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How to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day in the Office

St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday with a rich American and Irish history. The Irish have celebrated the passing of Saint Patrick for more than 1,000 years. And the first St. Patrick’s day parade was celebrated in America on March 17, 1601 in St. Augustine, Florida. If the rich history isn’t enough reason for you to celebrate in the office (or the excuse to drink beer and listen to music) get inspired with these 15 ideas for some good ol’ fashioned hooliganism.

1. Catering for St. Patrick's Day

Food is the bonding fabric of the office, and St. Patrick’s Day is the perfect excuse to try some traditional Irish foods. When it comes to Irish food history, most people think potato. However - fun fact alert - their culinary history actually goes back 8,000 years, while the potato arrived to the area some 400 years ago. Other traditional items include oysters, black pudding, braised lamb, and wild garlic. Other classics will be available at your local Irish Pub. Corned beef, Shepherd's Pie, carrots, and steamed cabbage all make for enjoyable lunch options. CaterCow will help you quickly identify reliable and quality catering options in your local areas. If your office isn't in the mood for heavy meals or starch, consider ordering some green-themed treats from a local bakery or sweet shop.

2. Irish Music Marathon

You won’t be able to bring Fleadh Cheoil to the office, the largest Irish music festival in the world. But you can always deliver the Irish jigs with a simple internet connection. Check out our Spotify playlist, or sites like ieradio.org and IrishRadioLive.com pump out Irish jams 24/7 and are the perfect musical companion for an office St. Paddy’s day. Beware: you never know which employee will break out an unwarranted Irish jig.

3. Decor, but Make it Green

The tried-and-true ideas can’t be overlooked. Green streamers, golden top hats, balloons, paper shamrocks all give the office a special feel. Even better, these items go for cheap at your local discount store or can be crafted in the DIY fashion.

4. St. Paddy’s Day Co-Worker Cliche Bingo

Sometimes the most enjoyable aspect of holiday celebrations at the office is the cliches and stereotypes. Have fun with this by creating a St. Paddy’s holiday bingo card with common phrases uttered around March. For instance, how long until someone asks to leave early, or who will make the green underwear joke? More inspiration here.

5. Irish Trivia Competition

Any excuse to play trivia is a good excuse. Irish trivia ranges from St. Patrick’s day facts to obscure misnomers about ancient Celts. For example, when did the potato arrive in Ireland? Include a prize for the winner, and watch everyone suddenly become an Irish scholar.

6. Drink Some Shamrock Shakes

Sometimes the best traditions are fabricated and meaningless, OK maybe not. But who doesn’t love a Shamrock Shake? McDonald’s launched the creation in 1970, so it’s older than quite a few coworkers. Plus, green sugar and dairy is a company culture booster. Order some from a local restaurant or encourage the office mixologist to create a DIY mixture.

7. Pass the Rounds (Happy Hour)

Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke. Order a pitcher of green beer or a round of Guinness pints and enjoy another holiday in the books. If you’re determined to find an authentic Irish pub, consider a few important factors:

  • Traditional decor with a natural feel (lots of wood)
  • A bar or pub that carries the family name
  • Traditional Irish pub items: Shepherd's Pie, Banger's & Mash, and Corned Beef

8. Share a Few Rounds (Non-Alcoholic)

There’s plenty of fun to be had in a company culture not fueled by booze. Non-alcoholic drinks can still inspire the St. Paddy’s day cheer. Mix up a green punch with a lemon-lime flavored drink mix or get creative and pour a green grasshopper mocktail.

9. Prank Like a Leprechaun

If you’re serious about funny business, St. Paddy’s Day serves as a trial run for April Fool’s. Office pranksters can pull off some harmless hijinks around the office with some green food coloring in the toilet or loading up someone’s office with 100 green balloons.

10. Act Like a Saint and Volunteer

Let’s not forget that holidays are a good excuse to do something meaningful, especially when you’re lucky enough to be gainfully employed. Throw on a green shirt and head to your local food bank, homeless shelter or soup kitchen. Any volunteer activity is a good option to pair with activities like happy hours.

11. Costume Contest

Despite red heads having a distinct advantage, office costume contests bring a few laughs and memorable photos. Granted, you might need to institute the controversial “no leprechaun rule” to keep things interesting. Or go the other way and unleash an entire office of leprechauns! The choice is yours.

12. Plant a Shamrock

Did you know? Shamrocks are actual houseplants. And they’re the perfect memento to keep the holiday spirit alive. Shamrock plants are small, just 6 inches tall but feature classic clover designs. Shamrock bulbs can be planted in early spring so St. Paddy’s day is the appropriate time. The plant goes dormant during summer which means it’s active when the other common houseplants (office plants) are active.

13. Play Fidchell

Fidchell, also spelled fidhcheall and a handful of other spellings, is a board game - popular with ancient Celts. Some claim the game is an original version of chess, and you’ll have to go with that - because no one really knows how the game was played. There are a few theories to run with so have at it.

14. Play Irish Skittles

These are skittles you can’t eat, without immense pain that is. “Skittles” is actually a distant relative of bowling, dating back hundreds, possibly thousands of years. Players attempt to knock down nine wooden pins using a sphere-shaped object, often referred to as the “cheese.” The sport was played in bars all over Europe, and was one of the most popular activities during Medieval times.

The Irish have their own version. Players attempt to knock five pins down using a baton-shaped object. Pins are placed in a circle with the fifth pin centered in the middle, and each has various point values. Replicate this in the office using some non-damaging items such as pool noodles or plastic bowling pins.

15. Hire a Local Musician

A little music is a light-hearted and authentic way to ring in St. Patrick’s day. Sites like The Bash and GigSalad facilitate local bands getting gigs. Support a local artist and have a fun day in the office to boot.

Fun facts about St. Patrick's Day

  • The shamrock was originally a metaphor for the Holy Trinity.
  • Leprechauns are likely based on Celtic Fairies
  • Every year, the Chicago River is dyed green for the holiday.
  • Although famous in Ireland, Saint Patrick was not Irish.

Activities

Decorations

Playlist