Food — Fireworks — Fun. Do you need a fourth reason to make room in your calendar for the Fourth of July? The COVID, riots and the economy has made this season quite a bit more sedate than we would wish for. This year, the setup and blast off for summer isn’t going to be there in all its splendor, but you can still make your event special. Think of these tips and things — and use the ideas to dream of next year’s festivities. We will come out of this weird time — and we will party again!

I use these tips for most holidays and you can too, in future, as you Calendar your way to successful party planning.

Planning an Independence Day extravaganza can be a handful. Coordinating with family and friends and making sure everything is on the table is tough without a scheduling system.

You’ve got your work cut out for you. Thankfully, your calendar is up to the task.

Celebrate With Your Online Calendar

For the best Fourth of July bash around, check out these 10 calendar tips:

1. Set Reminders

No great party is planned in a day. There are food and drinks to coordinate, people to invite, and supplies to procure.

Use your calendar to help you tick down the days. Set notifications so you’re not left scrambling to make the meal or order catering the day beforehand.

On July 4 itself, set hourly reminders. That way, you aren’t running around trying to remember what’s next on the day’s schedule. And for sure have your list handy.

2. List it Out

When you’ve got a lot of party priorities, it’s easy to let something slip through the cracks. Create checklists in your online calendar so you don’t miss an important detail.

The perfect to-do list can take stress off your shoulders. Create one for each category: fireworks, food, invitations, and any other events you hope to enjoy that day.

What if you’re still overwhelmed? Don’t be afraid to delegate. Your family and friends would be happy to help you throw a party for everyone.

3. Make a Budget

Holidays can get expensive. If you’re not prepared with a budget, you might dip into your savings a little too much and regret it later.

Use your online calendar to set a budget for the festivities. Break down your budget into food, fireworks, and fun categories. If need be, add a maximum amount to the “Notes” section of each calendar event. That way, you don’t wind up unable to afford fireworks after a pricey grocery run.

4. Separate Calendars for Different Age Groups

Kids and adults want different things from a Fourth of July party. Don’t make them compromise; create separate calendars so each age group can have a safe, enjoyable holiday.

Maybe kids aged 5 through 12 would like to spend the day at the waterpark. For the 21-and-up crowd, afternoon cocktails might be a better bet.

For this type of party, it’s essential to create a checklist of attendees. You need to know how many people you’ll have in each age category. If there are three or fewer people in an age category, combine it with an adjacent one.

Your Fourth of July party may be different this year with COVID around. But every year and every holiday will require specific requirements — keep a tally or list moving forward to save you time on your next holiday planning session.

5. Focus on Food

The one Fourth of July activity literally everyone can get behind? Eating. Billions of dollars are spent on food each year to supply Americans’ holiday cookouts.

Meals must be coordinated. If you’re not planning to provide it all, will different families each bring a dish? If you’ve got vegetarians or paleo people in the group, do you have a plan to accommodate their diet?

Remember, it’s not just about meals, either. You’ll want to set snacks out throughout the day. Whether attendees will be drinking alcohol or not, you’ll also need beverages to keep everyone hydrated.

Don’t forget to plan where everyone will be sitting, and remember the spacing for this year.

6. Plan to Attend the Parade

Most U.S. cities host a parade in honor of Independence Day. Make space for this time-honored tradition in your online calendar.

Local parades bring communities together. Especially during these tough, polarized times, it’s important to celebrate with your neighbors.

Think, too, about events your city might be hosting after the parade. Why not stick around to participate in a charity drive or 5K afterward?

7. Stay Flexible

Fear of missing out cuts deep during holidays. With all of the fun activities available on the Fourth of July, it’s tempting to try to make time for everything.

Add all the events in your area to your online calendar, even if you do not plan on hitting up them all. You never know when something will be cancelled, or when a member of your party will insist on checking something else out.

Look for gaps in your day. Place breaks and meals in between the fun, and be flexible if the timing isn’t perfect. Again, especially important this year to be additionally flexible with both planning and execution.

8. Attend the Show

What better way to end your Fourth of July celebration than with a bang? Either attend the evening’s fireworks show, or throw your own for your small group. Make sure everyone is sitting at least 100 feet away from the action — and six feet away from each other. And, of course, this year — you should likely be wearing a mask.

Fireworks have been around for centuries, and were part of the first official Independence Day celebration in 1777. This tradition has only gotten bigger and better since, and no Fourth of July celebration is complete without it.

9. Coordinate the After Party

Community fireworks shows typically start at dusk, when the sky is dark enough to see the rockets clearly. Once the show ends, bring everyone back to your place for some after-show libations.

Make the after party adults-only. Following the fireworks show is the perfect time to put your kids to bed. If there are a lot of kids involved, assign one or more adults to help them get ready to turn in for the evening.

10. Plan for Next Year

Now that it’s the Fifth of July, sit down and evaluate how yesterday went. Did you stick with your budget? Was there enough food? How well did you time the events?

Your online calendar is a great place to store those details. Create an event for July 4, 2021, where you can leave reminders for yourself. That way, you won’t forget which parts of the day were hits and which were misses when it’s time to plan next year’s celebration.

The Fourth of July is a celebration of freedom. Feel free to party, eat, and enjoy each other’s company. Use your online calendar to make sure it all happens without a hitch.