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How Do You Do Easter?

Growing up, we never got Easter baskets or believed in the Easter bunny. I’m sure we had Easter parties at school and got Easter candy there, and we often decorated eggs at home, but the traditional Easter baskets full of candy on Easter morning — not something my parents bought into.

We did always get new Easter outfits, and being a church going family, of course we went to church on Easter Sunday morning. After church, we’d go out to eat with friends or family, or my mom would make a nice meal at home.

I never felt deprived, really. In fact, I remember being somewhat horrified by kids showing up at church with pockets full of candy at 10am. It isn’t that we never ate candy, I’m sure I got more than my fair share, but we certainly didn’t eat it for breakfast — not even on Easter. Okay, so maybe on Christmas. But then again, it’s not like we were going anywhere on Christmas morning where we were expected to sit still and behave for over an hour.

Anyway. When I became a parent, I didn’t play up the Easter bunny legend, but I did set out a little something for my kids on Easter mornings — a stuffed animal or a toy in an Easter basket.

C – Easter 2005

I’ve always loved that picture – caught red handed!!

As the kids have grown, so has their Easter loot. I usually do a lot of candy and a few cheapie toys — sort of like what I put in their Christmas stockings. We also do new outfits for church, and often there is a family gathering with an egg hunt at one home or another in the afternoon.

Easter Egg Hunt 2007

But this year I’m re-thinking the whole Easter basket thing.

I’m not sure why, but as I happened to walk down the seasonal aisle of the CVS yesterday on my way to the pharmacy counter, it just hit me that I don’t want to buy into the hype anymore.

The more entrenched I get in this whole foods lifestyle and the more I feel the ill effects of sugar on my own body, the less tolerance I have for the “everything in moderation” mantra that our modern culture loves to embrace.

I always seem to ruffle a few feathers when I start preaching against the evils of sugar, but honestly, the more I learn, the more I’m convinced the stuff is addictive and destructive.

On the one hand, I don’t want to be a total killjoy and deprive my kids of one of America’s favorite past times. After all, this is the land of the free and the home of the cheap-food-that-is-killing-us-so-slowly-we-don’t-even-realize-it.

Okay, so I always did have a flare for the melodrama.

But on the other hand, I don’t see the sense in loading my kids up with crap candy that I’m just going to find a way to throw away when they aren’t looking.

So this year I’d like to give more thought to what I put in their baskets. Usually I run out to CVS the night before Easter and grab whatever’s left in the seasonal candy aisle. (Bonus if I walked by the Dollar Spot at Target earlier in the week and picked up a few decorative note pads or a pack of sidewalk chalk to toss in for good measure.)

But this year I want to do something different, and that’s going to require a little more thought and planning than I usually put into it. I want to make sure the baskets are special so the kids don’t feel like they’re missing out when they aren’t filled with artificially enhanced sugar and cheap chocolate.

So I’m wondering. What do you put in your kids’ Easter baskets? (Besides candy, that is.)

And what else do you do to make the holiday special?

Some years we decorate eggs. The kids love that, of course.

C always did take her art projects seriously.

We always go shopping for new Easter outfits, which I realize is more for me than for them.

Easter 2007
Easter 2010

Of course, as a believer, Easter is about more than candy and bunnies and baskets, although I see no harm in participating in the cultural aspects of the holiday — except, of course, for the part where we overload our kids with toxic substances. But I certainly don’t want to neglect the true reason for the holiday.

When I was a 3rd grade teacher in Christian school, we used to use the Resurrection Eggs to explain the significance of Christ’s death and resurrection, although I never could get really excited about those gimmicky ideas like that. (Don’t even get me started about the resurrection cookies you always hear about this time of year.)

Then again, it doesn’t get much more gimmicky than an Easter bunny delivering a basket full of junk, and I never seemed to second guess the ludicrousness of that.

I guess I just feel that sometimes we end up making our religious celebrations a mockery. I know there are honorable intentions behind most of the gimmicks and gizmos, but that doesn’t make them the wisest choice for teaching our kids Biblical truths. And yet I hate to think that I spend more time shopping for outfits and filling Easter baskets than I do teaching my kids about the death and resurrection. We do have some beautiful Easter books that my parents have given us over the years that I like to read with the kids.

