Army didn’t learn about it until July 9.

As for the British government in London, well, it didn’t get the news until Aug. 30.

So why do we celebrate our independence on July 4? Well, it’s the day the document was adopted. And our modern celebrations usually involve a backyard barbecue with friends and family, the flying of flags, community fireworks, and a well-deserved day off from work (it became a federal holiday in 1941).

Goodwill has been part of the country’s Fourth of July celebrations for nearly 120 years. So if you’re planning an Independence Day celebration (big or small), your local Goodwill is the perfect place to start. Remember, though, Goodwill Central Coast stores will be closed on the Fourth of July to allow employees to celebrate with their families.

Due to the large-scale COVID-19 vaccination rollout and fewer restrictions on social gatherings, the 2021 celebrations should be considerably more loud and proud.

If you’re hosting a Fourth of July party, we don’t want you to miss out on the fun, so here are a few tips to help you capture the atmosphere of the holiday without missing out on the good parts.


This tip will go a long way: Make your food pull double duty! Every event needs food. Whether you’re hosting a huge gathering or just preparing enough for your family, it’s easy to color-code your foods to fit the theme. Arrange a red, white, and blue dessert in a clear glass bowl (browse a wide variety of shapes and sizes at Goodwill for a great price) and use it as a centerpiece.

Remember, Goodwill is the perfect place to score casserole dishes (sometimes vintage ones), barbecue tools, platters, glassware, tablecloths, and more.



Organize silverware into mason jars with red, white, and blue bandanas, or buy craft paint and create your own colorful work of art. Paint one jar all blue and then add white stars to it after the first coat has dried. To complete your flag, paint the other two jars with alternating red and white stripes. This decoration is fun and functional.

Every piece of this easy-to-assemble display can be thrifted and the best part is that you’ll be able to use them all after the event, too. There’s a secret satisfaction in assimilating seasonal décor into off-season functionality.



Having the clothing you wear contribute to the color scheme is a simple yet effective way to create a cohesive look without having to put a lot of time into party prep.

Start by looking through your closet to see what you already have. Search out whites and blues, because they are easy. Red, however, is a bit tricky, but a stroll through the aisles at Goodwill Central Coast will unearth many festive red hues.

While you may find on-trend pieces at the mall or online, the secret is that the item you’re considering buying brand new might actually be waiting for you at Goodwill for only a fraction of the price.

The Fourth is a great time to express your patriotic chic vibes and sport bold colors. Whether you’re headed to a backyard barbecue, downtown fireworks, or the closest body of water, Goodwill can help you get in the stars and stripes spirit and through the long weekend in style!

An easy vintage look is a plaid shirt, denim shorts, and comfy sneakers. Plaid shirts are an easy Goodwill find and can also pull double duty as a pool coverup. There are a lot of gems in the boys’ and mens’ sections. A vintage crossbody bag from Goodwill leaves your hands free for food prepping and sparkler twirling.

If heading out to a dressier occasion, opt for a sundress in one or two of the patriotic hues. Flat sandals could easily be switched out with espadrilles or wedges and statement accessories for a rooftop party. Keeping the footwear casual and comfortable is a must for the holiday. Steer clear of an all-white outfit to prevent the stains that inevitably result from an overloaded hot dog and glass of red wine.

And don’t forget the sunglasses, because Goodwill sells a wide range of new shades at amazing prices.

While you will find all sorts of treasures for your Fourth of July party, think of Goodwill as your year-round independence inspiration. You may be a fan of thrift shopping because it’s less expensive and better for the environment, but did you also know that when you shop at or donate to Goodwill, you are helping to fund important employment programs? These programs promote independence and dignity for people within your own community who need support to provide for themselves and their families and that’s only possible with your help. What better way to honor our nation’s birthday than to assist our neighbors in their efforts toward achieving the American Dream.