Special events and holidays allow us the opportunity to create magic moments that connect us in small, but significant ways. An easy way to create a welcoming and generous display of hospitality is to set up a green candy bar in your main lobby for Residents and guests to help themselves on this fun holiday. It’s amazing how something so simple can brighten another’s day.
Strive to create a place where residents want to live and team members want to work.
- Encourage all residents and team members to wear green. If a uniform is required for some team members, consider purchasing inexpensive sheets of shamrock stickers to wear on their shirts. Be sure to place stickers in locations easy for team members to find such as a break room, near a time clock. Or delegate someone to pass out. Small gestures like this go a long way in promoting team morale and creating a positive culture.
- Serve shamrock cookies in your break room or cafeteria for team members. It’s an unexpected, fun element of surprise to their day. Either purchase at your local grocery bakery or ask your culinary team to prepare.
- If within budget, order inexpensive green t-shirts for your housekeeping team and have the logo: Keepin’ it GREEN and CLEAN printed on the backs of their t-shirt. It can be a tradition the team wears each year. Again, it’s just fun and unexpected. It promotes team morale and it makes residents smile.
- Purchase a leprechaun costume and a plastic black cauldron. Fill your cauldron with gold chocolate Rolos or chocolate coins.
- Ask a fun loving resident or team member to dress in costume and spend the day walking thru the community, (dining venues, fitness classes, library, offices) passing out candies and spreading Irish cheer such as “May the luck of the Irish be with you!”
- Perhaps the leprechaun may even “pinch” those caught not wearing green.
Download the “I am Lucky Poster” to a USB flash drive. Take to a local printer to print. The poster size is 27 x 40 (standard movie poster size). Purchase a frame and remove the protective glass / plastic layer so people can write on the poster.
Place framed poster on a nice easel in a high traffic area where residents will see. Have sharpie pens available for residents to fill in the blank spaces throughout the day or week. Examples might include: I am Lucky because … my family, neighbors, health, etc.
At the end of the day, place the poster in the dining room for residents to view during dinner. Reading others’ comments allows for residents to take a moment to recognize and realize their own reasons to be grateful and just how ‘lucky’ we are.
If budget does not allow for a frame and easel, purchase a 30 x 40 foam board found at an office supply or craft store. Secure poster onto foam board and prop upon a table with sharpies. Or hang on a community bulletin board.
Download the I am Lucky Poster here:
The week of St. Patrick’s, host an afternoon or evening of adult coloring using only Celtic designs such as the Celtic mandala, knots, crosses or other Celtic patterns. There are tons of Celtic adult coloring books on the market. The only trouble is in deciding which one to choose…
It’s well known, adult coloring is the rage. Adult coloring is useful because of its many health benefits. When coloring:
- The brain experiences relief by entering a meditative state
- Stress and anxiety levels have the potential to be lowered
- Focusing on the present helps achieve mindfulness
- Both hemispheres of the brain communicate with each other, forcing new brain connections
Play soft and relaxing Celtic music during this themed art relaxation session.
If program takes place in the evening, you might consider serving De-Caf coffee and Bailey’s Irish Cream as a night cap.
Health & Wellness
Make existing fitness classes extra fun this day or week. Ask your fitness director to implement some Irish themed exercises into their normal routine.
Pub Crawl!? How about a ‘Fitness crawl’?
Skip the drunken masses and do something good for the body.
- Your fitness crawl can be as simple as a circuit class in your gym. Instead of moving from pub to pub, move from one fitness station to another. At each station a resident gets a plastic gold coin. With a sharpie, write names on coins and place in a black cauldron (the pot o’ gold). At the end of class hold a raffle and draw a few coins for small prizes. Perhaps the prize could be $1 lottery scratch-offs for residents to ‘try their luck’. Or, something funny like a bar of “Irish Spring” soap to shower with after their work out.
- If you can, create various fitness stations across your community (in multiple locations) where residents can move location to location to get various work outs. Have gold coins available at each station for residents to collect. If they collect all the coins, they can enter a raffle and win a prize. This kind of crawl feels A LOT better than a hangover.
Coordinate with dining services to set up a GREEN smoothie station outside of your gym or fitness room so that residents finishing their workout have something to look forward to. This will require a chef or attendant, a blender and some delicious green smoothie recipes.
Incorporate Some of these phrases into your regular fitness programming.
- “Shamrock Shape-Up” – Instead of your regular strength training class, call it a “Shamrock Shape-Up” on this day. Finish the class with a work out to an upbeat Celtic song.
- “Jig Like A Leprechaun” – focus on the lower half of the body to whip those legs into shape just like Michael Flatley and his Irish step dancers.
- Tone up those “Pint-lifting” Arms – focus on toning the arms like an Irish lumberjack so they’ll be ready to toast later on!
- Get Your Cardio with “Eireobics” – The Gaelic word for the gorgeous, green island of Ireland is “Eire,” so forgo your regular aerobics class in favor of “Eireobics.” (The class can remain the same in structure, just add the cute name). Be sure to have your fitness director add fun, upbeat Celtic Irish music to the playlist.
