St. Patrick's Day Family Traditions

Family Celebrations: St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day generally conjures up images of silly hats, pots of gold, and crowds of people over-imbibing green beer all day long. However, if your own plans include little ones whether your own children or grandchildren, siblings, or the children of loved ones we assume that hitting a succession of bars whose names begin with O and drinking green beer isn't going to feature prominently. If you need ideas on how to shift the very American tradition of celebrating St. Patrick's Day toward family-friendly activities, we're here to help! Read on for easy ideas to make this little green holiday fun for the whole family.

Wear Something

One of the biggest traditions attached to the American St. Patrick's Day celebration is that one must wear something green, or else get pinched by the observant person who notices that there is no green in your ensemble on March 17th! Personally, if it is still chilly, I will be wearing my green CashTouch scarf and matching EZ Touch cashmere-lined leather gloves with my cream-colored down puffer vest, and my grandma's jade brooch pinned to my sweater, so I'll still be safe from a good stout pinch when I take off my outerwear! But you might choose a plaid men's flannel with green in the pattern, a tee, or anything else you like to wear that includes green. The shade of green is not important, but somewhere in the spectrum of bright Kelly to deep emerald are preferable.

Learn Something

Together with the little ones, read a book or watch a YouTube video about the real St. Patrick, the origins of St. Patrick's Day, how the celebration of St. Patrick's Day became part of secular American culture, or other related topics. Learning something together as a family can launch great conversations and makes acquiring new information fun rather than a chore. You might tailor what you learn about Ireland and its history or culture to your family's interests a travelogue for frequent fliers, indigenous flora for avid gardeners, a documentary about U2 for the musically inclined, for example.

Make Something

There are literally thousands of simple craft ideas suited to St. Patrick's Day readily available to you if you give St. Patrick's Day crafts for kids' a quick Google or Pinterest search. If you have green construction paper available, you'll be all set for at least some of the activities! Cheap white paper plates, paints, and tissue paper make good, inexpensive additions to your craft stash that will extend your crafting options and be useful the next time you want to do some creating together with little ones.

Cook Something

There's a family-owned restaurant in our area that generally serves terrific Italian food, but on St. Patrick's Day always has a corned-beef-and-cabbage special. I'm not sure how it got started, but it's delicious and my family always takes part in that wonderful dinner! Look up some traditional Irish foods and see if you and your family might enjoy trying your hand at a new recipe or two! You can make corned beef and cabbage in the slow cooker, bake soda bread, or assemble Shepherd's pie. Those examples are off the top of my head, but even a cursory Google search returned hundreds of possibilities! Suit your own taste and your own abilities in selecting a traditional Irish dish to try together.

Give Something

A gift, however simple, is one of the greatest ways to spread small joys around. Make an extra of whatever craft you choose and take it to a neighbor. A rainbow or paper shamrock in their window is a bright spot for the whole neighborhood! Take a to-go plate of the Irish-inspired dish you make to a friend, perhaps the children's favorite babysitter or school chum. Within your home, let the kids wake up to a few gold coins and perhaps a rainbow-themed trinket, such as a pack of stickers, socks, or barrette. Little gifts make any celebration special and help share the fun around. Let's admit it: kids love stuff, and the smallest things can bring them great joy. Teaching them to share that joy is a privilege.

St. Patrick's Day is for Everyone

So, the young people in your life can't go to the bar for a whisky and the cover band. . . that's okay! You can enjoy a family-friendly St. Patrick's Day celebration at home, in a way that makes the American St. Patrick's Day fun for everyone! Whether your family prefers to cook, craft or shop, you can suit at least one of our ideas to your lifestyle and help the young people in your life feel included in the St. Patrick's Day fun, no green beer necessary!


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