Yes, these are the things I lay awake at night thinking about. Okay, so I don’t lay awake at night EVER. But if I did, I’d be pondering these things. Instead, I blog about them.

So. Inquiring minds and all… How do you do Easter in your house?

Join the Conversation

52 thoughts on “How Do You Do Easter?

  1. We’ve never done Easter baskets or the Easter bunny around here. I really wanted the focus of Easter to be Christ and what he did for us. My kids are 7, 6 and 4 and what we’ve done the last 3 years is a summer fun basket instead. That way they don’t feel like they’re missing out on the opportunity to get a bunch of junk. On the last day of school they get one basket full of goodies I’ve picked up through out the year- paint, coloring books, games- stuff like that. Since I’m on the look out all year long I don’t have to plunk down a huge amount of money at once and I can wait for the good deals (after Christmas).
    We also do a cooking project together where we wrap crescent roll dough in sugar and cinnamon and wrap it around a marshmallow. You cook it in the oven and the marshmallow melts and the bread signifies Christ’s burial wrappings, but the “body” is gone. I don’t have the exact recipe on me- I have to google it ever year. The kids enjoy that too and it’s a great visual of the resurrection. Hope this helps!

    1. Oh, this is delicious! The larger crescent rolls work better than the smaller ones. Then use one large marshmallow or 2 smaller ones, a bit of butter and a dash of cinnamon. Wrap inside the crescent roll and seal well. Bake at 350 until golden.

  2. We don’t do the Easter bunny or all the crap candy either. Ladybug does have a school Easter egg hunt; I’ll let her have a samples of the crap candy, then it will get thrown out, just like Halloween.

    We do have an Easter basket, with a few nice gifts. So far I’ve planned to get her a new DVD and some nice hair bows (ahem, to match the cute Easter dress!).

    The one tradition from my childhood that I would like to continue but can’t justify is making Easter candy. I am on the same bandwagon as you regarding the evil of sugar. Our family only shared one cold this winter, no stomach bug, no flu. And I think part of that was due to the lack of immune-suppressing sugar in our diet.

    Great thoughts, JoLynne. I hope more people with THINK about why we buy into the “popular” way of celebrating holidays.

  3. We do dried fruit and yogurt covered raisins and a very small bit of GOOD chocolate along with small fun toys, notepads, pencils, etc… We also decorate eggs and like you – we get new outfits for the kids mostly for me :)!

    We try to focus mostly on what Easter really is about – but at the same time, have fun. So we go to church, we talk about Easter – about what Jesus did for us in the weeks leading up to Easter (throughout the whole year really) and on Easter Sunday, then we gather with the local family for dinner and an Easter Egg hunt.

  4. I’m with you on the candy thing in the Easter baskets. I’m not going to spend my money on something that I’m just going to try to find a way to throw out later. We usually put new bathing suits in Easter baskets. Maybe sunglasses, goggles, sidewalk chalk – spring/summer fun things.

    We always go to church and have some sort of get-together with friends or family.

  5. My grandma always made the ‘goodies’ in our easter baskets and I don’t recall us ever thinking of them as lesser. My kids wanted the candy but the one year it was more candy than books/art supplies/toys they complained. I heard my daughter on the phone telling her friend that she couldn’t wait to see what kind of journal she got in her basket this year. I hadn’t realized, until then, that we have been putting journals in her basket the last few years. Go figure.

    Easter grass, however, is the bane of my existence and I quit using it years ago! Hate that stuff!

