Wednesday, March 17, 2010

no go for the gold

We're not really Irish at chez Green Girl. Consequently, we don't celebrate St. Patrick's Day as part of our heritage. Growing up, the holiday was an excuse for people to go to the bars and act really obnoxious whilst drinking green-dyed tap beer. I've been to Ireland and trust me, Irish people don't walk around wearing all green and drinking green-dyed Bud Light. But somewhere down the line, Family Fun Magazine or Parent Magazine or some other commercial entity decided that St. Patrick's Day should be another opportunity for kids to get candy. "Build a leprechaun trap and you'll get a pile of chocolate coins!" "Leave shiny stuff out and you'll get a pile of chocolate coins!" "Wake up St. Patrick's Day and you'll get a pile of gold coins!"


And the peer pressure to recreate St. Patrick's Day as another major holiday has grown. My friends in the suburbs describe the neighborhood pressure to help their kids devise leprechaun traps and the lavish gifts left in them the morning of St. Patrick's Day. My sons went to a day care where the teachers enthusiastically booby-trapped the room and and thus discovered chocolate coins in every nook and cranny. Now the public schools, both classrooms and playgrounds, abound with insane pressure to Make Much of this holiday. Build traps. Booby-trap house. Leave notes. Leave tiny green hats/socks/shoes in strategic places. Hide candy. Hide coins. Hide toys.

I've ignored this holiday, hopeful that the brain child of Family Fun Magazine (or wherever these ideas generated) would die out.

I admit I underestimated the power of peer pressure.

Last night Mr. B and Mr. G built traps. With no help from me they baited them with money and karate trophies (shiny! gold! the leprechauns will try to steal them! then we'll catch them and steal all their gold! we'll keep the leprechaun as a pet!). They went to bed dreaming of the chocolate coins they'd certainly discover the next morning--as well as the candy at school where their teachers promised the leprechauns would also visit.

At chez Green Girl we "do" Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. We don't "do" St. Patrick's Day.

So how did you handle it, Green Girl?

Well you might ask. I tore holes in their traps and stole the cash and trophies. I left a trail of glitter behind.

What? No candy? No treats?

Nope. Leprechauns are troublemakers. I don't want them in the house. The cat might eat them and get sick. They leave a mess. Besides, if I cave now, I'm stuck messing around with stupid traps and candy for the rest of their childhood. I'd really rather not get involved.

My kids woke up and found the mess and were upset not to find candy. Mr. B actually had tears welling in his eyes, he felt so disappointed. Then they got even more upset to find the leprechauns had stole their bait.

And now?

They're busy devising bigger, better, stronger traps for next time. They noticed the torn traps and figured out that they leprechauns had visited but escaped. They've deduced why they have no chocolate and that's why their stuff disappeared.

Green Girl-1 St. Patrick's Day-0


  1. THat is the best thing I've read today.

    And I've done some reading.

    I am 100% with you. Leprechauns are nasty, greedy creatures. And I'm pretty sure if the cat got a mouthful it would make her sick.


    You rock.


  2. I'm not sure you won this battle yet. I'm envisioning what your house may look like next year - it could be worse. Boys do learn young that we must build BIGGER, BETTER next time to accomplish their goals. I remember you said bc that you would never let your kids read disney fairytale stories so I was relieved when you had boys. I'm impressed that you do the santa, easter bunny thing. I completely agree w/you on St. Patrick's day. I have never paid attention to it, completely forget about it (probably because I have more important matters in the middle of March), and I'm not about to buy into ANOTHER hallmark holiday. If we were irish it would be different, but we are not. J is getting enough of it at school and all excited about it, but we didn't have to build traps, thank god!

  3. I agree with DJ....not sure who won that battle ;) I usually make stew and irish soda bread, but forgot to take out the roast and we aren't doing bread soooo we've got nada going on here! My mom would pack our lunches with green bread (dyed, not moldy!) and that was all we did. The hub's great grandparents came over from Scotland so they never made a deal about the green day (in fact, I think that they wear red over there instead?). Use the day as a history lesson not a candy fest! Good for you for standing up against the mom/school pressure!

  4. WTH are leprechaun traps? I've never heard of them before.

    Luckily, St. Pat's isn't a big deal here in my town. It's important to wear green so that you don't get pinched, but that's it.

  5. St. Patty's Day is not important in my world either

  6. ~ whoa! ~ trapping 'leprechauns'..??

    As a person of Irish descent, let me just say that is a disturbing idea. Leprechauns are not nasty or greedy, Pearl, it's just that they have a pot of GOLD and you don't! *heehee!*

    And why the school-sanctioned focus on leprechaun-trapping and money and candy..??

    As you might be able to imagine...with a history of being poor poor poor DIRT poor, mostly, it would be an attractive idea for a potato-famine lad or lassie to be able to trick a little man into giving up his pot of gold, right?!

    * : )

    Try to focus on the virtues of the Celts next year! *haha!* People of strength who persevered through time...they sent their women into battle...they had tattoos!...they stood up to the Romans...they were made slaves here in the US just like the blacks!

    We Irish are a hearty bunch. It brings me down a little to hear that "school" is teaching kids this association with money/getting stuff/trickery and trapping and the Irish...

  7. Right on, Greenie. Right. On.

    St. Patrick's Day was always just a fun day to wear my Irish heritage with pride and a cheeky grin until a few years ago. The (eejit) local college students decided they needed to celebrate an "unofficial" St. Paddy's Day because Spring Break was (wisely) scheduled to coincide with the holiday. It has become a HUGE, dawn-to-dawn drunken fiasco. Ridiculous.

