3 Ways to Make St. Patrick’s Day Magical


St. Patrick’s Day has always been a part of my life. When I was young, I hunted leprechauns. My friends and I ran around the playground at school – brown grocery bags flying behind us. 

The younger students understood that only big people could see the leprechauns, and we trusted our older friends to steer us in the right direction as they “spotted” the green streaks running between the school buildings.

In all my years of hunting – and eventually spotting – we never caught a leprechaun, but we sure did have fun.

We believed in magic.

Years later, I’ve passed that magic down to my own five boys. We prep our clothes for March 17 days ahead, because we believe if you don’t wear green you’ll get pinched. My middle son usually paints his hair green. The twins won’t go to sleep because they watch for the leprechauns almost like they watch for Santa Claus.

3 Ways to Make St. Patrick's Day Magical | Columbia SC Moms Blog

So, if you want to bring a little Irish magic your way on St. Patrick’s Day, here are a few of our favorite traditions…

Hang a Few Irish Potatoes Around Your Yard on the Eve of St. Patrick’s Day

Make sure they’re hung low because leprechauns are short. Remember, the more food you have in your yard and house, the higher the chances of actually catching one. You’ll be surprised at how many bites are missing the next morning … and the tooth-marks are even green!

leprechaun trap | Columbia SC Moms BlogMake Leprechaun Traps

The more sparkle and green the better! My sister used to make traps that looked like doll houses, with double sided tape strategically placed throughout the “house.” My brother, on the other hand, would just use a rabbit trap.

The houses my own boys make usually match their personalities, and range from elaborate castles that they work on for days to propped up shoe boxes. Those sneaky leprechauns usually make a mess of our traps, and sometimes even leave a gold coin behind with a note of thanks for the lodging! 

leprechaun trap | Columbia SC Moms Blog

Have a Leprechaun Hunt 

We let the older kids and parents serve as the spotters, and send the younger children running all over the yard. All you need are a few grocery bags and an imagination! Even though a pot of gold is nice, if you actually catch a leprechaun, my children and their friends seem just as happy with the pile of treats left behind … all green!

St. Patrick’s Day is magical in our house. We put down the phones, games and gadgets and run around the yard with bags flying behind us, hunting for that one leprechaun.

I still haven’t caught a leprechaun, but the memories I’ve been able to make with my children are more valuable than any pot of gold! 

What are your St. Patrick’s Day traditions?

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Lila Anna is the happily unbalanced mother of five boys. She is an advocate for homeless families, a recovering triathlete, and a sleep deprived 40-something who doesn’t see her yoga mat enough. She was blessed enough to have three wonderful boys (Michael, 14, Colin, 12 and Aidan, 10) … then, after a seven year break and just as she turned 40, got what she calls her “buy one, get one free babies,” Heath and Graeme (now 3). Once fiercely independent, Lila Anna now relies heavily on the help, kindness and understanding of a very loyal group of friends she calls her “village.” This village allows her to dedicate her heart and time to Trinity Housing and St. Lawrence Place – the non-profit for homeless and at-risk families she leads as President/CEO – all the while managing to run a house full of baseball and football schedules and four different carpools. Lila Anna is passionate about all children, especially those living at risk or in poverty. She treats her St. Lawrence Place children as her own, and advocates for them at the State House, at City Hall, or on any given street corner. Her position at Trinity Housing gives her the chance to give homeless families and their children a voice. She has been a guest lecturer at USC and Columbia College, and has presented nationally on the topics of child poverty, education and family homelessness. She is a native of Springfield in rural Orangeburg County, home of the Governor’s Frog Jump (thus her frog tattoo), and is a graduate of USC with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications. She got her Master’s from Columbia College in Organizational Change and Leadership, and graduated a few weeks before giving birth to her twins. Her five boys are just like their daddy, “Saint” Brad – fun-loving, even keeled, and incredibly helpful. She enjoys cooking with the help of at least one set of small hands, running (slowly) with friends, and daydreaming about her next trip to Edisto Beach or New York City. One day she hopes to compete in triathlons again in the Athena division (thus her owl tattoo). Most of all, she loves just hanging out with her boys…all six of them. Lila Anna and her boys live in Forest Acres, where they are two blocks from the ballfield and no more than 10 minutes away from everything else. She is happy to share how she embraces her unbalance … and all the fun and love that comes with it.


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