  6. I bought both girls dolls from Baby Be Blessed that I am going to put into their Easter baskets. I am going to get some plastic eggs for Aubryn and fill them with tattoos and stickers. They are way more exciting to her than candy any day. We are going to dye easter eggs and I’ll hide them around the house for the girls. Of course, we’ll go to church and then do some sort of lunch afterwards…

  7. i think you’re wise as you rethink easter.
    unlike christmas, easter isn’t as tradition-heavy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start some.
    i acutally like the resurrection cookies (i didn’t click your link, but i’m talking about the meringue cookies you back overnight in the oven). even if your kids are little, it’s something you can do every year and each year your kids will glean more from the activity and the story and as they get older you can include more.
    as a christian, too, we like to celebrate our jewish beginnings and enjoy a believer’s passover. it’s a rich story of deliverance and such a foretaste of the messiah.
    our kids got baskets {always} from the g’parents, so i never really felt compelled to do more. we downplayed the “stuff” and focused on the “one.”
    my kids are grown and in college now… so it’ll be fun to begin some traditions we can pass on to the g’kiddles. but i’m hoping that will still be years away! {grin}
    hope your easter is super meaningful and a time of rejoicing!

  8. This year our family is starting a strict elimination diet right after Easter so while I don’t want to turn the weekend into a last meal pig-out session, I also want us to enjoy our treats while we can still have them. So I’m going for quality over quantity.

    I have a summery American Girl doll outfit I bought during a pre-Christmas sale. And the Easter Bunny always brings carrot seeds for the garden. A local baker makes delicious and beautifully decorated sugar cookies. And you can’t have Easter without a hunt for those dratted plastic eggs. Except I think I’ll fill most of them with beads instead of candy.

    1. Carrot seeds for the garden – what a great idea! And I think I got that same summery AG outfit. Is it a white eyelet dress? Too funny.

  9. I may open a can of worms here, but this is my take on it. I have never worried about my kids feeling like they’re “missing something” when I think the “something” is not for their good. I don’t believe that Christians have to have a substitute for every “ungodly” thing the world has to offer (“Ungodly” being defined for your family by your family’s standards). I want my kids to be able to examine a thing (tradition or whatever) and say, “No, that’s not right. I’m just not going to do that,” and not look back. I’m not saying the substitutes are necessarily wrong, just that sometimes God doesn’t give us a substitute. He just expects us to walk away from the bad things in life for no other reason than that they’re bad.

  10. We dont do baskets either. The kids do get new outfits and we normally get kites for each of them, as the weather starts to head in the right direction for kite flying this time of year. This year we may kick in a few dollar store jump ropes too, as for some reason, all 3 biggies are really into jumping rope.
    No candy baskets here. Just fun with the family 🙂

  11. I can sympathize with your Easter dilemma. With 4 kids, a simple basket/outfit for each can become quite a costly event. A few years back I decided to simplify.

    I get each kid a basket that can either be used in a cute organize-y sort of way in their room or in the house, so it’s not a waste, and you can find those at the dollar store. You could even stencil or monogram them to make them MORE special and part of the gift.

    Since my kids don’t watch a lot of tv/movies, they get a new movie, each, in their basket. That is the “big gift”. I usually start watching sales for new movies that are cheapest the week they come out, or older ones that we don’t have that are on sale for $5, $10.

    Beyond that, their might be ONE or 2 pieces of candy but that’s it!

    I think the problem with “everything in moderation” is that people don’t always have a realistic view of what “moderation” actually is. If a person thinks 20 pieces of candy is too much, and instead gives 10 she might think that is within moderation. I guess it’s a personal decision and it just depends on where you are with the whole cheap food is killing us thing 😉 (p.s. I’m pretty much with ya on that!)

  12. My son is only 3 but we’ve never included candy in Easter baskets and I told my parents to do the same (they give him an Easter basket as well). We include that Easter egg shaped sidewalk chalk, balls, bubbles, cars, etc. We haven’t really gone in depth about the true meaning of Easter but he does participate in Lenten activities alongside me (volunteering, Ash Wednesday, Holy Thursday, Rice Bowl Mission, etc.).

  13. So thankful for your post, and really enjoy the comments above as well. I have slao been offended at the idea that if you’re not doing Santa or the Easter bunny you’re not having any “fun.” Because Jesus came to earth and died for us isn’t fun you know? Sorry for the sarcasm, but seriously, being a Christian isn’t supposed to be fun and games. We are supposed to live for Jesus. So thanks for standing up and saying this.

    Anyway, my kids are small (3 and 4months), so I don’t feel like I have really figured it all out yet, but we do try to make Christmas about celebrating Jesus’ birth and joyfully giving to others (therefore we do gifts – but not over the top).

