Whatever Happened to My St. Patrick’s Day?


You’d think that as an Irish girl I’d do it up right on Saint Paddy’s Day.  And if you do – you’re wrong.  The day has become quite the boring non-event for me.  In preparation for this post, I looked through my digital picture files of the last ten years, and I was surprised to discover there is only one March 17th file -from 2005.  We’d just sold our home in Maryland and in a burst of nostalgia, I took a picture of every room, from every angle.  There isn’t one picture of my children dressed in green, of us eating corned beef and cabbage, or of me imbibing Irish whisky.  If I have time, I’ll check my old photo albums.  Certainly there must be one picture – somewhere?!?!

Even though I’m of Irish descent, St. Patrick’s Day wasn’t a big deal for me while I was growing up.  It’s weird, because my dad was 100% Irish, and my mother a mix of Irish, Scottish, and English descent.  Being raised as a Brahmin WASP, my mom very much played down her Emerald Isle roots – despite her red hair and Irish last name (once she was married).  In fact, she would wear orange or pink every March 17th.  I loved her very much, but she was definitely a strange duck.

Then came the college years and you know what that means.  Green beer!  Oh, the memories are fuzzy, but I did have quite a few wild and crazy St. Paddy’s days.  Seriously though, green beer is quite nasty.  Yes?  I remember there was a bar in Naples called Cisco’s, which is now an Outback, that would have a big St. Paddy’s Day party each year.  One year, before I was twenty-one, I managed to get in and it was crazy.  I vaguely recall a very funny story, but unfortunately the details are long gone.  Although I think my roommate Sandy did get sick from her green beer.

In graduate school and during my early twenties, I waited tables at a very popular waterside restaurant and bar in Fort Lauderdale.  The March holiday often coincided with spring break and I would always work and make a killing.  The staff would dress in green, and since this was in the days before my blonde hair, I very much looked like a sweet Irish lass.  The bar crowd ate it up.  Cha-ching.  It was so lucrative that I would also dress as a leprechaun for my Halloween shift with equally profitable results.

During the career years, pre-kids, I would indulge with a night out during the week to toast my Irish ancestors, but by then, the bloom was falling off the proverbial Irish Rose.  When I was a newlywed, I would make Sheppard’s Pie with a recipe from a long-lost Irish friend.  Sadly, I’ve now also lost the recipe and haven’t made Sheppard’s Pie in years.

I definitely used to dress the kids in Irish themed shirts when they were younger, despite the fact I cannot produce a picture as proof.  My children attended a Catholic pre-school, so St. Patrick’s Day was always celebrated with great fanfare.  It was there that a trouble-making leprechaun showed up, to turn their desks upside down and remove all the books from the shelves.  To be fair, the leprechaun also left behind gold (chocolate) coins.  Some parents decided this should carry over to the home front.  I have to say, that really, really irritated me.  Hello?! I’m Irish, and I did not get that memo!  In addition to Santa and the Easter Bunny, now the leprechaun was supposed to make an annual visit to the house to secretly mess things up.  That made me uncomfortable, because I don’t like a messy house, and I refused to participate.  Then my little Irish babes would ask why the leprechaun didn’t visit them?  Seriously, not cool!!!

What are my plans this year?  Nothing.  St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Tuesday and that’s the busiest day of the week for us.  I’ll spare you the mundane details, but we have no time for partying.

Okay, I just read what I wrote and it sounds somewhat bitter.  I don’t mean for it to be.  I blame it on my lingering winter funk and my age.  I’m getting old, and if I can’t party all night at a pub, I don’t want to do anything.  But yes, I’m a mom, and I do feel guilty that I’m not doing more to mark the day. Gretchen Rubin, in her book Happier at Home (or it could have been The Happiness Project), suggested that having family rituals for these secondary holidays can produce happiness and family memories with little effort.  I’m paraphrasing – she of course, said it better.

I’d like to do something, besides green beer and corned beef, but am at a loss as to how to commemorate the day.  I don’t want to have to tidy up after a pesky leprechaun.  Does that make me a bad mom? Of course, I could be over-thinking the whole damn thing (and therefore blame my cohorts of FTSF).  Perhaps I’ll just serve some magically delicious Lucky Charms for breakfast and be done with it.  My kids will think they won the lottery!

