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My New Favorite Holiday: Reflections On Easter 2021

I had so much fun celebrating Easter this year!

This was a major surprise to me, because historically, Easter is the holiday I overthink the most. I’m never quite sure what to do or how to celebrate. When I was a kid, this was a religious holiday for my family. Now that Tamara and I don’t practice Christianity, I’ve questioned whether we should celebrate Easter at all.

When I became a mom, I reached out to a non-religious friend, who advised me to treat Easter as Secular Chocolate Bunny Day. I took that advice and I’ve followed it ever since. And yet, I still have found so many things to overthink – when and where and how to do an egg hunt, what role an Easter basket should play, what role an Easter bunny should play, food to eat, etc.

This year, our relatively low-key Easter ended up involving three different celebrations:

  1. In North Carolina, with Tamara’s side of the family, we dyed Easter eggs and had an egg hunt for Edgar and Jonas and their two cousins, who are 4 and 3 years old.
  2. In Maryland, the day before Easter Sunday, my sister drove down from Philly with her husband and their two kids, ages 11 and 14.
  3. On Easter, in addition to our “just us” family activities, my brother and his family (kids aged 12, 10, 7, and 6) came over for bagels and an egg hunt.

Here’s what I LOVED about our Easter celebrations this year:

  • Limited planning required. Some of this is due to COVID, because so few plans have been on anyone’s calendar. But it was relatively painless to arrange all three of these events just a week or a few weeks in advance.
  • The dyeing of the Easter eggs! This is not a task I remember enjoying as a child, but I loved it this year. Mainly because we used brown eggs and it made the resulting product such a deep and beautiful color.
  • The HIDING of the Easter eggs! This was so ridiculously fun. There is something about this task – just wondering around a yard, looking for little spots where I can tuck away an egg for someone to find – that is so satisfying and fun for me. For the egg hunt with my brother’s family, it was extra fun. What we did was label the eggs by the kids’ age – so all the eggs with a 12 written on it in Sharpie were for my 12-year-old nephew, all the eggs with a 4 on them were for 4-year-old Edgar, etc. That meant that we could scale the difficulty and make some of the eggs for the older kids extremely difficult to locate or obtain. (For example, several eggs with a 10 or a 12 on them required climbing a tree or scaling the roof of our shed.) It was so fun to hide them all, so fun to watch the kids hunt, and so fun to provide hints and clues for the last few eggs, often in the form of a rhyme or a riddle. LOVED it.
  • Our indoor hunt for dyed Easter eggs on Easter morning. For our outdoor egg hunts with my sister’s family and my brother’s family, we used plastic eggs with treats inside. So on Easter Sunday morning, I was a little worried that Edgar and Jonas wouldn’t be excited to look for the dyed Easter eggs. But they were! Edgar woke up first and immediately started to spot some of them around, and he got so smiley and excited to look for more. Jonas jumped right in when he woke up, and it was all delightful.
  • The Easter basket scavenger hunt. This is one of the other big things I overthink about Easter – what is the deal with the baskets? Are they just out and on display when the kids wake up in the morning, like on Christmas Day? Do the kids have to look for them – are they hidden somewhere? I’m pretty sure my parents alternated between these two options. I don’t love the idea of the baskets just being out and on display – partly because I like having the kids hunt for the baskets, and partly because, without a hunt, the baskets just aren’t that exciting. Like, they have candy and a few fun things inside, but not THAT fun! So Tamara and I decided to do a scavenger hunt for the boys to find their baskets. The boys woke up and found all the dyed eggs, and then we ate breakfast. Then, while I entertained the boys, the “Easter Bunny” hid five clues around our home for a scavenger hunt that would end with the boys finding their baskets. When that was done, we revealed the first clue. The boys had to go to their trampoline, to the bathtub, to Jonas’s new “big boy bed” (AKA his crib mattress on the floor!), to Edgar’s whale lamp, to our new canoe (a gift for Tamara’s 40th!), and finally to the sandbox, where they found their baskets. Edgar LOOOOOVED it! He kept asking me about all the things the Easter Bunny had done while he was hiding clues: “You mean, he jumped on our trampoline, and then he went a took a bath? And then he took our canoe in the truck and went canoeing at the Reservoir?! And then he played in OUR SANDBOX?” So freaking cute.
  • The boys’ Easter baskets. I love the candy associated with Easter – especially Cadbury mini eggs! But it can get overwhelming to me. I knew we were going to do two different egg hunts involving plastic eggs with treats inside, and I knew the boys were going to receive treats from elsewhere, like candy from grandparents or neighbors. I wanted to avoid giving them an Easter basket packed with candy, knowing it would result in overindulgence for the boys, AND for me and Tamara – we both have a big sweet tooth and have a hard time not gorging on chocolate when it’s in the house! Tamara was on the same page, so for the boys’ baskets, the Easter Bunny filled each boy’s basket with a bicycle bell; cool tape to make a road on the floor for their toy cars; a book; and a chocolate bunny. It was perfect. The kids devoured all the candy from their plastic eggs in the afternoon, they took taking delicious bites of their bunnies each day for the next week, and neither kids nor adults went into a sugar coma.
  • Tamara’s annual bunny cake! I am not into fancy food, really ever, but especially not for Easter. But I DO love our annual tradition of Tamara baking a carrot cake bunny cake. This year, in the spirit of low sugar and moderation, we bought small cake pans and she made a mini bunny cake for our visit with my sister’s family. It was the perfect amount – everyone got a piece of cake, with just a smidge leftover for us to eat later.

What a lovely holiday. I’m so glad I am over my Easter angst and now get to celebrate Secular Chocolate Bunny Day every year in all its glory!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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