    For Easter this year I do have a few small gifts for Easter morning(no candy – they’ll get plenty of this after lunch from grandmas, but we do limit how much they can have), but I am not all together comfortable with this…not sure how to change it yet. For my oldest daughter I have sidewalk chalk and some other spring/summer things (she LOVES bubbles so I’ll probably do that too).

  14. For the last couple of years, my kids get a new pair of Crocs in their Easter baskets along with a new DVD and a little candy. I also just picked up today one of those spray bottles with the fan attached for both kids at Walmart – a good cheap way to fill up the basket!

  15. We always attend church on Easter and throughout the Lenten season.
    Sometimes, we dye Easter eggs. In the past, we have made Resurrection Rolls http://simplythingsfamily.blogspot.com/2009/04/resurrection-rolls.html. Last year, I started an egg hunt in the home when they first wake up. I include coins and small pieces of candy. Also, we will be hosting for the first time this year. My husband and I want to make a memorable tradition for our whole family, as well as celebrate the reason for the holiday.
    I do Easter baskets with some candy. I usually include a nice toy for them or to share (they don’t get many gifts throughout the year, so this is something special). One year it was a soccer ball. This year my oldest will get a tween devotional, my son a Rubic’s Magic puzzle and my little one a home for her Zhu Zhu pet.
    I am hoping with Easter being later this year, it will not snow. We will be celebrating my daughter’s 11th birthday, as well. SInce it is in early May, I thought this would be nice with having all the family together.

  16. I almost forgot. We always buy the children special clothes for Easter. This is another topic, but I am always appalled at how some children are dressed on holidays (especially boys). Your children always look adorable.

  17. I’m giving both of my girls Pillow Pets because they have been asking for them since Thanksgiving. They don’t need to know that I bought the Valentine one’s (red puppy dogs) half price weeks ago. Their Easter treats are always some sort of new spring/outside toy and it’s always from Mommy & Daddy and not a stupid, scary, giant rabbit.

  18. As a tradition I buy my grand kids the Nightmare Before Easter Basket from BaronBob.com.
    This thing is a hoot. It has an actual diaper in it with chocolate poo, a giant gummy bear and snake. Salt n’ Vinegar Crickets. Bacon Gumballs and a few other off beat treats. The traditional hollow chocolate bunny is still included. http://www.baronbob.com/alternative-funnyeasterbasket.htm
    They’re running a coupon thats good for 16.3% off until 4/15 its the words, “BIG BUNNY”

  19. We do Easter Baskets that they get after church. I might do a few treats in them, but I always include some sort of “religious” gift…book, DVD, picture, etc. The fact is that Easter is one of the two biggest FEAST days of the year. Even though I’m super conscious and strict about what we put into our bodies, I allow some “feasting” on sweets on Easter. In recent years, our entire family has given up sweets for Lent so it’s a nice celebration for us to indulge a little. We usually spend the 40 days before Easter focusing on Christ’s life and Passion and really spend Holy Week (the week before Easter) with a quiet, somber, sacrificial attitude. After all of that, I certainly hope my kids get that Easter is about the Risen Lord, not the rabbit. 🙂 (Don’t mean for that to sound holier than thou. We just follow the liturgical calendar) I think this is why preparatory seasons like Advent and Lent are nice…it really leads beautifully into the celebration of the feast days of Christmas and Easter respectively. We usually have some sort of thing going on during Lent…like placing beans in a jar for every little sacrifice made and then that jar full of beans becomes a jar full of jelly beans on Easter morning…or, placing flowers on a cardboard cross for every act of mercy or sacrifice to have a flower-filled cross on Easter. Thanks for posting this. I feel the same way about all of the candy. Maybe some homemade treats in the baskets would be better?

  20. There is always the struggle between the secular and non-secular issues with holidays! Within our family we struggle as well (my SIL chose not to “do” Santa and the EB with her children, and we have different ideas with our family). We try to balance it. I struggle to give up the traditions that make the holidays magical while still understanding the real meaning of those special days. So we balance!

