Originating in Ireland, St. Patrick's Day was spent at church and with family on March 17, celebrating the teachings of Christianity. When the Irish emigrated to the United States and Canada, the festivities evolved to the wearing o’ the green, watching parades and eating corned beef and cabbage. Countries around the world celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, proving you don’t have to be Irish to enjoy their holiday. Here are 10 fun ways to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with your family.
Grow a Leprechaun. Decorate a terra cotta pot with a Leprechaun face. Fill the pot with soil and add shamrock seeds. Place the pot in a sunny place and watch the “hair” of your Leprechaun grow.
Watch Irish movies together. Try “The Secret of Roan Inish”, “The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns” or “The Luck of the Irish.”
Live a greener life. Use this “green” month to teach your children how their efforts can help the environment. Conserve water by taking shorter showers, save energy by shutting off electronics when not in use and walk instead of drive when possible.
Make Irish Soda Bread. Combine 4 cups flour, 4 Tbsp. white sugar, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 Tbsp. baking powder, ½ tsp. salt and ½ cup softened margarine in a bowl. Add 1 cup of buttermilk, 1 egg and 1 cup raisins (optional) and mix well. Knead dough slightly and form into a round. Place on baking sheet. Cut “X” in bread top and brush with 1 egg white. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Have the Leprechaun visit every night while you sleep. Similar to the Elf on the Shelf, the Leprechaun comes by every night to do mischievous things like empty the tissue box or hide the remote.
Research your family tree even if you don’t have Irish roots. Start with a free trial on Ancestry.com and see how far back you can trace your family’s history.
Make rainbow cupcakes. Prepare a box of white cake mix as directed. Place equal amounts of the batter in 6 separate bowls. Add food coloring to each bowl to make yellow, orange, red, green, blue and purple batter. Spoon equal amounts of the colored batter into a prepared muffin tin. Do not mix. Bake as directed. Decorate with green icing and yellow mini chocolate candies to represent the gold at the end of the rainbow.
Incorporate a green vegetable into your dinner plan each night. Try broccoli, Brussels sprouts, peas, spinach, asparagus, cucumbers and green beans. Tell your kids that Leprechauns love everything green and that you made some of their favorite meals. It’s a great way to get them to try new veggies. For really picky eaters, offer a chocolate gold coin chaser as a reward for trying.
Make green flowers. Buy a bouquet of white carnations. Fill a vase with water and several drops of green food coloring. Make a fresh cut in the bottom of the flower stems before placing them in the vase. Watch as the green food coloring slowly makes its way up the stem and into the white flower turning the petals green.
Share your blessings with someone else. Although the December holidays are over, the need for volunteers and charitable gifts are still vital. Use your family’s time and talents to give back to the community.
Pam Molnar is a freelance journalist and mother of three. With Irish roots in their family tree, St. Patrick’s Day is always celebrated in their home.
Fun craft for kids: Learn how to make Swirly Shamrocks here.