St. Patrick’s Day is the ultimate tag along holiday. No matter if you are Irish or not, it’s all about wearing green at a minimum. And if you are an adult who favors a cocktail or two, its can also include adult beverages. Lots of them. Which is altogether ironic because St. Patrick’s Day is actually a religious holiday where Catholics honor St. Patrick and likely head out to mass too. But because everybody loves a party, it’s the Leprechaun that is the guest of honor.
Leprechauns are troublemaking, mischievous fairies native to Ireland. Legend has it that if you happen to catch a small and oh so clever Leprechaun, not only will your wishes be granted but you’ll also receive a pot of gold. And there is your answer. Who wouldn’t love to get a pot of gold?
And so the fun begins.
When my children were younger, St. Patrick’s Day had everything to do with the mischievous nature of the Leprechaun. They’d wake up to find a trail of gold coins in unexpected places throughout the house, clothes laid out changed, and thinks turned upside down or backwards just for fun.
In elementary school, they would design, build, write about, and share Leprechaun traps as a spring school project ~ yes, definitely BEFORE the Common Core ~ and delight in arriving to a classroom that would be mysteriously askew. However, as they move into middle and high school, they cue into the reality that St. Patrick’s Day is from a commercial standpoint, a holiday totally focused on beer. So what used to be cute and mischievous is now the ultimate hall pass to drink and be merry. If you are the parent of tweens and teens, you can totally see my Mom face. No, I’m not naive ~ I get that they get it and I get that they will make their own ~ hopefully wise ~ choices surrounding alcohol as they grow up. With sons in high school and college, we are living this stage of praying our boys make good choices every single day. But at home, I choose to show my children how to celebrate the luck of the Irish without getting trashed.
For those of us who actually ARE Irish, even if we don’t wear that badge of honor on our sleeve all year long, having traditions for St. Patrick’s day just makes sense. In my case, I’m actually REALLY lucky (see what I did there?) because I have an uncle who happens to be quite the historian and has published a book on our extensive family history that documents our Irish ties quite nicely. He’s led family tours through Ireland showing those who have attended our story and I’m hopeful that someday I’ll be able to visit too, if not with family then surely with Adventures by Disney!
So how do we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day without the beer and partying? These are my easy, and dry, St. Patrick’s Day traditions.
Hanging holiday themed wreaths both inside and outside my home is about the easiest way to make it clear there’s a holiday on the way. Wreaths have become my go to minimalist holiday decorating option because they make a statement without a lot of fuss. Just one look and everyone is game on. I hang one on the front porch to the left of our door and another inside above our foyer bench. Because this is also located at the base of our stairway to the 2nd floor, it sets the tone every day for some festive phone. I’ve been looking for the perfect St. Patrick’s Day wreaths for a few years actually. I found this beauty just a few days ago at A.C. Moore nicely discounted which was a total score! I love that it has gold coins on it because those too are part of our easy traditions.
To know me is to know how much we love Walt Disney World and when we visiting in 2011, we happened to be there on St. Patrick’s Day. While attending the Disney Social Media Moms Conference, we received our very own Duffy the Bear all decked out in his St. Patrick’s Day finest. As Disney legend has it, Duffy was given to Mickey by Minnie to keep him company on his travels. While my kids are older, seeing Duffy reminds them of the fun of that trip and has us sharing memories all month long. LOVE that!
After all those years of building traps and trying to catch the Leprechaun so they can get a pot of gold, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include gold coins. And show me a tween or teen who doesn’t love some unexpected cash. This year the coins were found inside my favorite Longaberger basket that sits by Duffy’s side. It didn’t get rave reviews so I may have to lead the kids to the basket with a trail again next year. Some traditions die hard ~ just sayin’!
Holiday Themed Food
Because I don’t bake Irish delights regularly, I have a St. Patrick’s Day themed cookbook full of super easy recipes that have yet to fail me. Picked up years ago at the check out counter, for some reason our middle child happens to love this little gem. I’m also huge fan of The Pioneer Woman and love her St. Patrick’s Day recipes too! Because he favors this holiday more than the others, its this child that I talk recipes with for the day. His favorites Irish Soda Bread and Beef Stew, so that’s always a given. My youngest LOVES cupcakes and any excuse to make them so I’m sure she’ll take over the kitchen after school too. I’ve yet to have success on the Corned Beef and Cabbage options but that’s okay. I’d rather have good memories of favorite meals close enough than my kids remembering St. Patrick’s Day as the day to go home with a friend to eat what their Mom is making.
Green Clothing and Accessories
I actually have just started wearing green more in the last few years. Not previously a foundation color for me, I’ve found I love the way it brings out the green in my eyes and its a great color for accessories to accent any outfit with a pop of fun color. So I know have a green polo much like the one above and the best part is that unlike a St. Patrick’s Day themed shirt, I get to wear this one all year long. Making sure the kids have appropriate green clothing can be tricky. While it may be cute to have a T-shirt that says “Kiss Me I’m Irish” they actually aren’t allowed to wear them to school because of the suggestive nature. Even in elementary school.
Let’s leave that alone.
So call me practical, but just like choosing a green polo for myself, I make sure that everyone has something green to wear, either in their shirt or accessories, that they will love long after the luck of the Irish fades for the current year. And that’s how I wave easy St. Patrick’s Day traditions into our family’s busy Spring days. Tell me…
What are your favorite St. Patrick’s Day traditions?
We’ve got a great St. Patrick’s Day Pinterest Board full of fun ideas from around the web so stop by and take a peek.
Thanks so much for stopping by ~ we’ll see you next time!