    Easter will be new outfits, church, Resurection Eggs (only because they are little and it’s similar to an Advent Calendar)…and egg hunts and baskets from the Easter Bunny. We try to do outdoor kind of toys…but there might be American Girl Doll appearing this year!

  21. Jesus looks at people’s hearts. He wants his children to have a personal relationship with him and be in fellowship with him every day- not just on Easter. So if we celebrate with candy and colorful baskets I don’t think He minds.

  22. We always did something we refered to as the Spring Fling a couple of weeks before Easter itself. We hid the plastic eggs around for the little kids, etc. That way by Easter Sunday it was already “old news” to our kids (I mean the baskets and hoopla was old news, not the real reason of Easter was old news!!).

    Now that I have a 4 year old grandson we want to hide eggs, etc, but the only candy he will eat are red or pink starburst. Any other ideas about what to put in the plastic eggs to make that fun for him? We tried nickels and pennies last year, but he doesn’t have a concept of money yet.

    1. At our house the game of hiding and finding eggs could be a year-round activity if I’d allow it. But I can’t stand the things and hide them in the holiday box after a couple of weeks.

      Stickers are always a hit at our house. As are tattoos. Puzzle pieces if the eggs are big enough or the pieces small enough. For girls, all the little plastic collectables like ponies and pet shop animals and pocket clothes can fit into plastic eggs. Alphabet magnet letters might fit into bigger eggs. Standard-sized legos and some duplo blocks. (For some of these you could put whatever fits into the eggs and then have the rest of the them in the basket.)

  23. We don’t do baskets or candy and never have. They do get some sort of gift which varies from year-to-year depending on their age, interests, and our budget. This year we aren’t doing any gifts and are doing a trip instead. My husband happens to have a work trip scheduled over Easter so we are joining him—to Boston which neither the kids nor I have ever been to. We are really trying to buy less “stuff” and spend the money on experiences/outings, etc. That being said, like most kids in this country, our kids have way too many toys than they know what to do with and end up with candy thanks to the grandparents anyway.

  24. Aww, your kiddos were so little! So cute to see how they’ve grown:). We’re doing an Easter egg hunt/ brunch with my moms group and other than that probably nothing since Bubs is only 2 so what does he know. Lol

  25. I tend to celebrate Easter in a big way. My mom did when I was growing up and I loved it. I actually remember the year that I was “too grown up” for Easter (that’s a long story). My kids get baskets that I fill and decorate with candy, small toys, and one big toy (like $20 – 25). We also dye eggs and they get hidden for them to find when they wake up.

    This year they will not get as much candy as they have in the past. I realize that I always go over the top. They don’t need it and neither do I. I will probably include more spring/summer type things like mentioned above.

  26. We don’t do food in the baskets at all. With my daughter’s allergies, it is just simpler not to make holidays all about the food. We hide plastic eggs. This year I am going to put some bird seed in there so we can feed the birds as we find eggs. I generally do a spring basket with items for gardening in there…(magnifying glasses, garden kid gloves, binoculars, bird books and seeds). This is a tradition I plan on keeping.

  27. I never do candy. I usually give my girls a bathing suit and flip flops and some kind of outside toy. I have put a ds game in the past also. One year, they all got new bike helmets as the basket and a bathing suit and flip flops. I’m sure this year we will not change it up much.

  28. Oh my gosh, you know I love your blog but geez…what’s wrong with one day of a little candy? I DO agree that kids get wayyyy too much and over the past few years we’ve made an effort not to attend agazillion Easter Egg huntathons. I also make an effort to just not load up the basket, but I guess I just don’t see the harm in a chocolate bunny and some Peeps? The rest of the basket usually has a fun water bottle or a new book or something springy and that’s it.

    I guess growing up I didn’t have a mom who was such a helicopter mom about food and I’m fine. I’m not obese, I love to exercise and we all stay in shape. I’m not addicted to sugar and I’m not writing this under a haze of psychotherapeutic drugs AND I am a semi-productive (i.e. full time mom, part-time employee) human so I think she did ok.