“When it comes to St. Patrick’s Day, I’ve dropped the ball.”

What was your greatest St. Patrick’s Day?  Are you Irish?  Do you celebrate?  How?  And please tell me you don’t do the crazy, messy leprechaun thing!


This is a Finish the Sentence Friday post.  This week’s link-up is hosted by Kristi, Lisa and Kelly.  Please click on the links below to read their posts and to find some other awesome St. Paddy’s Day essays!

Kristi Campbell of Finding Ninee

Lisa Listwa of The Meaning of Me

Kelly McKenzie of Just Typikel

34 thoughts on “Whatever Happened to My St. Patrick’s Day?”

  1. So I have to say that we don’t don’t do the messy house thing in our family. No need to — with two very-boy boys, the house looks like a family of leprechauns has taken up permanent residence! We’ve done some small things for St. Patrick’s Day: dress the kids in green and so on. My oldest learned a special Irish song and played on the school PA system when he was younger — that was a highlight. No green beer for me, though. I’m not a beer fan as it is, and drinking lots of green beer would not work out well for anyone involved (me, those within 3 feet of me, etc.). Anyway, sounds like you have some good memories, even though St. Patty’s Day isn’t an integral part of your life right now. Have fun on Tuesday!!

  2. I wouldn’t say you’ve dropped the ball. At least, I hope not — I don’t do anything with my kids, either! I used to make corned beef and cabbage in the crock pot, but I stopped because I was the only one who ate it. Other than that, we just never do much.

    I’ve never heard of the tradition of messing up the house and blaming it on leprechauns. Man, I could have used that excuse when I was growing up!

  3. OMG I am so so out of the loop. There’s like some messy house thing? I thought I was cool that I knew Tucker was supposed to make a leprechaun trap for school and the only reason I knew was because they sent a note home!! There’s more to this??? UGH to that part truly.
    But I love how you did this and don’t think it’s bitter at all and so appreciate you linking up!! Seriously I really enjoyed reading this and don’t feel like it’s bitter – I think it’s relatable. And you and honest and awesome.

    1. Take comfort in the fact that I was out of the loop, too. We did the leprechaun trap last year. Must be a Core Curriculum kindergarten thing, ha, ha. As, always, I love and appreciate your kind comments!

  4. You don’t come across as bitter in the slightest! Lord. I’m with you! Mess up the house and empty the bookcase? No thank you. I don’t think so. We’d just be recovering from the red dye overdose of Valentine’s Day. There’s no way in hell I’d fall for that leprechaun trick. When I was growing up I was always happy I had green eyes. They were the perfect simple nod to March 17th.

  5. I’m the tiniest bit o’ Irish on my Father’s side, but it’s buried underneath all the rest somewhere. Not much ado was ever made of St. Patrick’s Day by that side of the clan. Ever. On my Mom’s side – Italian and German, so not much green beer drinking or corned beef hash slinging there, either. For us, it was always St. Patrick’s feast day – not much else. Can’t say I’ve ever gotten into it, to be honest. And I have never consumed green beer. Just…eew. 😀
    As for the leprechaun visiting our home? Just no. After the not-so-exciting and rather tedious visit of the stupid Elf On My Nerves, there will be no more magical little imps here anytime soon. The Easter Bunny and Santa are enough to deal with! 😀
    Here’s the good news – Winter’s almost over, Allie! What I like most about St. Patrick’s Day is that it means Spring is coming!!! Hang in there!

    1. I know, I think the leprechaun thing was born from the Elf. It drove me crazy, especially when he would “visit” houses that weren’t Irish. I didn’t know what to tell the kids. I just told him that a leprechaun never visited my house growing up, so they shouldn’t feel bad. I didn’t know what to say, because I certainly didn’t want to sell out the other parents. Or – be caught in an admission that would lead them to question the Easter Bunny or Santa!

