Labor Day Celebrations that Make a Difference

August 30, 2012    |    By +
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Labor Day, like many American holidays, has become a holiday with multiple causes for celebration – the last hurrah before the end of summer, the start of football season, or the last opportunity to wear white. However, Labor Day is unlike any other American holiday, since it is not marking any major conflict or a day of religious significance. Though it may be hidden by the fire of a grill, Labor Day has a much different meaning.

Labor Day was created to celebrate the productivity, ingenuity and the economic and social contributions of the American worker. While having a Monday free from work or class is certainly always worth a celebration before the kids go back to school, this year is a great time to teach your family the significance of Labor Day. Here are a few ways your family can celebrate this very American holiday without sacrificing time at the grill.

Celebrate the Full Weekend

For many people, it’s traditional to have a cookout or a trip to the beach on Monday, but spend the rest of the weekend normally. When Labor Day first began, leaders deemed that Sunday to be Labor Sunday. It was a day of learning about the spiritual and educational aspects of the holiday, followed by a Monday of parades and celebrations. This year, take advantage of the Sunday to provide some education about the importance of the labor movement to your kids.

While the form and feel of the labor movement may have changed, labor organizations are responsible for many of the workplace freedoms and perks we enjoy today and your children will enjoy in the future. Today, it can be an opportunity to discuss all the reasons why “Made In the USA” is something to be proud of.

Tackle a Project

Unfortunately, the skills of working with your hands have been removed from many of our classrooms, but the home is the perfect place to continue that education. You don’t have to round up the kids and finally fix that shed that you’ve been meaning to tackle to give them a taste of what real work is like, but there are plenty of family activities that can be fun and educational.

Start a work-themed craft project, like a diorama or a collage, centered on a particular profession. Help them build a doll house or some model airplanes. Getting your children to work with their hands is a rewarding, and sometimes addictive, activity that teaches how hard work can lead to satisfaction and long-term enjoyment. If manual labor isn’t your cup of tea, try cooking a pre-Labor Day meal together as a family.

Do a Little Research

There are plenty of books about kids in interesting professions or showing how intricate manufactured goods are. Take your kids to the library to find books about work or a profession they are interested in. How Stuff Works offers great series that breaks down how some of your favorite products or devices are made and function. If you’re feeling brave, or have an old device lying around, assist your kids in deconstructing an old electronic device. Electronic device manufacturing is still a strong field in America, and it’s never too early to help inspire your kids to a career.

Play Some Work-Themed Games

It’s not necessarily the easiest thing to get your kids to play charades, but a game of profession-themed charades can be a great way to get your kids thinking about work and for you to educate them on future career choices. You’ll probably find that your kids are eager to learn about what the world has to offer, so this shouldn’t be as tedious as it might sound. Any game can also be an opportunity to get a feel for your child’s long-term interests and help you plan their education to help them find a job they’ll love. There are also career-themed dolls and games that are easy gift ideas to help your kids explore new things.

While it’s a good idea to keep the holiday’s historical significance in mind while you’re celebrating, the most important thing is that you take time to relax with your family and enjoy your time off. In between drinks at the pool and pulling another burger off the grill, it’s a good idea to think about the roots of our prosperity, but don’t work too hard. After all, it’s a holiday.

 

 

Erin Leigh is a freelance writer for The Serious Teddy Bear Company, a gift basket company for every occasion, from get well soon bears to teddy bear birthday gifts. She’s a self-proclaimed gift giving expert. She strives to find the perfect gift and is a frequent host to celebrate any occasion.

 



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Kathryn Drury Wagner is the senior manager of content at Gifts.com. She was formerly the executive editor at Honolulu Magazine, and is the author of The Ultimate Guide to Shopping on Oahu. Her career has included staff positions at Country Living Gardener and Power & Motoryacht. Her latest book is "Hawaii's Strangest, Ickiest, Wildest Book Ever!"

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