    The kids I knew whose parents were just rigorously strict about certain things went NUTS when they went off to college. I grew up where my mom wasn’t strict about everything and yet we still didn’t overindulge in anything (sex,alcohol,drugs…didn’t touch them!) but yet when I went away to college I didn’t just throw myself at all of that craziness.

    My vote is let your kids have a few fun candy items and then limit the rest. It’s just one day for heavens sake.

  29. Our kids have personalized Easter baskets that they set out every year (like stockings at Christmas) in which the Easter Bunny leaves treats for them. We don’t give our kids very many sweets so we mainly put non-food items in the baskets.

    Since spring is in the air and summer is around the corner the basket goodie are usually related to outdoor fun and play or needed items–bubbles, sunglasses, sidewalk chalk, kites, new outfit or swimsuit, beach towel, flip flops, sun block stick, etc. We also might put in books, puzzles, educational items, dvds and/or cds. We’re trying to teach our kids about moderation so we’ll put in a few pieces of candy and/or organic bunny gummy candy and crackers (like goldfish but bunny shaped, I think Annie’s is the brand name). The kids like to decorate real eggs so we usually do that on Saturday before Easter. The kids also like to search for hidden eggs on Easter morning so hubby and I hide plastic eggs filled with coins or stickers (no candy) and hide them around the house and yard.

    We definitely focus on the reason for Easter. We attend church where they have many fun activities for the kids to participate in before the service.

  30. How we do Easter depends on if we are in town or not. A couple of years Easter has coincided with spring break and we’ve been out of town, and a couple of times we were out of town visiting DH’s family. When we were out of town, those years were years my kids still believed in the Easter Bunny, so DH and the kids would load up in the car before we left for the airport, and then I would hide the baskets real quick before we left. When we are in town, we find the hidden baskets and eggs in the morning. Sometimes we go to Church after that, sometimes we’ve gone the night before.

    My kids each get a DVD or DS game in their basket and I usually buy 2 bags of candy and split that amongst the 4 of us. Everyone also gets some sort of chocolate bunny too then. I used to do little junk toys or chalk, but they are a little too old for that now and I am sick of junky toys.

  31. I haven’t really established any traditions for Easter yet. So far, we’ve done an Easter Egg hunt everywhere, just because it’s fun. But I only put a few pieces of candy in the eggs, mostly it’s stickers and other small items that I know the boys enjoy and will play with (they really like those sticky guys that you can throw onto walls LOL)

    I’ve never done Easter baskets and don’t plan too because it’s just excess that we don’t need around here. And I can’t really explain the baskets anyways. Christmas and birthday presents make sense to me. Easter? Does not.

    I’m still trying to decide what we will do for Easter as far as our faith is concerned. I really like Holy Experience’s wooden countdown to Easter and have considered getting that. I also think Lent is a good thing to participate in…even though it’s not technically a part of our faith. I tend to fall into traditions though so ask me in another couple years what I do LOL

  32. I can relate to so much of what you’re saying here… I do give each of my boys an Easter basket. I give them a little candy but I put other things in, too, and they’re always more excited about the gifts than the candy. This year they’re getting baseball cards, swim goggles, books, new pens/markers and devotionals. (I bought my nine year old the Jesus Calling devotional for kids and I love it.) My little guy has a green thumb so he’s also getting a few of those tiny terracotta planters with vegetable seeds from the Target dollar section.

    I am Protestant now but I grew up Catholic and one thing I miss about Catholicism is the solemnity of Good Friday. When I was growing up, our house was quiet (no t.v., radio, telephone, conversations) on Good Friday between the hours of noon and 3:00 p.m. (the time I was taught that Jesus died) so that we could be prayerful and reflect on Jesus’ sacrifice for us. Now that my boys are old enough, I’d like to start a similar tradition. I love Easter Sunday’s message of salvation, joy and renewal but I think it’s even more meaningful when we spend some time reflecting on Good Friday.

  33. Were basically a no sugar household, but for special occasions I go to Trader Joes and get dark chocolate covered almonds, or those choclate dipped sunflower seeds for my kids. Its still sweet, but dark choclate is ok once in a while (my belief), and nuts are a the surprise in the middle 🙂
    Once your kids are off of sugar, they really dont want it or crave it.
    Good luck in your sugar journey, I believe it is so unhealthy for us and is a fuel for diseases in our bodies.

