Growing up, my parents weren’t much for traditions; particularly, western traditions. We were a religious family, attending church on Sunday and participating in the fellowship that followed, and while we did exchange gifts at Christmas without ever referring to “Santa Claus” in any way, the concept of an Easter basket or a Christmas stocking was one that my parents either had no interest in, or didn’t know much about.
When my kids were born, I was determined not to succumb to the “excess” that these goodie-bags bring about. I declared in the first year that I was not going to fill stockings or baskets full of unnecessary loot. At “Baby’s First Christmas”, we hung stockings that never got filled – we have yet to fill the stockings with anything as I honestly just like the way it looks hanging from the fireplace mantle more than anything else. The first two years of my kids’ lives, the Easter Bunny was just a terrifying creature that we would see at the mall. This year, however, I changed my mind and decided that the Easter bunny was going to become part of our annual family tradition.
Truthfully, the only reason why I changed my mind was because the kids have been talking about the Easter Bunny NONSTOP. The kids at preschool have told them that the Easter Bunny comes and leaves these AMAZING baskets full of candy and goodies, and for the past few weeks, my kids have been relaying all of this new intel to me:
“Mom, did you know that a big bunny that comes to your house and leaves you candy. His name is the Easter Bunny.”
“Mom, how does the Easter Bunny come into our house? Does he come in the front door?
“I can’t wait for the Easter Bunny to visit my home…I will give him a hug. Do you think he will bring me jelly beans?
And so on, and so forth. After hearing their excitement, how could I deny them the fun of participating in the traditions in which many of their classmates will undoubtedly participate? And so, I started a new family tradition: a weekend that starts with a special breakfast (M&M pancakes), a lot of simple but special family time (we went for a family run and played in Daddy’s Garden), and simple Easter baskets filled with: 2 treats (plastic egg filled with jelly beans, and a pack of 4 mini chocolate bunnies), 2 practical necessities (a tube of toothpaste, and a school pack with safety scissors and pair of pens), and 2 items of whimsy (a bottle of bubbles and a sheet of stickers). That’s it.
Get the theme? Simple and special.
Our weekend was memorable enough that when I tucked my kids in bed, my daughter said that she had “so much fun with Mommy and Daddy” and asked if we could do it again next week. As I was leaving their room, my son asked if it would be ok if we invited the Easter Bunny next year to share in their special breakfast together with them.
Today, I received a bit of a lecture from someone I know who basically said that unless I tie Easter to the religious message that usually accompanies it, then I am not embracing the true meaning of Easter. Without saying it outright, that person implied that I had no real place in giving my kids the Easter baskets that I did simply because church was not part of our equation. This is not intended to be a post about the religious meanings of Easter or the right/wrong in embracing the religious traditions that surround it but all religion aside, I found this slightly off-putting. My true motivation in participating in the Easter traditions was to create our own family tradition that I hope will last us through the years: taking time out of our busy worlds to appreciate each other, and remind ourselves of the things that we can and should be thankful for. To me, that is what the holidays are all about.