Thursday, April 9, 2009

Hippity Hop Easter's On It's Way...

How Are You Celebrating the Holidays?

We celebrate Easter in my family. But what does it really mean – to celebrate Easter? We are not a particularly religious family, my husband has been known to attend church every now and then, but not the rest of us for a variety of reasons. Somehow, though, I turn inward at this time of year and try to get in touch with what Easter, and the sense of renewal, means. As I have raised my children, I have tried very hard to bring about some sort of meaning of Easter for them – so that it means more than the Easter bunny, eggs and candy. Yet I worry that we missed the boat. My sons look forward to Easter baskets – even now at ages 11 and 13. Back when I was a consumer-aholic, I fell into the trap of ‘gifting’ at any opportunity. Even if it was only a few treats and a stuffed animal when they were younger, the pattern became set: Easter means gifts. My younger son even talked about an ‘Easter list’ last week. Yikes. I told him quite quickly that there would not be any lists generated. He seemed crushed. Oh, what have I done??
I really like the idea of Passover, where you have particular traditions for very important reasons. I suppose Easter has it’s own traditions and rituals for some folks, perhaps just not for me. If you always have ham at Easter, I guess you could call that a tradition – but not the type I am looking for. Do holidays become less holy if you do not have traditions that carry over? Is it acceptable to celebrate Easter (or Christmas for that matter) when you do not consider yourself to be particularly religious? That it has become another consumer-friendly occasion to pour out love and affection in the form of fluffy bunnies and stale marshmallow chickens makes me sad and frustrated.
So how do you undo something like training your children to be consumer-aholics around the holidays? How do you bring them a sense of understanding that at this time of year, we consider the renewal of life, rather than the renewal of credit balances?
The answer I have is to create a sense of peace at home, including nearby family members, good food and (cheap) fun. This Easter, we will spend time with my inlaws here in Massachusetts. We will have a meal, cooked by all of us – pot luck style – and enjoy each others’ company. Prior to that, I will make a special breakfast for everyone in my household – strawberry crepes was the routine when I was growing up – and we will hang around in our pajamas as long as possible. Someone will read the paper, someone will read a book, and others may make or listen to music – a wonderful laid-back Sunday. My boys insist they want to dye eggs and have a hunt in the yard, but I would love to let go of this tradition. We don’t eat too many eggs to begin with, and especially not hard boiled. I don’t mind the coloring of them, but the eating – they just rot in the fridge. I will have to see if I can get around this one.

So how do you celebrate Easter/Passover?

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Last year I also was not up for the egg hunt, but my kids then 13 and 16 still wanted to do it. But there was a twist. They wanted to hide the eggs for all of the adults. It was really quite fun, and I would opt for it again in a heartbeat! Here's to celebrating Spring, rebirth and renewal!