As an ex-communicated Mormon, religious holidays don’t have the same “punch” they used to when I was younger and deeply involved in the Church.
My partner is Catholic and her experience with organized religion was not quite as deep or intense as mine was and she still finds peace and comfort attending church on the occasional Sunday. Yet, we both love the current Pope Francis and his ethos of accepting all of God’s children.
As such, we celebrate religious holidays. However, I want to ensure what we are celebrating actually has some sort of connection to the meaning behind the season.
When I was a little girl all I really remember about Easter was having to dress up in nice clothes (which I loathed) and attend a looooooooong church service followed by a family photograph session and hearing “Bethany, stop getting your nice clothes dirty” speeches from the adults.
After the obligatory church service we usually had a meal which included food I didn’t enjoy eating...so again, I patiently waited...waited for what my Easter was really about...eggs, chocolate, and bunnies.
Even though I have personally moved away from organized religion, I do believe that all children benefit from being taught a moral code from a young age. It doesn’t have to be based on a specific religion...it could be as simple as living by the Golden Rule: Do unto others what you you would have done to yourself.
That being said I want to celebrate the Easter Holiday with my children AND reflect on its meaning of rebirth, life, and new beginnings.
Until this year I felt a proper Easter basket was an unnecessary expense since the children were young and not cognitively capable of understanding what we were celebrating. They are now 4 and 5 years old and I believe old enough to “get it.” (My mother and sister have always felt the children needed “something” on Easter and would provide eggs for hunting, a few toys, and chocolate goodies.)
Since I don’t want my children thinking like I did, that Easter was about candy and goodies, I worked hard to come up with basket ideas that coincided with the idea of sacrifice and rebirth….AND I didn’t want to break the bank.
Off to Target I went to find inspiration and find it I did with children’s gardening tools.
Of course! Gardening! Spring is the rebirth of the mother earth. This time of year plants peek out from freshly thawing dirt and give us hope that the eternal cold of winter will in fact NOT last forever.
Another thing that happens in the spring is the return of bugs. Flies buzzing, ants crawling and insects in general begin to appear. Even after what seemed like death eternal (winter), the bugs come back alive and well and ready to pester us for another summer season.
Consequently, the kids’ Easter baskets are filled with gardening gear for the yard and of course plastic bugs. The bugs represent new life (after hibernating) and they help pollinate the flowers that will grow from the seeds that they plant.
It’s a win-win!!!! What kid doesn’t like fake bugs, seeds, and tools to dig in the dirt? Not only do they have fun but they get gifts which are appropriate for the message and presented in a way their little minds can grasp.
Keep life simple for yourself and your children. I spent a total of $30.00 on their baskets this year. When they crack open a plastic egg they may find a fake fly, a creepy crawler, or the occasional chocolate (shaped like a bug of course).
PS: I don’t allow the children anything gummy/fruit snacks/etc because our dentist said it’s awful for teeth. He said he would prefer the children to eat as much chocolate as they want; limit sugar candy and never allow anything gummy. Just FYI.