As you can probably tell by now, I am the type of parent who does not like to go all out for things unless it’s required under the threat of social ostracization (for myself or my child). For example, my four-year-old is pretty aware of how birthday parties should go, so if I decided to phone it in one year, he wouldn’t let me hear the end of it. Likewise for Christmas.
And as several of you parents at my son’s preschool know, Valentine’s Day is apparently a competitive sport that must be met with perfectly partitioned goodie bags instead of the cheesy and sweet cards of the past.
I got swept into this reality a year ago when I was schooled on how inefficient my Finding Nemo paper valentines were because literally, every other kid went big and elaborate that year. This year, I did not disappoint. But I am seeing the alarming trend whereby holidays are becoming more and more extravagant and the bar seems to be raised to unattainable heights.
Case in point: St. Patrick’s Day.
So, I am not Irish, nor do I particularly like beer. So St. Patrick’s Day was never a big deal for me throughout my life. I mean, I probably wore green on more days than not, but that’s about the extent of my exuberance for this often forgettable holiday.
I expected my kids to follow the same path as we are not really that connected to this cultural experience.
Unfortunately, modern parenting has complicated my life and now St. Patrick’s Day is kind of a big deal.
Once again, we can blame Pinterest for this.
So, here are some ridiculous things that parents I know (who are, for all intents and purposes, highly rational and normal people) do to celebrate:
- For starters, the holiday has now leaked into the surrounding days, and parents often engage in craft projects for their children with lovely shamrock themes.
- Foods often contain green hues, and special desserts are prepared that reflect rainbows or leprechauns.
- And the especially festive parent will prepare freaking goodie bags to take to school. I mean, Pinterest has to be in cahoots with tiny goodie bag manufacturers because these things pop up EVERYWHERE.
Then we arrive at the special day.
Overzealous parents will prepare green pancakes and will encourage their children to wear special green outfits to avoid the dreaded pinch.
But perhaps the most elaborate display comes from those who keep the illusion of a visiting leprechaun alive by leaving “tracks” in gold glitter around the house. There are even kits for this. I’m not entirely sure why there’s a tiny magical creature sneaking around these people’s homes under the cover of darkness, but I do know that some parents keep the magic alive by doing this. And of course, all day, parents will play Irish music or will have Irish movies (I’m assuming there are at least a few) for their kids to really make it an all-day affair.
If you are one of these parents, you officially have too much time on your hands. I mean, congratulations for elevating a holiday that was about as exciting as Flag Day to something completely magical and special for your children.
But you are putting the rest of us to shame.
We lazy parents wanted, no, NEEDED that break between the high pressure of Valentine’s Day and Easter. And don’t even get me started on Easter, with its special baskets, secretive egg hiding, and gifts that are apparently now a thing for that holiday too… I mean, I was quite content just sitting around for a month or two without any added pressure to make this day anything more than a day to find the one green shirt my kid has (side note: anyone else find that their wardrobes contain a surprising lack of green hues right around mid-March?).
But now that my observant little fellow sees the fanfare that is often present in the families of his peers, I feel the pressure to step it up.
But I’m not giving in.
It won’t stop here, I know it.