A Memorable Memorial Day

The first instinct upon hearing “Memorial Day” is to jump in the air for a long weekend, barbques, patriotic decor, and overall glee (and maybe you’re excited about getting a new mattress – no shaming here)

But it seems to be more and more a holiday centered around the beginnings of summer rather than commemorating the lives lost in battles. And don’t get me wrong, I love a good long weekend celebrating summer….

Well, I thought it would be a nice idea to include a little history lesson before I spill the beans on all my favorite memorial day celebration traditions and weekend sales! I love shopping good sales (duh)  but I also think the history of how exactly memorial day started is even more important! If you’re not into learning, just skip these sections below.


Your Guide To A Memorable Memorial Day Weekend | The Petite Bijou


The Origins of Memorial Day

Memorial Days origins go back to the American Civil War and was informally known as “Decoration Day”. The American Civil War produced the largest war fatality number on American soil. Countless Union and Confederate soldiers perished in battle, among others. During the war graves were decorated by women with flowers. The tradition quickly caught on.

One of the first observances of decoration day was on April 25, 1866 when a group of women decorated confederate graves near where the battle of Shiloh was. The story goes that they had felt bad for the Union side not being decorated and had placed flowers on their graves too. Although the exact place of the first “decoration day” isn’t clear, groups of freed slaves and union families also practiced honoring their departed by decorating tombstones. The first major celebration took place in Charleston, South Carolina – complete with a parade and decorations honoring loved ones. Soon the official “Decoration Day” would be declared by the government on May 30th – when the spring flowers would be at their finest bloom. That year, an official commemoration took place at Arlington National Cemetery, with over 5,000 people in attendance.

So those are the origins of Memorial Day, but the story doesn’t end there. There was even some controversy on when the official date of this holiday would be. Many were fearful Americans would associate Memorial Day with the beginning of summer instead of honoring loved ones lost in battle – kind of the sense i am getting in this day and age.

Memorial Day as we know it wasn’t declared a federal holiday until 1971 when the United Sates was in the Vietnam War. This holiday marked the memory of all Americans who have died in battle – and not just the civil war or World War I.

Fun fact: To this day many states have their own versions of Memorial Day celebrations. A few southern states do it on different days to commemorate confederate soldiers lost in battle.


Your Guide to a Memorable Memorial Day Celebration


Host A Memorable Memorial Day

So, if you’re anything like me, you love hosting and entertaining! I am such a big fan of thinking up recipes, decor ideas, and gathering little details here and there. Memorial Day is a wonderful holiday and I think we can achieve a good mix of remembrance and still enjoy a lovely day off. Here are my few favorite roundups for a memorable Memorial Day gathering.



* These adorable DIY Paper Stars would make a great addition to decorating your space. I know they’re meant for the 4th of July but I think it would work really well if you left them up until the 4th!

* Bandana Utensil bundles would look very nice in a galvanized bucket. This galvanized bucket from Bed Bath & Beyond is inexpensive and pretty handy.

*Why not bring florals into your party decor? This cute DIY floral arrangement looks like so much fun and is beautiful!

*Check out this DIY Fabric Flag that can be done using scraps of fabric you might have laying around the house. If you don’t have any of these fabrics I would definitely hit up some garage sales – last week we got fabric for 50 cents!

*This free printable would be great on the doorway while greeting guests or just a small reminder – framed inside your home.



*I really can’t wait to make this – in fact, I’m not even waiting for Memorial Day. Check out this Frito Corn Salad recipe!

*Loaded Baked Potato Salad is a refreshing appetizer! I imagine this will go pretty fast too.

*Check out this Red, White, and Blue Mason Jar Salad with Feta and Fruit. This recipe is a great American twist on a Mediterranean dish.

*Make this CRACK DIP and your guests will go wild. It’s called Crack Dip for a reason, people = it’s delicious!! I’ve made this many time and have probably finished it by myself before guests got to it.


Main Course

*This 50 Stars Barbecue Chicken deserves 50 stars. Guests will love this easy to make main course!

*Pulled meat is always a good idea – especially if you have it going in the crock pot for a few hours before hand. Try this Carolina Pulled Park as an alternative to classic pulled chicken.

*Or maybe you’d like more riparian entertainments (if you’d don’t get this, you need to watch Keeping Up Appearances). Try these Salmon Meatballs with Avocado Sauce for a quick and easy meal! Serve them on a festive platter and guests can pick them up as they please.

*Brown Sugar BBQ Wings sound incredibly delicious for a Memorial Day celebration! My family really loves wings (I’m not to keen on them). So this is a great family friendly recipe.



*Red, White, and Blue Strawberry Cheesecake Bites are a perfect patriotic and delicious dessert idea! Check out the recipe here.

*Here’s another colorful recipe: this Fruit Flag Dessert is really easy to put together and you’ll only need to make a quick trip to the grocery store to put this together. Presentation is everything in this recipe.

*If you are a serious baker, you may want to try this Patriotic Rose Cake – video tutorial included!

*Or if you’re a no fuss person, these patriotic dipped ice cream cones are easy peasy.



