Monday, March 25, 2013

Breaking Down the Holiday Build Up

Last week I saw this article in the Huffington Post.  I did not take offense to it, because I agree with her.  However, I am also guilty of making St.  Patrick's Day more than it should be.  In my defense, I didn't mean for it to get that way.  I started out just wanting to make it a little bit of fun with -"oh look leprechauns came last night!"  My girls, however, took it up another notch.

When we were kids, St. Patrick's Day was nothing more than a day we wore something green and had corned beef and cabbage (not my favorite at that time) for dinner.  That  was it.  About 2 years ago, the day before St. Patrick's Day, my first grade teacher mom was talking about how the leprechauns were going to mess up her classroom that night.  When I asked her what she was talking about, she told me how every year she would turn over chairs in her class and turn the  toilet water green with food coloring.  She would just generally make a mess to make it appear leprechauns had been there to wreak havoc in her classroom.

"Don't you do anything at home for the girls?"  She asked.

Uh-no.  Didn't we just get done with doing things for them at Christmas?  Then I talked to my sister Beth, who apparently did similar things in her house for her kids to find the next morning.  They loved it.  Okay, fine.  It sounded like fun and pretty easy, so why not?

That year I went about the house turning pictures and booster seats upside down.  I turned our milk green, and gave the toilet tanks a few drops of food coloring.  Nothing big.  The next morning you would have thought it was Christmas all over again.  The girls went nuts.

"Look at our booster seats!!"

"That picture is upside down!!"


Then I poured their cereal for breakfast and when I went to pour the milk, feigned surprise at the minty green color that spilled out.  They just about came undone.  It was all they talked about for a week.  The next year, when they realized St. Patrick's Day was coming up, they talked about the leprechauns and what they did the year before and wondered what they would do that year.  I kept it pretty much the same.  They were just as thrilled.  Then January of this year rolled around.  Coming down off the Christmas high, the girls were looking ahead to what holidays were approaching to get excited for.  Valentines Day-which I agree with the woman in the article has become second Halloween, was right around the corner.  There were also birthdays and Easter, but WAIT A MINUTE!!  ST. PATRICK'S DAY WAS COMING!!!  I kid you not, they talked about St. Patrick's Day and the leprechauns very similarly to Christmas and Santa.  I started to feel the pressure.

What was I going to do?  How was I going to make this better than last year?

I started to go down that road.  Then I stopped.  It was fucking St. Patrick's Day.  A day set aside in the Catholic church to honor a Saint, that then turned into a crazy drinking holiday because he was Irish.  I (along with others) was now turning it into a major kid holiday.  For what?  The few things I had done in the past two years had been enough and the girls had loved it.  Why do more?  So I didn't.

I did just what I had before.  Upside down pictures, green toilets, green milk, the end.  It was easy, the girls loved it just as much and they talked about it for days.

Funny side note-Georgia comes into our room just about every night and gets into bed with us around 2am.  I usually put her back in her bed at 2:05.  She is so damn fidgety.  The night before St.  Patrick's Day, she said to me,

"I can't come into your bed tonight."  She looked very distraught about this.

"Why?" I asked.  I had no idea what would stop her.

"Because of the leprechauns.  I'm afraid to see them."

So yes, along with creating an extra holiday I have created more fictional beings that my kids will find out aren't real in a couple years.  Except these ones they are afraid of.  Hmmm...Maybe I need to use these leprechauns to my advantage while I still can.

Anyway, I realized this year that  we create our own craziness by one upping ourselves with too many gifts at Christmas, and giving away to much at Valentine's Day or Halloween.  So while, yes, I did turn St. Patrick's Day into more than it was when I was a kid, I only tried to turn into a fun memory for the girls.   I never wanted an all out, go overboard and spend a shit ton of money kind of day.  Plus perhaps I've created an ally for myself with the leprechaun.  You know a little-"you better do what I say or the leprechauns might come"- might be useful for a couple years.  With the little girls at least.

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