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St. Patrick's Day Overload: How Much Is Too Much?

Have your St. Patrick's Day celebrations gone overboard? Follow these tips to help take the stress out of St. Patrick's while still having fun during this festive Irish holiday.
St. Patrick's Day Shamrocks
Updated: December 1, 2022

When you were a kid, St. Patrick's Day likely felt like nothing more than a small blip on the radar — a bit of fun drawing shamrocks and wearing green in between making President Lincoln hats and dying Easter eggs. If you were Irish, maybe you also ate corned beef and cabbage that night. Now, however, the day seems to have morphed into a holiday that requires hours of prepwork to come up with detailed recipes or intricate creative projects. Sound familiar? Here are a few signs that your family's St. Patrick's Day celebrations may have gone a bit overboard, and how to dial back so you can still have fun without so much stress!

Does a leprechaun visit your house and leave your child presents?

You know the routine. After the kids go to bed, a "leprechaun" sneaks in searching for his pot of gold. Maybe his search leaves a mess behind, or he tracks green footprints and glitter around, and your children wake up to a treasure hunt with notes from the leprechaun and a pot of goodies at the end. Sure, it sounds fun, but this Easter-Bunny-meets-Elf-on-the-Shelf routine is a guaranteed sign that you're doing too much. Unless it falls on a weekend, the kids don't even have the day off to fully enjoy an all-out treasure hunt. Plus, you know that the leprechaun will have to make a return visit next year and that you'll have to up the ante on his clever tricks and goodies — when will it end?


Photo Source: The Suburban Soapbox

Try this instead: Save yourself all the stress and prepwork of a leprechaun visit and just make this yummy leprechaun bait instead. It only takes ten minutes to create this festive snack for the family, and just in case a leprechaun does show up, you'll have the bait ready!

Have you spent hours perfecting your recipe for green cupcakes?

With the advent of Pinterest, it now feels like every holiday deserves its own insanely adorable thematic food, and St. Patrick's Day is no exception. Between leprechaun cupcakes, shamrock cookies, rainbow and pot-of-gold candies, and even green pancakes, there's certainly no shortage of treats out there that would be perfect for a St. Paddy's Day party. But if you're spending hours trying to give your leprechaun the perfect icing smile or hunting down just the exact shade of green that you need for his hat, it's OK to give yourself a break. A cute recipe can be fun, but if you're agonizing over it, it's too much.

Try this instead: If you're Irish, find out if you have an old family recipe for Irish soda bread or another traditional dish and make it together with your kids. Then, you'll be learning about your heritage and celebrating the holiday at the same time. No family recipes? You can easily give any cupcake the leprechaun touch by adding a chocolate gold coin on top and some green and white sprinkles — instant holiday treat.

Do you dress the kids (and yourself) in head-to-toe green?


Accessorize with green rather than trying to wear head-to-toe green. Photo Source: Picography/Pexels

Of course, it's a tradition to wear green on St. Paddy's Day. But if you're making sure the whole family is decked out in green hats, green shirts, green pants or skirts, green socks, and green sneakers, your holiday might be going a bit too far. Especially if anyone dresses up as a leprechaun.

Try this instead: Accessorize with green, rather than taking it over the top. Add some gold, another color associated with the holiday, or play with different shades of green beyond the usual leprechaun kelly green. Or if you have one "statement piece" of green, like a sweater or a shirt, avoid any other major pieces of green beyond small accents. Like wearing any color on a regular day, it's all about the balance.

Do you run out of green food coloring?

Green milk, green soda, green cookies, green cake ... do you have a tendency to color just about everything green? If you always seem to be running out of green food coloring in mid-March for some reason, you may just be overdoing your St. Paddy's celebrations.


Photo Source: Workandpix/Pixaby

Try this instead: Rather than giving yet another baked good the green treatment, why not use food coloring for a fun craft project? Your kids can turn carnations green with just a few easy steps. Is it leprechaun magic? No, it's the magic of science! And everyone in the family will have a festive flower to wear on their shirt or in their hair when you're done.

Is your St. Patrick's Day a multi-day event?


If you're still looking for some Irish fun over the weekend, see if there's a local parade going on. Photo Source: tpsdave/Pixaby

This is probably the biggest way to tell if you've gone overboard. If your holiday is dragging into the weekend or spanning multiple days, you're very likely taking on too much. If the actual holiday itself is corned beef and cabbage with the family and the weekend is cupcakes and crafts for the entire neighborhood (at your house), you're probably stressing yourself out.

Try this instead: Pick a fun craft and a holiday-themed dinner or dessert to eat at home with the family on St. Patrick's Day, have fun, and relax. Play some traditional Irish music or watch a kid-friendly movie about Ireland like The Secret of Roan Inish or Book of Kells. If you're still eager for some Irish fun on the weekend, see if there are any local parades or road races you could go watch. That way, you can continue the good times without adding to your stress levels.

The key way to determine whether your holiday festivities are going overboard is that you shouldn't feel worn out afterward. St. Patrick's Day can be fun and memorable without the stress of turning it into a mini-Christmas. The holiday at its heart is a celebration of heritage and family, so the most important thing you can do is to set aside some time to spend with your family.

Featured photo source: jeonsango/Pixaby

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