When I was a kid, I loved Easter. I loved getting up for sunrise services at church, where they wheeled the upright piano onto the porch and services were blessedly short. I loved following our church family to Golden Corral for the breakfast buffet and coming home to Easter baskets and Easter Egg hunts. I even loved dressing up in clothes and shoes that probably would not be worn again, or at least not often. And Easter dinner! Who doesn’t love ham?
As a teen and young adult, my most treasured Easter memories were sunrise services on the beach, especially during our stay in Okinawa, Japan. There was nothing more magical, in a very, you know, Christian way, than watching the sun peek up over the waves as we sang songs like “Holy, Holy, Holy” and “My Blessed Redeemer.”
As a parent. . . I loathe Easter. I cannot think of many things more tortuous to a parent of young children, let alone pre-teens, as mine are now than waking them up on what is supposed to be a day of rest, to do church. To sit quietly and still, and sing (what are to them) boring songs, when they’d rather be asleep, or doing probably, literally, anything else. Unsurprisingly, this is a tradition I have let fall by the wayside. To be fair, as a family, we’ve let church fall by the wayside many more Sundays than just Easter, but I digress.
In my opinion, the Easter Bunny is one of the more ridiculous ideas that we have culturally adopted. It is so nonsensical to have a large, male bunny, bring decorated chicken eggs and candy, in a basket (that he can’t carry), as a treat to welcome spring. I understand, theoretically, the history behind this icon and how we got here, but before even my first child was born, I was passionate about not doing the Easter Bunny. I am pretty sure I delivered at least one lecture on the subject to anyone who would listen.
This is not to say that, as a family, we do not “do” the bunny. When they were little, I flat out told my children that Nana was the Easter Bunny and she handled the basket part. Then the pandemic happened, and, in an effort to maintain some normalcy, I became the bunny. I do not do it up big like a second Christmas (if this is your family – you do you – but that is not for us). In fact, I have been getting whatever theme basket seems the most enjoyable from Walmart or Target. Done and dusted.
I do enjoy the egg hunts. Not gonna lie. We have three kids, so I color code the eggs, with treats and money within for everyone, to keep it even-handed. We all enjoy the thrill of the hunt and counting up the change after. We also dye eggs, because it’s fun, and we don’t mind the excuse to have deviled eggs and colorful egg salad after.
Alright, so I guess I do enjoy some elements of the holiday, but overall, the way we celebrate it makes me grumpy. I don’t love the public egg hunts, which are less a hunt than a first-come-first-serve race to sweep a field of eggs. Where is the fun in that? The over-commercialization and ill-logic of so many facets of the celebration are exhausting to try to explain to inquisitive kids. Why is there a bunny? How does he get here? Why do we eat ham? Should we be eating rabbit? Why are we hiding eggs? Why do we dye them?
I mean . . . one of the parenting rules I thought I’d follow was never saying “because I said so,” and yet this holiday gives me so many opportunities!
As I’ve grown older and become a little less church-centric, like so many of my Xennial peers, the blending of religious and cultural holidays and celebrations feels problematic, but that is probably a way bigger discussion than just Easter.
Even though Easter is my least favorite holiday, the kids love what we do, so I’ll put on a happy face and do the things they love – even the store-bought Easter baskets.