  34. Oh, and I forgot to mention that I fill plastic eggs with the dk choc almonds and sunflower seeds 🙂 And I also put quarters in some of the plastic eggs too (mine love money)

  35. I struggle with Easter, to be honest. My kids are 5 and 2.5. The little one doesn’t get it. The older one, Lizzy, is fascinated with all things Jesus right now. She actually wants to go to church, which is always a stressful rather than peaceful experience b/c of the 2.5yo.

    But anyway – Easter flummoxes me because it’s so hard to explain to a little kid. At least for me. So far I have been glazing over the how Jesus died part and been focusing on the resurrection part. But Lizzie asks lots of questions and I don’t know how to answer them without scaring her!

    We do the baskets and eggs and pretty dresses and nice meal and all the rest. The church we go to at my mom’s is extremely kid-friendly so it’s a lot less stressful than at my house. But the actual “why and how” of Easter … aka the stuff that really matters … I’m still working on that.

    1. I’m sure you’re not alone. I think the how and why of Easter flummoxes many adults too. 🙂

      I think it helps to start at the beginning – with the story of creation and the fall and our sinful hearts and our need of a Savior. And then why Jesus had to die, and how it was God’s plan all along and he did so willingly. Keeping it simple, of course.

      The Two Ways to Live materials are really helpful for all ages – they make one for kids. Although it’s still aimed at kids older than yours, it might be helpful.

      http://www.matthiasmedia.com.au/who-will-be-king

  36. “But on the other hand, I don’t see the sense in loading my kids up with crap candy that I’m just going to find a way to throw away when they aren’t looking.”

    I could not feel this statement any deeper in my soul.

    That sounds a bit dramatic, but it is exactly how I feel. I have actually caught myself cringing at the stores lately….the candy and junk sugar is just EVERY. WHERE. Now that I actually know what is in that stuff, I don’t want my kids touching it with a 10 foot pole.

    I’ve dealt with this for a couple of years now, with our homecoming parade (and the four plastic BAGS of candy we brought home from that one!) in October, Halloween in November, then Christmas, Valentines Day, then Easter….goodness gracious. It’s overload, to say the least.

    I used to do the same thing–give them a few pieces, then slowly pitch the rest when I know they aren’t looking. But a couple of years ago, I just thought to myself, “WHY? Why am I buying this stuff, to just end up throwing away?”

    So, I conquered it by filling eggs with coins (my boys–now 7, 5, and 4–are much more excited about money anymore, anyway!!) and some paper money–mostly ones–and little trinkets. We usually give them a total of $11 each–that way, they keep 10 and tithe one dollar :-)) I bought small, glow-in-the-dark bugs (they’re in a bug phase right now….) for $1 at Target–a bag of 24 of them. That will fill a lot of eggs! (We do an egg hunt in the early afternoon each year, after Sunday morning service–but we don’t do the Easter Bunny or anything along those lines. They know the eggs are hidden by and from Mom and Dad.)

    Target’s dollar spot has a lot of cool things for a buck–this year, I am adding spiderman socks, a small book, and a squishy bug to each basket. Oh, and also playdough–a couple of cans for each of them…..but, technically, we needed new playdough anyway–this is just an excuse to give it to them :-).

    And my favorite thing to give–Bible based books. They are each getting a new devotional type book, plus some Berenstein Bear books as well (the ones that come from the Christian book store and are Bible themed. Very cute.) It seems like a lot, and probably is, but the things–I feel–are good things that they will really enjoy that won’t go bad. And the Bibles/books are something they will always have.

    I’m SO much happier giving these things than candy!!

  37. We usually like to focus on the true meaning of the holiday by filling our kids baskets with christian books and, if they are in need of a new bible, this is when the receive it. We don’t do much for candy, and if we do, it is with the understanding that it is for after church only. I usually try to have something special for breakfast to take their focus away from candy filled baskets – like a pancake topping bar with all different fruits, peanut butter, cinnamon, and whipped cream (if you whip it yourself, you can do it without adding sugar). Plus everything can be made in advance (even the batter), so the morning of, you still have time to get that big sunday dinner started.