*You’ll want a refreshing summer drink as your guests mingle outside. Check out this Southern Style Sweet Tea recipe and take your shot at perfecting it to your taste.

*Or check out this recipe for Strawberry Blueberry Limeade. This sounds extra refreshing!

*Love blueberries? Here’s some more Blueberry Lemonade. May be a touch too much blueberry for me – but it’s definitely a cute idea.

*Maybe you’re more old fashioned (like me) – set up a Coca Cola Bar for an ode to the 50’s! I could totally imagine an americana coca cola bar set up outside.


Just want to take a moment to remember the  people that have lost their lives protecting our country, defending our homeland, and giving us the freedom and rights we have today.



I hope you enjoyed this quick and fun guide, and also learned something new! Let me know what you think!

xo Mariam




Behind The Blog

The Petite Bijou is an online destination featuring wholesome yet sophisticated living and styling tips for women. The site is run by the family and friends of survivor, lifestyle influencer, and writer Mariam, who passed away in the summer of 2020.  Mariam also hosted The Bijou Show, a self help podcast.

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Leave a Comment


  1. There are so many amazing sales right now. Great roundup!!
    xO – Steph

    Posted 5.31.16 Reply
  2. tara wrote:

    I love this post! I need to try that crack dip recipe! I love the history lesson, its little embarrassing that I actually didn’t know exactly how the holiday got started.
    XO, Tara

    Posted 5.31.16 Reply
  3. Heather wrote:

    I love how you cover all aspects of Memorial Day in this post. Thanks for the history and inspiration!

    Posted 5.30.16 Reply
  4. Jessica wrote:

    This is such a great post! Love all of your different suggestions and ideas!

    xo Jessica

    Posted 5.30.16 Reply
  5. Jalisa wrote:

    This is such a wonderful post, beautiful! I love how you went into detail about the history of the holiday, as well as suggestions for entreating and holiday sales, definitely a unique post! Thanks so much for sharing and I hope you have a lovely holiday!



    Posted 5.30.16 Reply
  6. kat wrote:

    I’m all about the sales!! I can’t wait to see what I find! Thanks for all the party hosting tips too!
    Happy Memorial Day!

    Posted 5.30.16 Reply
  7. Lauren wrote:

    Great post! It’s not often I learn something important from a blog but I did today! I also feel its very important we enjoy our freedoms on Memorial Day because that’s what all these soldiers sacrificed their lives for, but do it with an attitude of respect! Great post-still got time to check out some sales!


    Posted 5.30.16 Reply
  8. love the post! Its nice to see someone talk about the real meaning!

    Posted 5.30.16 Reply
  9. Anna wrote:

    I love the historical aspect of this post! It is always good to know the past. I know holidays tend to be so commercialized but I can’t help but love all the amazing sales! ( sorry not sorry hehe)

    Posted 5.30.16 Reply
  10. Great post I loved learning more about Memorial Day, I hate to say I didn’t know all of this but I’m happy you took the time to educate us all! Thanks for the sales infoLOVE all the sales links!!

    Posted 5.30.16 Reply
  11. Gail wrote:

    Such a great post and I thoroughly enjoyed the history lesson. Thank you for the insight into Memorial Day. It’s great to know exactly what we’re celebrating. I hope you’re having a great long weekend so far! Xoxo

    Posted 5.29.16 Reply
  12. Ariel wrote:

    Adore the historical insights!! I love learning new facts, and had no idea Memorial Day was so old. I think all holidays have become super commercialized and we forget what we are celebrating. I wish we lived closer so we could be invited to try all these yummy treats!! I think I’ll have to content myself to shopping the sales and trying them all summer long!! Have an amazing weekend!


    Posted 5.29.16 Reply
  13. candice wrote:

    I love that you focused this post on what Memorial weekend is really about!! So refreshing!!
    Some good company, yummy foods and good sale never hurt either! ;P Hope you have the best weekend!



    Posted 5.28.16 Reply
  14. Kelpa Raza wrote:

    Hi Marima,
    Great post dear and well written. A history lesson for me;)
    Thanks for sharing this for us and taking your time to make this awesome post.
    Have a wonderful Sunday.



    Posted 5.28.16 Reply
  15. I love this post, I think it is perfect for celebrating the holiday and I love how you talked about the history too!

    Great post 🙂
    Anna Elizabeth

    Posted 5.28.16 Reply
  16. Lauren B. wrote:

    Love the way you brought back the real meaning of the long weekend. Great post!!
    xx, Lauren {www.rosesandrainboots.com}

    Posted 5.28.16 Reply
  17. Suzanne wrote:

    Great reminder that is all too often forgotten. And awesome round up 🙂


    Posted 5.28.16 Reply
  18. Angelle Marix wrote:

    Loved reading this post. The history behind the holiday is beautiful. I love to be reminded of why we celebrate. Love all of your tips and fun activities to decorate too.


    Posted 5.27.16 Reply
  19. The Red, White, and Blue Mason Jar Salad with Feta and Fruit sounds delicious!


    Posted 5.27.16 Reply
  20. Jess wrote:

    Such a great post, you’ve covered every topic here!! I love the little history lesson and I may need to make that crack dip ASAP!


