The Underachiever’s Guide to St. Patrick’s Day


When it comes to St. Patrick’s Day, people seem to fall into three camps. There are the revelers who have March 17 circled in bold green on their calendar. They get dressed head to toe in green, eat ONLY bangers and mash, and even do some kind of intricate and magical craft for their kids that involves a perfectly designed leprechaun in a pot painted with real gold. On the other end of the spectrum are the people who don’t know and could care less when the holiday is. They’re confused the first time someone pinches them for not wearing green and then shrug dismissively, because, well, who cares that it’s St. Patrick’s Day?

And somewhere in between those two extremes is the camp that I fall into: we’re the moderate bunch that gives one or two nods of acknowledgment towards the day and then go about our business.

Now, I’m not saying I wouldn’t like to do more. I even have plans – detailed plans – of the green menu for the day (think green pancakes, homemade Shamrock fudge, etc.), the Pinterest rainbow craft, and the scavenger hunt designed to blow even my teenager’s mind.

But, let’s face it — I’m tired. I wake up tired. I just can’t live up to my own expectations, and those well-intended plans are hastily replaced with a natty green t-shirt that I find and put on at the last minute.

This year, I wanted to be realistic and do something fun on a smaller scale, so I went to Facebook and asked my friends for their easy, no frills traditions. The following is a list of ideas they came up with that I might actually be able to implement. If you’re a fellow well-intentioned underachiever like me, feel free to use some or all of these ideas to celebrate with your family:

All Things Food Coloring:

  • Let your kids start the day with a surprise the leprechaun left in the toilet. Place a few drops of green food coloring in your potty before they wake up, and voila – instant grossness the kids will love.
  • If you’re not into green pee, put green food coloring in the milk instead.

Consume Green Foods

  • Make a quick batch of mint cookies using pre-made cookie dough. Or better yet, buy them already made from the bakery. No one will know if you pass them off as your own.
  • Green smoothies are easy to make: blend a handful of spinach, mango, a banana and ½ cup of milk for a delicious snack.
  • Buy a Shamrock Shake at McDonald’s.

Read Green

  • Read a book about St. Patrick’s Day from the library. Below are just a few of great titles to read with your children:
    • The Luckiest St. Patrick’s Day Ever by Teddy Slater (Preschool-2nd grade)
    • Lucky Tucker by Leslie McGuirk (Preschool – 1st grade)
    • Jamie O’Rourke and the Big Potato by Tomi de Paola (Preschool-2nd grade)
    • Tim O’Toole & the Wee Folk: An Irish Tale (3rd grade)
    • The Leprechaun’s Gold by Pamela Duncan Edwards (3-4th grade)
    • Magic Tree House Leprechaun in Late Winter by Mary Pope Osbourne (2nd-5th grade)

Wear Green

  •  This is self-explanatory but also very important to remember for me at least, since my older kids delight in pinching and not getting punished for it. And I bruise easily.

Do Green Activities

  • Turn on some Irish music and have a dance party. Maybe close the blinds so the neighbors don’t see you getting jig-y.
  • Prop your feet up and put the kids in charge of making a scavenger hunt for YOU with a pot of Hershey’s gold at the end.

Go Green Around Town

  • Celebrate all things Irish around Dayton. Check out our March Dirty Dozen list for some ideas. 


No matter which camp you’re in, I wish you a happy St. Patty’s Day! And as for me, this year I’m definitely not going to get pinched.

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I am a Dayton native who vowed to pack up and leave for bigger sights but never made it further than Centerville. I've been married to a fellow Daytonian for five years, and we currently play house in the Englewood area. I have two bonus kiddos - a daughter (13) and a son (11) - and one daughter (3). When we aren't playing soccer or hockey, our family enjoys checking out our Metroparks and visiting local farms that host family events. To detox from life's stressors, I love running, eating mass quantities of chocolate, and praying -- sometimes all at the same time.