One thing we’ve always liked about Labor Day is that we don’t have to feel guilty about enjoying it purely as a day off. What better way to pay tribute to the hard work we all put in, day in and day out, than to enjoy a little rest and relaxation?
Still, there’s often a feeling of melancholy attached to Labor Day. After all, it’s the end of summer. Even if you didn’t spend much or even any of the past three months beachside lazily working your way through a pile of novels, or hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, or in the bleachers at Wrigley or Fenway – or whatever exquisite vision of summer resides in your imagination – Labor Day can presage a return to a reality that’s a little less bright and hopeful.
All the more reason, we say, to pack your Labor Day with as much summer as possible – summer food, summer drink, summer fun. Call it a Farewell to Summer Party, a last sunshiny fling that will not only end the season on a high note, but inspire you to welcome fall and its abundant charms.
First, you need a great festive look. We’ve got that covered with a ton of cool decorating ideas on our Pinterest Page, but one easy way to give your table a colorful spark is by turning empty protea bottles into vases (it’s the simplest upcycling idea) for your centerpiece, like this:
What’s on the menu? We’ve scouted out some great recipes from around the Internet:
•Guacamole hummus from Martha Stewart
•Summer corn chowder from Food52
•Barbecued spiced shrimp and tomato salad from Food & Wine
•Summer fruit with wine and mint from Giada De Laurentiis
•Blueberry cobbler from Real Simple
There’s one more recipe we love for the Farewell to Summer Party – shish kabobs that your guests can then assemble according to their own taste. The building blocks include vegetables galore, as well as three proteins: citrus-tarragon chicken and lemon-garlic shrimp, each of which would pair nicely with the protea Chenin Blanc; and a Dijon-rosemary steak to go with the protea Red.
Meanwhile, it wouldn’t be summer without play, so be sure to have the badminton, bocce or croquet going – and if your party is thick with kids, check out these party ideas for keeping them busy and smiling.