    Posted 5.27.16 Reply
    • Mariam wrote:

      Hey Jess! Thanks for stopping by and leaving some love! That crack dip is seriously amazing! Let me know how you like it!

      xo Mariam

      Posted 5.27.16 Reply
  21. Chelsea wrote:

    I love that you included the history of Memorial Day at the beginning of this post. It’s always important to remember the reason for our Holidays! Also, I will definitely be checking out these sales! Thank ya ma’am 🙂

    Chelsea | http://coffeewithchels.com

    Posted 5.27.16 Reply
    • Mariam wrote:

      Hey Chelsea!

      I am so glad you enjoyed the post and found the sales! I am so happy to share this little piece of history I found with everyone. Have a super memorial day weekend!

      xo Mariam

      Posted 5.27.16 Reply
  22. michelle mink wrote:

    This is by far the best memorial day post that I have seen so far and I feel like I’ve seen a lot this week. Thank you for taking some time to point out the history of the holiday since so many seem to forget that it is not just a weekend to kick off summer. I also love the various categories including recipes, decor & of course the sales!

    Posted 5.27.16 Reply
    • Mariam wrote:

      Hey Michelle!

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! I really felt like the world was screaming and shouting about the sales and celebrations and not giving enough remembrance to the people that lost their lives. So I wanted to do a post that talked about all three things. I am so glad you enjoyed it. Please feel free to share!

      Have a fantastic Memorial Day Weekend!

      xo Mariam

      Posted 5.27.16 Reply
  23. What a solid post. Thank you for bringing us back to the roots and the real meaning behind this holiday. I agree with you 100% on this statement. “But it seems to be more and more a holiday centered around the beginnings of summer rather than commemorating the lives lost in battles.” Thank you as always for being real and relevant.

    Posted 5.27.16 Reply
    • Mariam wrote:

      Hey Ruthie,

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving such a thoughtful comment. I was just watching TV and seeing the overload of Memorial Day “BBQ” sales and such. It was quite sad because the other day I was watching Ken Burn’s documentary” The Civil War” which usually makes me cry thinking of how many people lost their lives to give others freedom. I think the majority of the population forgets that this country went through a lot to where we are now. I don’t think a lot of people know how this holiday started and i love sharing it.

      Thanks for stopping by and I wish you a lovely Memorial Day weekend!

      xo Mariam

      Posted 5.27.16 Reply
  24. Anna wrote:

    Great post, Mariam! Thanks for the reminder that MDW is more about remembering our history. But you did make me hungry with your food suggestions 😀 xo ~anna http://www.pepperedinstyle.com

    Posted 5.27.16 Reply
    • Mariam wrote:

      Hey Anna!

      Thanks for stopping by! I am so glad you enjoyed the post! You absolutely have to try the Crack Dip! you and Kristin need to let me know how you like it!

      xo Mariam

      Posted 5.27.16 Reply
  25. Bailey wrote:

    Thanks for all the memorial day tips and sales! I will definitely be using them this weekend! xoxo

    Here’s The Skinny

    Posted 5.27.16 Reply
    • Mariam wrote:

      Hey Bailey!

      Thanks for stopping by! Let me know if you end up doing any of the recipes!

      xo Mariam

      Posted 5.27.16 Reply
  26. Wow girl this post is amazing! The loaded baked potato salad sounds so good! And you mentioned a ton of my favorite stores that are having sales, I can’t wait to check them out! Thank you for putting this great post together! Xo

    Posted 5.27.16 Reply
    • Mariam wrote:

      Thank you so much for checking it out, Nicole! i am so glad you liked this post! Aren’t the sales amazing? Let me know if you end up getting anything!

      xo Mariam

      Posted 5.27.16 Reply
  27. Madeleine wrote:

    Great post! Everything you need to know, all in one place! Triple threat!

    Posted 5.27.16 Reply
    • Mariam wrote:

      Thank you, Madeline! I love including as much information as possible – especially because it’s an amazing learning opportunity!

      xo Mariam

      Posted 5.27.16 Reply
  28. Liz wrote:

    Fantastic historical lesson! I had no idea of the origins! Thanks for info on the sales too!

    Posted 5.27.16 Reply
    • Mariam wrote:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this post, Liz and learned something new! I didn’t know either as was excited to find out and share what I’ve researched!

      xo Mariam

      Posted 5.27.16 Reply
  29. Love the History lesson–so true that we must never forget those who sacrificed so much for us 🙂 This CRACK DIP recipe is absolutely going to be made this weekend. YUM! Great sale roundup as well. Happy weekend, girl!


    Posted 5.27.16 Reply
    • Mariam wrote:

      Thanks, Kristin!

      I think you’ll love the Crack Dip – if you want an easy no fuss variation on the dip i just mix some chicken bullion with cream cheese and serve with potato chips. I first mix the bullion with 2 tablespoons of water and then mix it in with the cream cheese. it’s a great game day snack. I actually don’t end up watching any games around here and just sit in the corner eating everything. It’s pretty awesome

      xo Mariam

      Posted 5.27.16 Reply