St. Patrick’s Day Family Traditions

What’s the next holiday coming up??” is the question I’m asked, without fail, the day after EVERY holiday.  My kids super-love holidays.  And, you’ve probably figured out by now, that I love traditions…SO, why not delve right into the next holiday, St. Patrick’s Day?

Do y’all know who St. Patrick is?  A while back, I did a blog post on him (on my blog), and here’s what I learned…

So, this guy Patricus (otherwise known as Patrick) was born in Scotland (387 AD) to a family who was totally loaded. When he was 16, he was kidnapped by these Irish jerks that raided his family’s estate. He was brought to Ireland where he was a slave performing sheep herding duties for his master. During his 6 years of enslavement, he prayed a lot and formed a relationship with God. One day, after 6 years of being in captivity…an angel came to him and told him to escape. He ran nearly 200 miles, found a ship, hopped on and went back to Scotland. When he got back, he decided he wanted to devote his life to God and Christianity. So, he totally studied up and was a student to some of the most notable Christians (at the time). He decided he wanted to go share the love with the Irish that were so cruel to him. He sailed back and the first thing he does (being an honest man) is go to his slave master and pay the ransom that would have been due had someone rescued him. He then was a missionary of Christianity for the next 60 years. He founded 365 churches! Basically, he is known because he made a serious name for Christianity in Ireland.

How’s that for a quick history lesson?  Don’t ask me why Americans celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, I’m not quite sure of the exact reason.  I’ve read a few different ones.  But, he sounded like a great guy, with some real integrity, who managed to influence many people for good.  That’s reason enough for me to celebrate!  So, let’s get started…

I know y’all have heard of the leprechaun trap tradition, the messing-up-your-house-and-blame-it-on-a-leprechaun tradition, and the green food tradition…so, I thought of a few that may be new ideas for you:

St. Patrick's Day Family Traditions to Celebrate

1.  This one is something you would do every day of March, leading up to St. Patrick’s Day.  So, for 17 days.  Each day, hide a shamrock (paper cut-out, or small decoration) somewhere in your house, with something fun attached.  Every morning, the kids can race to try and find the hidden shamrock.  Sometimes make it easy, sometimes make it so hard that they are looking all day!  If there is a child feeling left out, for not finding one, hide the next one in a spot that you think they are more likely to look.

What can you attach to your shamrock?  How about a silver dollar?  That would be cool!  Or, any coins that you feel comfortable with giving away for 17 days. :)  You could attach candy, maybe those chocolate coins.  You could do dollar store junk, wrapped in green wrapping paper.  Fruit snacks, coupons, or anything that would make your kids smile.  You could even do something different, every day.  I’m just making this up, so there are no rules.  If you want to play up the leprechaun thing, you could have the “leprechaun” hiding the shamrock throughout the house, each day.  My kids love when we do our Valentine’s Day treasure hunt, that I mentioned last month.  So, I know they would be totally down for more hunting…especially if it was every day, for 17 days!

 2.  You know that jar of pennies that you’ve had stashed away, because you don’t have time to put them in rolls and exchange them at the bank?  Well, St. Patrick’s Day is the perfect time to put them to good use.  The day before St. Patrick’s Day, hide a bunch of them all around the yard (or the house, if it’s too cold.)  Tell the kids that a leprechaun must have lost their coins (with your fingers crossed.)  If they find at least 100 of those coins, and leave them out for the leprechaun, he will probably leave them something in return on St. Patrick’s Day, the following morning.  I can’t imagine that I have to explain this, but that essentially means you need to have some sort of prize on hand to leave outside for the kids, the next morning, in exchange for the pennies.  How about the bags of chocolate coins and a new movie?  If you want a St. Patrick’s Day-ish movie, maybe Darby O’Gill and the Little People, The Gnome Mobile, or Gulliver’s Travels.

St. Patrick's Day Movies to Watch

3.  This idea is one I shared on my blog, it includes the messy-house thing…but, it’s carried out differently.  We’ll call it the Leprechaun Hunt.  Find somewhere with lovely green grass, wake the kids up early and go have a breakfast picnic, while quietly watching for any signs of leprechauns.  If the grass isn’t so green, yet, just take them for a walk through the neighborhood, to see if any leprechauns are out and about. When you have them loaded and buckled in the car (or strollers), say you forgot something in the house, and run back in and sprinkle chocolate coins throughout the house, tip over a few chairs, put green food coloring in the toilet, and leave other signs of a little green intruder.  With the mess, leave a snarky note, maybe…

“Traps, tricks, and tip toes, you never learn. 

