If there is one holiday that seems to be solely about imbibing, it’s St. Patrick’s Day. From green beer to pub crawls, St. Paddy’s Day is rife with libations. That’s all well and good when you’re in college and your late 20s, but for parents of young kids, recovering addicts, and people who are not yet 21, it’s difficult to find a way to celebrate the luck of the Irish without drinking. Our celebration suggestions will help you do just that.
- Attend a Parade
Hundreds of communities across the United States host St. Patrick’s Day parades. While some may involve revelers who stand and drink on the sidewalk, others are designed to be family-friendly. Across the United States, cities host parades with floats, bands, Irish-themed music, bagpipers, and more. Find a parade near you and look online to see whether any offer festivals or activities for families after the parade. For example, in San Francisco, The Festival at City Hall provides information about Irish history and culture and features live performances, entertainment, arts and crafts vendors, children’s rides and inflatables, and non-profit booths representing the Irish community.
- Attend a Sober St. Patrick’s Day Event
If you have young children, are not yet 21, or are a recovering addict looking for a strictly alcohol-free way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, plan to attend a Sober St. Patrick’s Day event in Richmond, Virginia, New York City, or Philadelphia. Hours of Irish entertainment are planned for these events, which offer a healthy, safe experience for families and addicts in recovery. Enjoy music, singers, pipe bands, dancers, vendors, guest speakers, snacks, and alcohol-free beverages. These events make it a point to help attendees enjoy traditional Irish music and Irish groups celebrating the culture and traditions of Ireland rather than the Americanized green beer and Irish coffee version of the holiday.
If you do travel to attend a Sober St. Patrick’s Day Event, plan to do so with a group of friends or family members so you all can enjoy the holiday together. Because these events are well-attended, get into the spirit by making shirts to help you identify one another in the crowd and to show off your full love of the holiday.
- Plan an Irish Dinner Party
What better day to enjoy Irish fare than St. Paddy’s Day. If you host a party, you can ensure the event is family friendly and alcohol-free. Try a classic Irish stew, corned beef and cabbage, shepherd’s pie, or Irish soda bread. To help everyone get into the spirit, ask each guest to bring an Irish dish; this will help you save some time in the kitchen, too.
- Fun St. Patrick’s Day Food for Kids
If you have kids who won’t be as excited about the traditional Irish food as the adults, you can still get them into the holiday spirit with some fun St. Patrick’s Day food. One of the easiest things to do for kids is to dye their food green. Make green scrambled eggs or pancakes for breakfast. Try dyeing their milk green. For a snack, try making green candied popcorn. You also can make shamrock sugar cookies or decorate a cake using rainbow icing. Get creative and enjoy spending time cooking and baking in the kitchen with your kids.
- Play St. Patrick’s Day Games
If you want to stay home and have a low-key St. Patrick’s Day, line up some activities that the whole family can enjoy. St. Paddy’s Day games that kids of nearly any age can play include Hot Potato, Potato Hunt (hide small potatoes instead of Easter eggs), or a pot of gold treasure hunt (spray paint stones with gold paint or have kids search for chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil). You also can fill a container with green candy and have the kids guess how many are inside.
There are several ways you can enjoy St. Patrick’s Day without alcohol. From family-friendly parades and festivals to fun activities and meals at home, you can enjoy the holiday and celebrate the luck of the Irish and never miss the green beer and whiskey. If you do choose to drink for St. Paddy’s Day, do so responsibly and keep in mind the dangers of binge drinking.
Article by Sarah Lockwood ThePreventionCoalition.org
Image: Green Chicago (Above is via Pixabay by sam99929)