  38. I love this…

    “But on the other hand, I don’t see the sense in loading my kids up with crap candy that I’m just going to find a way to throw away when they aren’t looking.”

    So true!

    I’ve tried to cut way back on candy and use Easter baskets as a way to stock up on supplies for spring–sidewalk chalk and bubbles are pretty regular basket-fillers around here. I also tend to get a new Bible or some other Christian story for the kids.

    I’m so tired of all of these holidays that just seem to be an excuse to give kids plastic crap and lousy candy–glad I’m not the only one!

  39. I started out doing baskets with Spring fun stuff…like one year it was mini gardening tools, another year spring jammies, no candy back then. Funny the grandparents could not understand why when my DS was 2 years old I did not want them giving him a basket full of candy, I mean he had never had candy yet, he was only 2 years old! A few years later I relented and unfortunately now we get inundated with candy by all the grandparents.
    Now I do buy a couple of favorite candies for each of my DS, but always focus more on a few small toys in the baskets, although I think I’d be happier w/o any baskets.

    It is funny just this week my 12 yo decided to clean out the “candy & gum area” in the pantry where the boys have baskets/containers for their stash…he threw out Christmas candy he said was 2 yrs old, and LY Easter candy, too. Guess I don’t really need to bother this year!

  40. We never celebrated Easter growing up, but I’m having a lot of fun getting into holidays with Noob Baby since it’s like a totally new experience for me, and a really special way for hubby to share some things he did as a kid with our daughter. This year, hubby offered to paint eggs with NB, which I’m really excited to watch (he’s totally not crafty!). We’ll also do a little egg hunt in the backyard with some coins and jellybeans in the eggs. She doesn’t care too much about the candy since she’s just turning 3 … it’s all about the hunt! I think I’ll put together a basket with a nice stuffed toy, a new book, and maybe some coloring or painting books that she loves. It makes me sick to see all that candy as well. We gave away all her Halloween candy, and I think the other books or toys will be much more appreciated anyway. Perhaps I’ll crochet her a little bunny … she’s been asking for a mini bunny to match the bigger one I made her awhile back.

  41. Well, I am not a parent, but my family has always done Easter baskets filled with candy. Although we are older my mom still makes us baskets. This year, I told her that I don’t really need candy. I’d much rather have socks, or a giftcard to my favorite store. SInce your kids are still young, here are some non-sugar ideas to fill the basket.

    You could do themed baskets. Although these may take more time, they are much more fun than just candy. Just say your daughter loves to garden, fill her basket with colorful seed packets, a pair of gardening gloves, a few cheap intriguing gardening tools, and a small watering can filled with a few chocolate carrots. You could even add a rainbow pinwheel, or even a stuffed animal.

    Another option is is a a “sleep over basket.” Fill it with a pair of slippers, a silly joke book, a new pair of PJ’s, a night light, and a small bag of jelly beans.

    There are so many great things to fill the basket with according to your kid’s personality. Just because they are nicer baskets, doesn’t mean they need to be expensive. Here is a great idea “link” for you to look at! Have a blessed Easter Season!

    http://www.heraldextra.com/momclick/parenting/article_8eab9da6-5d60-11e0-aa8f-001cc4c03286.html

    1. Forgot to add one thing. It makes it much more fun if you hide the baskets before the kiddos get up. That way, it will be a surprise for them and a mini hunt for easter baskets. That is our tradition, and as they get older, the hiding places can become harder. Great places are like the dishwasher, underneath a pile of blankets, or inside the dogs kennel (w/o the dog of course.) You could even do a scavenger hunt with little notecard hints for the baskets instead of a easter egg hunt. It is more work, but that way you don’t need to buy more junk toys, and think of things to fill the eggs with. 🙂

  42. Something sort of unique my family did and I now do with my boys (2 and 6 months) is a new bathing suit and small outdoor toys like bubbles or sidewalk chalk. I love the bathing suit though! Its a perfect way for us to kick off the warm weather!

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