Millions of people across the globe celebrate St. Patrick’s Day each year, a holiday honoring the patron saint of Ireland, whether they are Irish or not. What originally started as one nation’s religious feast has morphed into a more wild bacchanal to celebrate Irish culture, complete with parades, music, dancing, food and plenty to drink.
In fact, St. Patrick’s Day is more widely celebrated than any other national holiday of its kind. When four-leaf clovers cover shop windows and store displays, and Shamrock Shakes are back at McDonald’s, you know March 17th is right around the corner. But no matter what your heritage is or what your budget for celebrating looks like, you don’t have to spend a “pot o’ gold” to enjoy yourself this St. Patrick’s Day.
Recycling last year’s St. Patrick’s Day décor might just save you more green than you realize. The National Retail Federation reports that Americans are expected to spend $5.3 billion St. Patrick’s Day this year, shattering last year’s record of $4.7 billion. Perhaps you’re wondering if you can afford to celebrate this year, or if you need the financial boost from credit cards or payday loans to help you bridge the gap between paychecks.
Whether you’re organizing a green get-together for your office or on your own, chances are you and your guests have some green-colored goodies from St. Paddy’s days past that could come in handy and make your party really pop. Don’t rule out using accessories from other holidays, either. You may already have the perfect green tablecloth in your linen closet, and no one has to know you served Christmas dinner on it. Lastly, after the day has come and gone, check Walmart, Target and Kmart for deep discounts on St. Paddy’s Day supplies. You might find something incredible bargains that will be perfect for next year’s party.
To ward off those Leprechaun pinches, take inventory of what clothes you have to work with before spending any money on something brand new. A green t-shirt will do the trick, and if you have a shamrock pin or any other visible accessory left over from last year, why not get your money’s worth and make it part of your St. Paddy’s Day ensemble? Wearing green isn’t something you only do once a year, so always check your closet before spending any money.
Cities all over the United States and abroad celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a wide variety of festivals and parades. There’s nothing quite like a St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Chicago. Floats and Celtic performers fill the streets of the windy city as packed pubs and cheerful revelers go wild. Even the Chicago River can’t help but get into the St. Paddy’s Day spirit, as the yearly river dyeing ceremony transform it from murky brown to festive green. Why not find out what kind of free entertainment is taking place in your area? Check out your local events calendar for free or low-cost events to take advantage of near you.
While non-Irish celebrants the world over may emphasize different aspects of Irish culture in their varied festivities, the thing that resonates the most has no direct translation in English. “Craic” (pronounced “crack”) is actually an acronym for “Music, Dance, Songs, Storytelling, Gossip” in Gaelic. This clever term captures the best aspects of any celebration – it’s like a formula for fun. So why not make this formula the outline for your party planning? You don’t need to go to McNally’s to have a proper Irish good time.
Gossip may be a touchy subject in an office setting (that aspect might be best left for friend and family), but everyone likes a good story, and nothing brings people together quite like good food. The best part of making traditional Irish food is that it’s reasonably priced. You can make inexpensive dishes like mashed potatoes, banger sausages, corned beef and cabbage, and invite your guests to make it an Irish Potluck. It gets everyone involved and invested, and save you money, too. Play some Irish music to set the tone – create a playlist on YouTube or a channel on Pandora that will get the whole party dancing and singing in no time.
St. Patrick’s Day may have developed a more commercial nature in the United States, but that doesn’t mean you need to buy into all that. Even if you aren’t celebrating the religious feast day, there are plenty of ways to enjoy yourself this St. Patrick’s Day and observe Irish culture without breaking the bank. You can save money on staying in or reviewing options above, and with some planning and a wee bit of the luck, it’s bound to be “craic” with good friends. Slàinte!