In college at the University of Illinois, St. Patrick’s Day always fell over my spring break. Fearing that students would miss out on the most epic drinking holiday during their college years, a former student started the ultimate ragefest, called “Unofficial” St. Patrick’s Day. Usually held the first Friday of March, students would wake up at the crack of dawn, start their day with kegs and eggs, and wear green with pride. Never mind going to class (although teachers were sneaky and made discussions “mandatory” and sometimes scheduled an exam that day, just because they can).  After passing out at 5pm from drinking all day, we’d wake up three hours later and rally until it was dawn. It’s a pretty epic experience.

This year was the first year I wasn’t back on campus to celebrate. Instead, I was doing what real-world people do–what’s that called? Oh, right. WORK. The seniors in my sorority were sending me texts and I couldn’t help but peruse their Facebook photos–even though I was vicariously living through them, I had a major case of FOMO.

But since the actual St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Monday, you can find me reliving my college years this weekend. Because we twenty-somethings love a good party, here are five must-have things to make yours great:

1. Wear Green

DUH. We’re not just talking a green t-shirt. Green beads, green pants, green tights and green Chuck Taylors look great when paired with green beer (or any other green-tinted drink). Go all out.

Converse Chuck Taylor Green

  Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star Seasonal Ox, $50,

2. Make a St. Patty’s Playlist

These ditties will help you get started:

“Chelsea Dagger” The Fratellis (and no, this is absolutely not some shameless promotion of the Chicago Blackhawks’ goal song, but it is crazy catchy and should be on rotation alllll the time)

“Mason Jar” Smallpools

“C’est La Vie” B*Witched (because, ’90s nostalgia. You’re welcome)

“Tripping Billies” Dave Matthews Band (“Eat, drink and be merry”–enough said)

“Irish Drinking Song” Flogging Molly

“Red Solo Cup” Toby Keith

3. Make a Boozy Shammy Shake

I love Mickey D’s this time of year and have had wayyy too many Shammy Shakes to even count. But a good grown-up version of my favorite themed drink is always a good idea. Here’s the recipe, adapted via

1 3/4 cup low-fat vanilla ice cream
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup vanilla vodka (or unflavored vodka and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
1/4 cup Crème de Menthe or Peppermint Schnapps
*you could also add green food coloring and a few tsp of mint extract depending on how green/minty you want your shake to be
1/2 tbsp grated dark chocolate +1 tsp for topping (optional)

shamrock shake

Blend ice cream, vodka and Crème de Menthe (or any minty mixture above) and mix until just evenly combined. Pour mixture in a tall glass. Stir in chocolate shavings and sprinkle remaining on top.

4. Take in the Scenery

Chicago prides itself of being “ChI-rish” by dying the river green (yes, really) for five hours. It’s a really pretty sight to see, especially if the weather’s nice. Whatever your hometown tradition is, whether it’s a parade or a food-eating contest, take it in.

Chicago River Dyed Green St. Patrick's Day

Chicago River via

5. What do I wear to work on St. Patty’s Day? 

As mentioned before, the holiday falls on a workday this year. If you work in a creative office, go all out (with discretion, of course) with green beads, sunnies, t-shirts, pants, etc or all of the above. If yours is more corporate/conservative, a green dress shirt underneath your business suit gives you a hint of color and a nod to the holiday without being overt.

Tell us, how are you going to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?


Hannah Gettleman is a bubbly twenty-something living in Chicago. She graduated in 2012 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in Journalism. Don't tell her that print is dying--she's already made the switch to public relations. As a Midwest girl, winter happens approximately 80% of the year, so she knows a thing or two about a good pair of snow boots. She lives for summer weather (even though she can never tan), Boy Meets World reruns, and an unhealthy addiction to dark chocolate and online shopping. She's a die-hard Chicago sports fan, even though she's well aware the Cubs always end up in last place every year.

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