As if Christmas in December and Christmas in July isn’t enough (though I don’t really know anyone who celebrates Christmas in July) we now have Christmas in the spring. Apparently it’s called Easter. Watch out Santa. There’s a target on your back and a bunny armed with eggs. You better hope they’re of the chocolate kind.
I’ve been reading my share of Lenten devotionals and posts from friends and favorite bloggers about the observation of Lent, fasting and feasting, but it was Sunday’s article and the increasingly larger Easter/”Spring” display at various stores that caught my eye.
Apparently the Easter Bunny is gaining popularity in the malls. It isn’t enough to take your kids dressed up in their holiday best to the mall to sit on some strange man’s lap, sorry, I mean Santa’s lap. Now you can do it with a different color palette and a big, giant bunny rabbit. Do you think they cry less for the bunny?
As a parent, this whole Easter basket turned bigger first hit my radar before my youngest was even born. A very kind neighbor dropped of a huge Easter basket for my two kids. It was taller than my son was at the time, and maybe I’m exaggerating, but it was big and full of candy and little toys.
On some level we deserve this. Peter and I lied to our kids and played along with Santa. For the record Santa gives one little gift and Mom & Dad give the other gifts and fill the stockings. And we told them about the Tooth Fairy. Apparently some Tooth Fairies give out $5s and $10s. Not here. $1 even if they pull the tooth out on their own. That actually happens quite a bit here.
Now my parents over time adopted what we knew as “American” traditions, including the tooth fairy, celebrating our Sweet 16th and “golden” birthdays, and the gift of a small treat of Easter chocolate and jelly beans in a small basket with plastic grass that disappeared and then reappeared most years. The point is that the basket of chocolate eggs and the Sweet 16 party were the same for me and my parents – American traditions not Christian traditions.
Anyway, about two years ago one of the kids came home to ask if the Easter bunny was going to leave them a gift just like their some of his friends’ Easter bunny does. The boys’ playmates would talk about what they were hoping to get on Easter, and each year what I see in the stores sets the pace – bigger displays and advertisements in the Sunday paper about Easter baskets and toys for Easter.
So I suppose it was only time before the bunny came a hopping for a piece of our consumer pie. Right? But is it right? Does it matter? How many more holidays – religious, pagan, religious made pagan and vice versa and simply made up become all about creating memories and buying stuff for our kids or for one another? How have you or where have you drawn the line in terms of Santa and the Easter Bunny?
I’ll write more later on why the Easter Bunny and the Christmas tree are important in our understanding of culture and a Western/American Christianity…I know you’re at the edge of your seats…
I love your blog, Kathy! You write about many of the same things on my mind. Easter bunnies being one of them. My kids will never have Easter baskets — I won’t even make a ham…..Bah humbug……
I grew up with Easter baskets. They were filled with a lot of stuff, but inexpensive stuff. My mom hid them and we searched. I’m keeping this tradition, including the cheap part. One year, we filled the basket with treats from H-mart and one year from the Target $1 spot. I’m also known (for all holidays) to make the gifts practical like sippy cups and potty seats 🙂
We don’t do the Easter bunny or Santa, but Emma wants to believe in them, so she plays along with the rest of the world just like people do at Disneyland with the “real Cinderella.”
For two years, Emma has done an egg hunt with my Chicago relatives. When she was 2, I wanted to beat my head against the wall because we were taking a two year old out to get chocolate covered candy. Now she’s talking about it for this year. My mom just had us die hard boiled eggs and search for them. I think we’ll go back to my mom’s way…or go to the YMCA egg hunt for the sake of doing something in the community.