St. Paddy's Day Celebration on a Budget

Saint Patrick’s Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick, is on March 17, every year. It is a worldwide celebration of Irish culture. In today’s tradition, it is also the holiday that has become the ‘all about green day’. That being said, what better time to save some real green while celebrating? Here's how you can celebrate St. Paddy's Day on a budget!

Start your day with a cup of Irish coffee. Leave the whiskey out if you'd like and simply substitute with your favorite flavoring. Here’s the recipe:

  • 8 oz strong black coffee
  • 1 TBSP Brown Sugar
  • 1 TBSP Granulated Sugar
  • 2 oz. Irish Whiskey (or flavoring)
  • 1 oz. Heavy Cream
  • Whipped Cream, for topping
  • Cinnamon

Fill two mugs with the black coffee. Next, add the sugars and stir well until the sugar is dissolved. Pour in the whiskey and heavy cream and stir again. Top with the whipped cream and cinnamon for garnish.

Next, burn a CD of Irish music for all day festivity. Or simply play it straight from YouTube if you don’t have the time or the CD’s to burn.

Before you go out and spend your hard-earned cash on green attire, scan through your closet. Pull together an anti-pinching outfit without spending any gold at all if you can. If you absolutely must have something new, check out the Dollar Tree for a multitude of St. Paddy’s accessories that will barely skim the surface of your bank account.

Next, cut a bell pepper in half and check out the shape. It’s a clover! These can be extremely versatile, from a perfect dip container to a stamp for making T-shirts to fit the occasion. Or simply slice them up for a fitting garnish or appetizer.

To include your children in the clover frenzy, head outside and search for real-life four-leafed clovers. If none are available after a thorough search, collect the three leaf version to use in a beautiful centerpiece during an Irish dinner.

Now that dinner has been mentioned, indulge your taste buds with one of the most loved Irish dishes called Colcannon. While pubs offer this as well as other amazing Irish cuisine, it can get very pricey. Opt to stay home and make your own meal. An entire family can eat for a fraction of restaurant prices and you might wind up with the luck of the Irish by having leftovers for another day. Colcannon is a mashed potato dish mixed with cooked, thinly sliced cabbage and/or kale with chopped green onions and butter. Pair it with corned beef or a pork roast and cornbread for an affordable, authentic Irish meal.

Now that it's time for dessert, fold rainbow airheads over a bowl of ice cream topped with golden sprinkles for the kiddos. They’ll love this sweet pot of gold at the end of an edible rainbow! For the adults, how about another cup of that Irish coffee with the real Irish whiskey added this time around. Or color just about anything green using a natural food coloring. Do try to avoid the fake colorings when you can. There’s nothing lucky about adding or consuming the artificial kind when you have a healthier choice.

If you’re not a homebody and are in a pinch to get out, check your area for one of many St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. You just might be lucky enough to be in a town full of free festivals and parades. Check local ice cream shops and restaurants for a Shamrock milkshake to sip on while you enjoy the festivities. This will pack in a big day on a small budget.

At the end of the day, unwind by telling Irish ghost stories by candlelight. If there are some in your family that are a bit skittish at the mention of ghosts, tell the story of Saint Patrick himself. Often, we celebrate out of tradition or just because. Saint Patrick is real and it is definitely worth learning about him, what he stood for and why we celebrate this special day!

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