Originally known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971.
Many of us observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and barbecues and participating in parades. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the summer season.
On Monday, May 31, we honor the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military.
There are many ways to celebrate and honor this courage and sacrifice, and Goodwill can help make the day memorable and meaningful.
- A quick roam down any aisle at a Goodwill Central Coast store will reveal a wide array of Americana. From flags, flag-themed items, dinnerware stamped with the stars and stripes, tiki torches and red-white-and-blue decorations, you can let your imagination loose.
- One of the most widely observed traditions of Memorial Day is to decorate the graves of soldiers. A simple flag is statement enough, and Goodwill has you covered there. But a quick roam through our aisles will unleash plenty of items hundreds for a more personal graveside honor. Perhaps it’s a vintage picture frame to house a vintage photo, or a vase to hold a bouquet of flowers. Anything from the heart is perfect.
- If it’s an outfit you’re looking for, it should be somewhat formal to show respect for the people who lost their lives fighting for our country. This means a collar, blazer, heels, or other elements that truly dress up an outfit. But it also should be fun, and there is plenty of patriotic clothing in just the right shades of red, white and blue. Memorial Day attire also needs to be relaxed and free. Dress up some blue jeans with a white shirt, a blue blazer and a red handkerchief. Or pick up a blue summer dress with red shoes that pop.
The all-American barbecue
You don’t have to go overboard to have an amazing Memorial Day barbecue that will surely impress your family and friends.
- If you are planning on decorating for your backyard outing, be sure to check out one of your local Goodwill Central Coast stores. Decorations don’t have to cost a fortune. A simple Mason jar can easily be transformed into a hanging lantern, thanks to a solar light, a glue gun and some wire. Or dye uncooked rice in shades of the flag and layer them inside the jar. A perfect centerpiece!
- When it comes to grilling, there is no need to get too fancy on the accessories. Experts say all you need is a meat thermometer, a large platter and a good pair of tongs. Goodwill shoppers have also found amazing deals on new grills. And don’t forget to browse the book section to pick up some grilling tips in the perfect cookbook.
- You may be surprised at the quality of Goodwill’s outdoor dinnerware, flatware and shatterproof glasses. Available both new and gently used, you can set a beautiful table for just a few dollars.
- When it comes to the meat, kebabs are one of the best frugal foods for a barbecue. They give you the best of both worlds: little morsels of skewered meat sandwiched between plenty of vegetables to stretch that meat out. And with marinades, you can serve up a variety of flavors with very little cost or effort. You will find marinating containers, large platters and an assortment of skewers at any Goodwill store.
Remember, one of the reasons we love having cookouts is that we want to be surrounded by the people we love. There’s nothing like sharing memorable moments alongside our family, our closest friends, and even our neighbors (if allowed during these socially distanced times).
However, you can also build up a connection with those living in your community in other ways. Do you know that there are people in your neighborhood — from veterans to the disabled — who find personal barriers to decent jobs and livelihood?
Show them that you do care by supporting Goodwill’s mission. Your donations strengthen our community by empowering people to work and preserving the Central Coast landscape by diverting millions of pounds from landfills. From home pick-ups to tax write-offs, we make giving to Goodwill as easy as possible.