[Editorial Note: I'm posting this on behalf of Celebrate Green! Info at bottom]
March can be a drab month–waiting for winter to end and the first signs of spring to emerge. That’s why, whether you’re Irish or not, celebrating St. Patrick’s Day is a cool idea–especially if you make it eco! Here are some simple, fun, affordable ideas for you and the family that will make those not included green with envy!
- Gather your friends and neighbors for your own St. Patrick’s Day walking parade. Whether it’s around a cul de sac or down a street or two, you’re sure to have a great time if you dress in green and wish everyone the luck ‘o the Irish as you pass by! Encourage participants to make hats out of whatever they have around the house or before the parade, ask guests to bring an old white/beige t-shirt and meet at your house. Cut shamrock shapes into potatoes and stamp on the shirts with eco-friendly fabric paints.
- Decorate at least one room in the house with the spirit ‘o the green. Gather everything green you have lying around from books to clothing to flower pots etc., even green sheets. Set the timer for ten minutes and let the kids decorate the room. Then have a party there! Put on some Irish music, learn a jig and celebrate.
- Skip the corned beef. It’s not really Irish anyway! (According to the History Chanel, no one in Ireland ate this except for a few royals. But when the Irish immigrated to New York’s lower East side, they were looking for a cheaper alternative to bacon and probably learned about corned beef from their Jewish neighbors.) Since one of the most Earth-friendly habits you can get into is eating less (or no) beef, focus on the veggies. Cabbage is great if people like it, but if they don’t, potatoes are usually a favorite. How about setting up a potato bar and color the taters green with pureed veggies like kale, spinach, arugula, or pea pods. Add spice with green salsa or more interesting taste with sage.
- End a party or St. Pat’s family dinner with homemade organic oatmeal cookies and pistachio, lime or mint ice cream/sherbert/sorbet.
- For evening entertainment, borrow or rent A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. The story centers on an Irish immigrant family in Brooklyn in the 1900’s and their young daughter’s struggle to stay positive in the midst of poverty. Better yet, choose to start reading the book of the same name on St. Patrick’s Day.
- If you want to enjoy the occasion with a touch of beer, always a St. Paddy’s Day favorite, check out the many organic alternatives.
- A few quick, easy, no waste games for your gathering:
- See how many words two teams can make from the longest place name in Ireland: Muckanaghederdauhaulia
- Have everyone try to guess the meaning of Irish words like: handfasting, sean-nos, or a jaunting car. Answers and more words are here.
- Here’s an Irish children’s game: One child is Mr. Fox and the other children line the wall. Mr. Fox stands about 10 feet away with his back turned. The children in the line say, “What time is it Mr. Fox?” He replies, “one o’clock.” Then the children walk slowly toward the fox, repeating the question and answer until the Fox says, “Dinner time.” The fox chases everyone back to the wall. It anyone is tagged, he/she is now the Fox.
Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson are mother and daughter and co-authors of Celebrate Green! Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations and Traditions for the Whole Family, available at www.CelebrateGreen.net