Offer an educational class or history course such as:
- The Irish Language: slang, phrases and sayings
- The Irish Culture
- The History of Ireland
- The Irish in America – first Irish settlers and how they built our first colonies
- The Irish in America and the American Industrial Revolution
Search for a professor, college instructor, high school history teacher or a resident who is either a retired teacher or historian to teach the class.
Do you have any Irish immigrant residents or team members who would like to prepare and lead an educational program – or talk about their own immigrant experience?
Perhaps search for residents or team members who have traveled to Ireland and would like to lead a travelogue program, sharing their personal experiences traveling in the country.
Having trouble putting together a live program?
Show an educational DVD in your theater:
- A Short History of Ireland
- Out of Ireland
- The Irish Rebellion 1916
- In Search of Ancient Ireland
- Historic Pubs of Dublin
Consider an “Irish” themed movie or documentary selection the week of St. Patty’s.
Entertaining “Irish” movie options include:
- Waking Ned Divine
- Michael Collins
- In the Name of the Father
- Some Mother’s Son
Interesting “Irish” documentaries include:
- Irish Dance: See It! Feel It! Love It!
- Michael Flatley: Lord of the Dance
- The Irish Pub, by Alex Fegan – (now on Netflix)
St. Patty’s Interactive Food Stations:
Healthy GREEN Smoothie Station:
Feature a green smoothie bar where Chef prepares GREEN smoothies to residents at breakfast or after a fitness class.
Guinness Beer Cheese Fondue Station:
This station is perfect for a happy hour. Feature an “ALL GREEN” veggie platter for dipping: celery, broccoli, green peppers, zucchini, asparagus, snap peas and serve other dipping foods such as:
- Green apple slices
- Crusty bread bites
- Corned Beef cubes on skewers
- Small (cooked) potatoes on skewers
Happy Hour Food – Choose from:
Mini New Potato Bites or Potato Skins, Mini Corned Beef Sliders, Irish Hand Pies, Irish Skewers, Mini Fish n’ Chips cup with tartar sauce
Happy Hour Beverages:
The Sparkling Shamrock
Mix the green liqueur, Midouri, and some bubbly champagne for a fizzy melon flavored drink.
Green Wine Spritzer
Add a drop of green food coloring to white wine. Mix wine and seltzer water for a refreshing Irish themed drink.
A Selection of Irish beers – choose from:
- O’Hara’s Irish Wheat or Celtic Stout.
- Smithwick’s Irish Ale.
- Murphy’s Irish Stout
- Beamish Irish Stout.
- Murphy’s Irish Red.
- Guinness Draught, Extra Stout, and Foreign Extra Stout.
Bailey’s Irish cream with coffee, decaf
St. Patrick’s Day Plated Dinner
Choose from the following options:
First Course: Potato Soup, garnished with chives, fresh parsley
Entrée: Corned Beef & Cabbage
First Course: Wilted Shredded Cabbage Salad, lemon, olive oil, garlic
Entrée: Irish Beef Stew, crusty bread
First Course: Cabbage Soup, served with basket of crusty bread
Entrée: Sausage Bangers, Mash & Peas
First Course: Wilted Cabbage Salad or Cabbage Soup
Entrée: Loaded Baked Potato, cheese, scallions, broccoli
Desserts: Either set up a dessert buffet table with multiple selections or choose from the following for a plated dessert:
- Shamrock sugar (or sugar free) cookies
- Grasshopper cheesecake
- Bailey’s Irish Crème cake
- Chocolate Stout cupcakes or sheet cake, buttercream frosting
- Green Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
- Pistachio Ice Cream
*Serve Dessert with Bailey’s Irish Cream Coffee, DeCaf
*Many culinary teams order their delicious desserts from a food supplier. If special desserts are not an option or budget friendly, consider ordering usual desserts (like chocolate cake) but adding a green piping, frosting or inserting shamrock décor. Holidays allow us the opportunity to create magic moments.
St. Patrick’s Happy Hour:
- Place gold chocolate coins, plastic green bead necklaces, and shamrock rings,across tables for residents to put on and wear, take home with them, etc.
- Place Green or Irish trivia game sheets, Mad Libs on tables for residents to enjoy playing with each other. Find Irish trivia games here.
- For extra fun, order shamrock pencils to be placed on table with trivia game sheets.
Happy Hour or Dinner Entertainment:
- If budget allows, hire a full band, duet or trio of musicians to play traditional Irish songs – search online for a group in your area
- If on a tight budget, hire a single musician such as a harpist, accordion player, fiddle player, banjo, or flutist to play traditional Celtic Irish songs. If possible, ask them to walk the dining room playing table to table to mix things up.
- If there’s no budget, purchase Irish music CD’s — fun groups are:
1.The Irish Rovers (vocals) *upbeat and fun for a happy hour setting.
2.The Chieftans (instrumental only) *lovely and more subdued for dining.
Slainte, Erin go Bragh!
Cheers to Ireland Forever!
View our Pinterest board here for more ideas and inspiration.