When I was little, like, say, 16 years old, we had what would likely be our last Easter egg hunt. I remember because my brother and I both lunged for the big Cadbury Creme Egg at the same time and I shamelessly laid claim to it by smashing my foot down on it.
And then I ate it with a giant grin on my face.
It was not my proudest moment, but when I look back at the memory, I chuckle every time. I also have to laugh when I think of the many times we would find foil-wrapped chocolate eggs randomly around the house in July or September. Atop curtain rods. Inside a lamp. That Easter Bunny was clever.
And every year, the Easter egg hunt rocked.
Though the Easter egg hunt is a tradition that has been passed down to our children, it is not the only way we celebrate the Easter holiday. In fact, here are five traditions — and, yes, ‘fun factor’ ranks high — that we celebrate for this Spring holiday.
Our 5 Easter Traditions
1. Dyeing Hard-Boiled Eggs
It’s true. We buy the cheapest eggs we can find just so we can boil them and dye them. It’s the simplest craft idea, is not overly time consuming or über messy. Plus this is a great way for big kids to give little kids a hand.
To colour the eggs: Mix 1/2 cup boiling water, 1 teaspoon vinegar and 10 to 20 drops food colouring in a cup to achieve desired colours. (The more drops you add, the deeper the shade.) Repeat for each colour. Dip hard-boiled eggs in dye for about 5 minutes (the longer they sit, the darker the colour). Use a small spoon or wire egg holder (these sometimes come in kits) to add and remove eggs from the cups. Let dry (the egg carton is great for this.)
Some fun and easy design ideas: Draw design on the egg in white wax crayon before colouring. The design will show through the dye. We have also experimented with wrapping rubber bands around the eggs which creates fun stripes after the egg is removed from the dye and the bands taken off. We’ve also done half-and-half eggs (half one colour then flipped and dipped into another — a bit tricky). Or mix it up by dipping in one colour then removing, let dry and dip in a second colour.
2. Attending Palm Sunday Mass
While we attend church most Sundays (or Saturdays, as the case may be), I really enjoy the meaningful masses that surround Christmas and Easter. They can be very beautiful. And though my kids many not quite ‘get’ the meaning yet, this is something that is important for me to pass along to them.
To be perfectly honest, when I was a kid, I loved playing with the palms on Palm Sunday — braiding them or fashioning them into crosses. I like to think this is a small tradition my children will remember fondly one day.
3. Baking and Decorating Easter Cookies
I love an excuse to bake. I don’t need an excuse, mind you, but baking is so much fun when there’s a theme involved. Plus I get to bust out the Easter-shape cookie-cutters!
Many sugar cookie recipes — including the one for my favourite cream cheese sugar cookies — yield quite a few cookies so hosting a Cookie-Decorating Party is an awesome excuse to get friends together for an afternoon of sweet, sprinkle-filled fun. Plus, all the guests get to take home their edible creations. How perfect! (Could I possibly say ‘cookie’ any more times??)
4. Easter Egg Hunt
There is no Easter complete without an Easter egg hunt. There. I said it. Yes, our children are being taught the meaning behind the Easter holiday, just as they are taught the meaning of Christmas. But that doesn’t mean we need to tone down the fun factor.
The annual Easter egg hunt is a tradition that has been passed down to our kids, much like attending mass on Palm Sunday, decorating eggs and leaving homemade cookies and carrots out for the Easter Bunny. But just so we avoid another Cadbury-Creme-Egg-Squashing incident, we’ve come up with a creative solution that has worked really well for us.
Easter Egg Hunt Etiquette: I don’t know if you know it or not, but Mr. E. Bunny is one bright rabbit. Also, when it comes to chocolate, kids are greedy. My kids will fight tooth and nail to find all the eggs.
In order to avoid mass meltdowns, Mr. Bunny has left, for the past 4-5 years, a rhyming letter addressed to the kids, with instructions for the hunt. Plastic eggs are colour-coded for each child and they know how many are hidden. It may seem ridiculous but this has made the hunts so much fun for the kids as they search for their eggs!
5. Big Lamb Dinner with Friends
My husband and I have always loved hosting guests in our home. Holidays make sharing food and friendship — particularly since we don’t live near family — all that more special. Easter is no exception. We set the table with white linens and the good silver (the kids love Easter-themed paper plates!) Tulips add a beautiful pop of colour.
My husband eagerly puts together a beautiful lamb dinner and too many appetizers. And then I get annoyed that everyone is too full for my oft-requested carrot cake and Easter Trifle (it’s actually an English trifle, but I made it at Easter that one time so it has been re-named Easter Trifle). I’ve suggested — on more than one occasion — that we begin dinner with dessert first, but my husband shut down that idea. Pfft. In the end, we all end up in a food coma and it’s a beautiful thing.
So there you have it: eggs, chocolate, cookies, palms, food, more food, friends and family. What more do you need in life, really? I’d love to hear which traditions you celebrate at Easter. Share them in the comments below!