I’m all about celebrating holidays. And as most of you know, I really love Christmas. We do trees, hang lights, string garland, bake cookies, take Santa pictures, and I cry. I actually cry about how I love Christmas. And I love Easter. We’ve got eggs galore strewn about the house, along with bunnies, nests with little birds in them, and stuffed baby ducks. We don’t go as large as I’d like for Halloween, but give it some time.
But here’s the thing. I’m boycotting the Leprechaun. And the Ginger Bread Man. Seriously. Here’s something you need to know about Jen and me. We don’t do goodie bags at parties. We don’t do crafts at home. We don’t fill our children’s every waking moment with some kind of contrived, magical activity. Because we’re tired. And they’re kids. And we’re tired of making every stinking moment magical. (This coming from a woman who’s had a Disneyland pass for 20 years.)
When I was in elementary school, I remember St. Patrick’s Day. You wore green. And if you didn’t, you got pinched. That was about the extent of it. But let me tell you what happened at preschool Monday. The Leprechaun happened. The story was leaked a few weeks ago (yes, weeks) that on St. Patrick’s Day, the Leprechaun was going to come and play tricks on us, and that the kids were going to try to catch him. So that started spinning my Mazie up something fierce. (This is a piggy-back on them chasing the Ginger Bread Man around the school, after he escaped from the oven, which ended in the snack lady “catching him” back in the oven and screaming in dramatic fashion, “I got him! I got him!” Which left poor Kingston in tears.) So Monday they made paper shamrocks with scary faces to scare him away, they made little traps with Lucky Charms to catch him, and when they got back into the classroom after recess, that darned leprechaun had upended all the chairs and made a mess of the blocks. And the kids went wild.
After a whole afternoon of my girls running around the house and obsessively searching for the leprechaun, thinking they had seen him, Mazie had a little break down at night. She was really tired because she hadn’t been able to nap, and she was really upset. I asked her how she was feeling. “Tired and nervous.” Nervous? About what? “The leprechaun coming into our house.” And there it is folks.
I know not all the kids are scared about the leprechaun. But let me tell you, when I was 5, I would have been freaked out about a little red-headed elf coming into my house and running amok while I slept. And before you get all up in arms about one kid ruining all the fun for everyone, let me just pose this… Why do we have to make such a big deal about every stinking thing? I mean, we take these fake holidays and blow them up into huge ordeals. We manufacture “Hallmark Holidays” then complain about our society being too materialistic. Can’t we save the big stuff for, you know, the big stuff? Like the birth and resurrection of Christ, perhaps?
Right now, I’m sick of St. Patrick’s Day. And I even love a good party. In fact, I’m cooking up a corned beef on Thursday and baking some soda bread (here’s my recipe, Irish-tested). Most people don’t even know who St. Patrick was. They just drink green beer and wear stupid “Kiss me, I’m Irish” t-shirts, even though they aren’t Irish. And all this leprechaun stuff? This isn’t for the kids… it’s for the moms. Just like the out of control party bags, the catered croissant sandwiches that showed up for the “snack” at the Christmas party for a bunch of 4 year olds, and Elf on a Shelf. Yep, I went there. Elf. On. A. Shelf.
Parents, for the love of humanity, can we just dial it back a notch? Can we not wind our kids up at every opportunity? Because you know what your kids want tonight? They want to eat dinner with you. You know what they want to do after? They want you to read a book to them, or watch their favorite show with them. They want to take a walk around the block with you. And hold hands. And kick the gosh-darned soccer ball in the front yard. And play Chutes and Ladders, even though you hate that dumb game.