A leprechaun can outwit you at every turn.  

You’ll never find me, or the gold I hide, 
The luck of the Irish is on me side.”
By:  Me.

When the kids come home from a disappointing/refreshing/yummy outing, they’ll be surprised to see they were duped by a leprechaun, once again.  But, kids will forgive anyone that leave chocolate coins laying around. Yes, I’m big on the chocolate coins…but, those things are perfect for this holiday!

~ If you’re looking for some St. Patrick’s Day treats and meal ideas, check these out: Chinese Cabbage Salad (it’s green and has cabbage…that works, right?),  Mint Oreo Truffles, Rainbow Cupcakes, Shamrock Pretzels, Broccoli Cheese Soup (it’s got green stuff in it, and um…)  Oh, and you can also follow my St. Patrick’s Day board on Pinterest, to check out the fun ideas I find online.

I would love to hear about your family traditions for St. Patrick’s Day!


  1. I have to admit I’m not the best at celebrating holidays. I want to make them fun for my kids, but inevitably, I end of feeling so much pressure to do something amazing that I do the opposite instead–not much of anything. Thanks for some great ideas.

  2. My mother always hid a “pot of gold” somewhere in the house. It was nothing fancy, but a simple green plastic hat filled with gold wrapped candies. As children and even adults we love running around the house trying to find the treasure.

  3. I think St. Patty’s is celebrated in the US thanks to all the Irish immigrants. They brought their traditions with them.

  4. And right after St. Patrick’s Day comes Texas Independance Day, March 26. I am more Texan than Irish, so I emphasize that more.

  5. Fun ideas! We create traps every year and the leprechaun usually leaves them a note with treats. He’s a tricky bugger- even leaves little green foot prints though out the house! Maybe this year we’ll get him! I like the idea of a fun movie!


  6. brings back such good memories as a child to think back to st. patrick’s day. probably up until i was 7 or 8, a few days leading up to st. patty’s day, i’d leave green food as an offering to our leprechaun who came to visit us for this short time every year. his name was ‘wee lad gnome.’ not sure why he was called gnome when he was a leprechaun, but anyway, he’d leave me a note and i’d write back to him. then on st. patty’s day he’d leave me a gold gift (i remember one year i got some earrings that were zippers and another year a necklace; they weren’t real gold!). i will probably start a tradition of sorts with my 2 year old this year. we hosted a playdate for our friends last year, perhaps we’ll repeat ;)

  7. What fun ideas! My daughter would love to look for things. For some reason, I never thought of Darby O’Gill as a St. Patty’s movie, but it totally is! Loved the movie, except that banshee(sp?) still rattles me on the inside- even though it’s been 15 years. :) Thanks for heading me in the right direction.

  8. Our tradition is a little different. One year on the night before “Clover day,” as we call it, I was so tired of our messy house. So, our leprechaun stayed up very late that night and cleaned the whole house. The next morning he left a note telling the boys that their house was such a mess he could not do any more damage. So he cleaned up for them. Then the boys had to go looking for all the clover pictures that showed where the leprechaun had cleaned. With each of the places they find the leprechaun leaves them a green colored treat or an activity for them to do that day. Plus since the house was clean the leprechaun was able to have a little fun. Our leprechaun gets out all the green colored toys we have and sets them up in funny ways so the boys see where the leprechaun had played, they laugh to themselves every year. So, instead of the naughty leprechaun we have the tidy leprechaun. Last year our leprechaun did not find the house so messy and he told the boys he was pleased with them. The boys were happy and patted themselves on the back.

  9. I had to laugh – ‘Darby O’Gill and the Little People’ was the first movie I remember seeing in a theatre. Sean Connery was not yet James Bond, but would be in a year or two. The Bond movies we were not allowed to see – they were much too racy. the first one I saw was ‘Live and Let Die’. Yes, I am that old.

  10. We love this holiday!!! We are not Irish, but still love that messy Leprechaun- we have a scavenger hunt for fun chocolate gold coins at the end….we have Green milk shakes smoothies for breakfast with green pancakes!! The first time my 2 1/2 year old was helping make pancakes and we were looking outside for any activity while stirring adn I dropped a few drops of food coloring in the mix….she looked down and said oh mama the boy went pee in our pancakes!! Such a great memory!!

    Of course he totally destroys areas of our house, last year the bathrooms and craft drawers were the targets…TP everywhere and foam shamrocks everywhere!!!
    Love your ideas!!

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