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Christmas in… March!

Traditionally the saying normally goes “Christmas in July” but for me, March has always been the favorite time of year, the month I most look forward to! Why you ask? Because of St. Patrick’s Day…my true Christmas.

I come from a heavily Irish family. If I were to take a DNA test I would be 70% potatoes, 10% Irish Bread, 10% Guinness, and 10% Jameson—that kind of heavily Irish. My grandmother grew up in Ireland with her brothers and sisters on the O’Malley Family Farm in County Mayo. She came to America in her early 20’s and kept the Irish culture alive and well in my family. A boiled dinner with corned beef and lots of veggies isn’t just for March—it was a Sunday night staple at my grandmother’s house.

So it should come as no surprise that I am also an avid Irish dancer. My mom enrolled me in classes at the Haley School of Irish Dance when I was 4 years old and I fell in love. All the spinning and shuffling and stomping – my 4 year old self was ENCOURAGED to be as loud as possible and jump around like, in the words of my dance teacher, “a Mexican jumping bean”! I was in heaven.

The more I danced, the more in love I fell with my Irish culture. St. Patrick’s day at school meant going all out—plaid skirt with a large pin fastening it (the 5 year old girl’s version of a kilt) paired with my favorite Irish sweater and a green headband. It became my uniform each year on that day for as long as it fit. I also loved showing off my dancing skills to my classmates and passing out Irish chocolate—aahhh Cadbury!

As I’ve grown up, my St. Paddy’s Day fashion has evolved into an extremely curly dance wig and an overly bedazzled costume. By the time I entered high school, I danced anywhere I could in March. “Dancing out” on St. Patrick’s Day is figure dancing in a big group with lots of clapping and smiling. You’re truly putting on a show! We dance everywhere: from a 30’-40’ wide stage in churches and schools, to a 4’ x 4’ piece of plywood in a restaurant or bar.

We dance in places big and small for a crowd of 3 or 300 because of how important of a day it is to the Irish Community. Not only as an ode to the religious figure of St. Patrick, but also as a day to come together and celebrate—it’s the ultimate party. And Irish dancing is the best way to celebrate!

After 19 years of dancing, I still go “dance out” every St. Patrick’s Day. And I get the best of both worlds. I am old enough to appreciate the deeply rooted traditions of St. Patrick’s Day. But I also get to celebrate with dancing and a drink!

So, when St. Patrick’s Day arrives, pour yourself a Guinness, grab your best green shirt, clap along to Galway Girl and No, Ney, Never and celebrate like you’re from the heart of Ireland, even if you aren’t, because it’s worth it– trust me!


Magic of the Holiday Season

From the desk of Event Assistant, Ronnie Ayers…

It is officially 10 days until Christmas – which means I should probably start my shopping. Through the hustle and bustle of the Holiday Season, one of my favorite things to do is sprinkle in the Santa magic that we sometimes forget. My nieces and nephews are at the perfect “believing” stage, so my family and I are having so much fun getting creative with the young ones this year. Here are a few of my favorite ideas to go the extra mile this year to keep it magical!

“Facetiming” with Santa!

This is a fun, free app that gives you some “face time” (pun intended) with ‘Ole Saint Nick. It is pretty realistic and fun to see the young reactions when they see who’s calling!

Tip: before having Santa call, make sure the one answering knows what to request for Christmas!

Here is a screenshot of my cute niece, Dakota, using the app!

santa

Elf on the Shelf

I am sure everyone has heard or seen the Elves by now, and have found fun ways to display them. Some of my favorites: Elf driving Barbie’s car, roasting mini marshmallows over a candle, and making snow angels in powdered sugar! Definitely keeps the magic going on the days leading up to the big day.

elf

Christmas Eve:

Two ideas that I have fallen in love with for Christmas Eve can be carried out for years to come, and are so simple to do!

Santa’s Footprints

What you’ll need:
-Glitter
-Baking Soda
-Boots
-Spray Bottle
-Cookie Sheet

Mix the glitter and baking soda on the cookie sheet. Feel free to use as much or as little glitter as you would like.

“Prep” your boot by lightly spraying the soles.

Press the boot down in the baking soda mixture – making sure you get a good coat.

Then you make a trail of footprints leading from the chimney/door to the tree to show that Santa successfully visited that night!

This is such an easy (and light clean-up) project that can add a wonderful element to Christmas morning.

footprints

Santa’s Keys

This is a perfect idea for citydwellers who don’t have a fireplace for Santa to enter. Craft (or buy) Santa’s keys and hang them on the front door, so that Santa has a way to come in to visit!

santa-key

Experiencing the awe and excitement through the eyes of a child is one of my favorite parts of the Holiday Season.

We would love for you to share with the AE Team your own fun and creative traditions!