Though Easter is a religious holiday, ours is not a religious family. Our family is all about enjoying moments and making memories together, and holidays are a time when we can focus on family even more: with a few days off of work and school and sports we can just hang out and relax and enjoy each other's company.
As with most holidays, I tend to go overboard with Easter: creating Easter crafts with the kids, baking up Easter sweets and treats, planning out the Easter baskets and our Easter celebrations and entertaining. But in our family, going overboard is more about the experiences rather than the expenses.
I've never thought of Easter as a gift-giving occasion, and am surprised by how much marketing there is for Easter gifts and discussion over how much to spend. In our house, the Easter Bunny brings a basket for each boy with a chocolate bunny, a small stuffed toy, some colourful candy and sometimes one extra treat - a ball, sidewalk chalk, stickers or a colouring book. Dollar store stuff. He hides hundreds of those little foil-wrapped chocolate eggs all over the house and yard (weather permitting) and the kids spend all morning hunting them down.
We colour a couple dozen eggs the day before, then crack them at Easter breakfast in a family competition to find out whose egg can survive the longest. While the rest of the eggs are eaten at a big family breakfast with hot cross buns and bacon and platters of cookies and fruit, the champion egg is carried forward to the next contest when the extended family comes over for Easter lunch and dinner in an ultra-competitive match against aunts and uncles and cousins.
A long day of food and drink and family, a couple of huge hams and a half-dozen salads and my special decadent carrot cake with cream cheese icing, kids and toys and chocolates everywhere underfoot, the house decorated with the Easter crafts the kids and I made together.
The rest of the long weekend filled with doing nothing: walking and biking through the neighbourhood, enjoying the sunshine and the first signs of spring; lazy mornings lounging in pyjamas, playing cards around the breakfast table; board game tournaments at the dining table and soccer games in the backyard; movie nights all curled up together in the living room with pillows and blankets and big bowls of popcorn and hot chocolate.
It's colouring eggs and the family cracking contest, it's jammie days and playing with the cousins, it's time spent together making crafts and playing games; it's time and moments and memories that matter, not the gifts we give or get. It's these moments that will make up our family memories in years to come, and it's these memories that I hope our kids will hold on to as they grow up and move on to have families of their own: holiday traditions, family time, home and love.