  6. I never thought how working at a bar and grill could be so lucrative on the big day – I may have missed my calling! One year I came home before I picked up the kids from daycare and knocked over some chairs and filled the tub up with green water. When we got home, I was so amazed that the leprechaun had been there. My kids alternated between being freaked out and mad – not the reaction I was looking for! So I was one and done with “good mom” St. PAtrick’s Day shenanigans. :)

  7. I, myself, still love St. Patrick’s Day, but probably would drop the ball a bit, too if my husband weren’t 100% Irish and his mom didn’t go all out for the family in celebrating, because I still don’t know where she gets all the time to make the traditional meal, plus homemade Irish soda bread for all her family and friends, too. Yes, she make a loaf for the celebration, but for everyone to bring home, too!

    1. Okay, that’s pretty cool! Can I come? I think if I still lived in the northeast, it would be a bigger deal. But here in Atlanta, it kind of gets swept under the carpet. However, all the posts I’m reading have inspired me…I will step it up a bit this year (hopefully:)).

  8. I know absolutely nothing about St. Patrick’s Day so appreciated hearing your history with it. I agree with Rubin that rituals are important. (We have many holidays and many rituals.) BUT, I think they need to be over the top or overly Pinterest-worhty. You know?

    1. I think (or hope) you meant they need not be over the top and Pinterest-worthy? Yes? No? I love Pinterest – to look at – but I’ve never actually taken the extra step and done anything I’ve pinned.

  9. I am cracking up!!! We could have written each other’s post this week. How freaking hysterical. You, of course, did a much funnier job at explaining why we Irish never got the memo!

  10. Your post made me smile Allie, because it’s so in contrast to anything I know or have experienced. I would love to see a photo of you, your original hair color working the bar and making a killing 😉 And your mom wearing pink or orange – LOVE IT!

    1. I’m so glad it made you smile. I still can’t believe that I have no photos of me at work in my costume/St. Paddy’s Day. But this is going back – to the days before we have digital cameras and mobile phones. But I’ll keep looking. Eventually, my “tidying up” quest will lead me to the boxes in the basement…

  11. I love that you looked through your photos in preparation for this post – I do that all the time! And do you know that I’ve never had green beer?

  12. I’ve dropped the ball too! I mean who has tim efor green beer and silly shenanigans in the middle of the week?! I think as we get older we find the time for things that really matter…

    1. I agree! It seems so silly now. Don’t tell anyone, but I’ve also lost my taste for New Year’s Eve. What? If I ever give up on Christmas or Easter, I’ll know my time has come. Joking! Kind of..

  13. Oh, I totally dropped the ball having grown up in a country that doesn’t celebrate this day I have no tradition of celebrating it. On March 17th I can never remember to wear green and can’t help but feel like a bit of an outsider. Reading yours and Kristi’s posts made me feel so much better about that :-)

    1. We must look like aliens, all dressed in green! But seriously, it was a way bigger deal up north. I lived in Puerto Rico for a year – and they totally ignored the day.

  14. Oh this is too cute Allie!!! First of all, you didn’t sound bitter at all! I love your real-ness, because I am nodding right with you!! I have never done a thing for this holiday- and I really don’t feel bad about it at all!! I don’t believe I’ve even bought a special green shirt for the kids even when they were little.

    I just don’t want you to feel alone in this one!! Lucky charms? BRILLIANT! Wait, would coco crispies do? I have those. 😉

    1. Ah, you’ve made me feel better! And the Lucky Charms, well they are basically forbidden in our household, so if I serve them… Well I think they’ll wonder if I’ve hit the green beer early.

  15. I’m not Irish at all but my mom used to give us Lucky Charms for breakfast and give us little green presents. And I’d wear a four leaf clover pin I have!
    In college, it was all about partying.
    Now it’s the parades. And I love corned beef and cabbage. In fact, Cassidy has some in the crockpot right now and the smell is driving me crazy.

    1. Oh, I can smell it from here! I think I’ve resolved to do the Lucky Charms thing, simply because it’s easy. But who knows, I may scour the internet for a Sheppard’s Pie recipe.

  16. Loved this, Allie! Especially these lines:
    “I loved her very much, but she was definitely a strange duck.”
    “I’ll spare you the mundane details, but we have no time for partying.”

    I don’t celebrate St Patrick’s Day but if I did, I would feel the same way! Confession: I hate Halloween!

    1. Thanks Nicki! The allure of Halloween is fading for me, too. I was never a fan, but in the early mom years I found a new appreciation for it. Now, it just seems like hassle. Finding to costumes and then policing the kids intake of candy…

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