    And now it's becoming a gifty holiday? I'm getting bloody cheesed off...I better go eat some colcannon and sip a whiskey to calm meself down.

  8. Now, if all this excitement revolved around the kids actually learning how to spell "leprechaun," "shenanigans," "brouhaha" and the like, I could almost see the point. I'm so glad we are beyond this at our house - I think I'd be tempted to break a "shillelagh" over the teacher's head...

  9. Way to stand your ground Green Girl. I caved for the first time this year.

  10. We don't do St. Nick's Day at my house. With birthdays on Dec. 10 and 11, there's no need. We're not Catholic, either.
    St. Pats? I never celebrated either. But I don't mind a little green frosting on my cupcakes now and then! (Even though the one from the teachers' lounge left green dye on my hands all day)

  11. I totally forgot it was St. Patricks day til I dropped my 2nd grader off today and noticed that "Gee..why are there so many kids wearing green today??" Ohhhhh...yeah.

    So, we don't "do" St. Patricks day either. ;)

  12. wow - I feel fortunate that the schools don't make it too big a deal here (in Boston, no less).
    It was all I could do to find green shirts for them to wear this morning.

    Yeah, enough is enough...not every single 'holiday' needs to be overdone.

    Hope the leprechauns stay out of your house ;)

  13. St. Patrick's Day was originally a religious holiday but as Christmas it has become so overly commericalized that most have forgotten. As for us; we didn't even wear green and when asked remind all we are Irish every day ~ we let you have this day so you can enjoy the luck of being Irish one day of the year.

  14. I'm with you girl.

    And stocking stuffers? Are NOT full-fledged presents!

  15. just out of curiosity...when do they get their trophies back..? Sure, it was a clever idea for you to trick them (your kids)...and (I guess?) teach them that it's dumb to put their valuables in a trap for bait...but why even play along..?

    I would be down with annie's idea to turn the holiday into a spelling-lesson opportunity, if not a cultural diversity lesson.

    And in any case, I'm for being up-front about where the money and TROPHIES (jeez! really?) went...or if you insist on keeping the 'leprechaun' myth intact, why not let the kids "find" their sh!t in the bushes or can always say it must have been too much for the wee nasty fellow to carry, that greedy mick. They will be way more careful in the future, I'm sure
    * ; )

  16. Okay. FUN-E! Really cute post. It must of been kind of exhilarating to tear holes in the traps, not too mention the opportunity to impart a real world lesson about the true nature of leprechauns.

    That said, I caved. I set out the treats in the traps and nurtured the whole, "do this and you'll get that" consumer mentality. And my oldest is only 4. I'm doomed.

  17. Hehehe. Love it!

    Little Guy came home from his job with shamrocks drawn on his arm because he didn't wear green. I mean what person at his JOB would do that? So silly.

  18. Green Girl~I think it's time to post an eviction notice on one of those traps with a returned written reply(boys need concrete proof) from Mr.Leprechaun complying to the move to greener pastures.
    I guess there are some things to be grateful for...the fact they haven't heard about pinching poor victims who aren't wearing green, lol.

    "We must protect our cats diet!"

    Sweet wishes,

  19. How interesting. St. Patrick's Day pretty much slides by unnoticed here, other than the wearing of green and excuse to legitimately pinch anyone who is not wearing green.

    I feel for your boys, but I'm sure you did the right thing. SPD does NOT need to be candy holiday.

  20. BWAHAHAHAA! You are a genius!

    And, no-one seemed to be wearing green around here... not even on the O'Connor side of the family. St. Patrick's day must not be very Irish.

  21. Best. Post. Ever.

    Green Girl, you're my hero. So clever you are. I could only wish to devise such a scheme. We don't "do" St. Pat's either, and I've never heard of a Leprechaun trap and in fact, such a device of torture sounds perfectly horrid, and against the Geneva Convention at any rate.

    Consider yourself the Patron Saint of Leprechauns.

  22. Way to show them! (Not exactly sure that you did, though.)

    I thought the only way to really celebrate St. Patty's Day was by wearing green underwear and drinking green beer. As that's not exactly a family-friendly holiday, there's not much room to play with this. So, no go here, either.

    Too much is made of too many stupid holidays. I'm full out on Christmas alone. That's it. Yep, I'm *this* close to being a complete scrooge. ;)

  23. omg-LOVE it!!!
    I didn't realize that St. Pattys was a big day for kids. When my son was little (a decade ago), he never built a trap or got candy. That's ridiculous.

    St. Patrick's Day is a reason for the Irish to drink themselves silly in the name of patriotism without being looked down upon. It has nothing to do with children. NOTHING.

  24. i'm not Irish and was always annoyed by the drunken antics that accompany this holiday. i've heard of schools having kids make leprechaun traps, but thankfully my 4 year old did not have this happen in his classroom this year. i'm going to remember your story if we ever do have to build traps!

  25. I wish I hadn’t been so swamped last week so I could have lent you this advice! We are a wee bit Irish. I used to bake shamrock cookies (my daughters names are not – but could be- Katie Kilpatrick and Molly Malone!). And yes, leprechauns are naughty AND magic. They used to create havoc in the night. Furniture rearranged, books off shelves, shoes hidden in the oven! As for magic, put a TINY drop of green food coloring in the bottom of their morning juice/milk glass. When you pour the milk/juice? It turns green before their eyes! Fun and silly without going over the top!


Spill it, reader.