When I was little, Easter wasn’t such a big deal. I remember getting excited about the prospect of chocolate and my mum doing a slightly-more-special-than-usual Sunday lunch. But in the 1980s Easter definitely wasn’t the epic egg-fest we celebrate now.
E goes to a church primary school so she understands and talks about the religious aspect quite a lot (much to the delight of her atheist father). But this is the first year she’s gone a bit loopy over the whole Easter bunny/chocolate side of things.
When she gleefully declared on the night before Easter Sunday that it was ‘Easter Eve’, I half expected her to ask if she could hang a stocking up.
It made me realise that there are several reasons why Easter might as well be the spring Christmas:
1. You start talking about it months in advance
January and February are hard going. Once everyone has established exactly what date Easter will fall on and got past the usual “ooh isn’t it early/late this year”, the long Easter weekend is basically a light at the end of a very long winter tunnel.
2. If you’ve got kids you have to put some effort in
The how-much-you-bother scale ranges from ‘Pinterest‘ to ‘pfft’. I like to think I’m somewhere in the middle.
Who am I trying to kid – at 1 am on Easter Sunday I was penning a poem from an imaginary bunny and creeping around the house stashing eggs.
(Note to self – don’t drink before doing this because there will be typos and you won’t remember where you hid some of the eggs the next day.)
3. You buy actual gifts
The closest I got to a non-edible Easter gift as a child was the ceramic mug my Smarties egg came in.
This year I bought E a few small things like books and some crafty stuff, justifying it by saying I’d have spent the same on a few extra eggs. This is the first year she’s been bought actual toys from other family members though and I expect this will now become the norm.
4. Facebook makes you feel a bit crap if you don’t get into the spirit
The constant photo stream of egg hauls, fresh flowers and Easter trees (see number 7), not to mention gushing status updates about what a wonderful time everyone is having, can be difficult to ignore.
Like most things on Facebook, it’s important to take it all with a pinch of salt. People generally only share the best bits.
5. The Easter Bunny is the new Father Christmas
I don’t recall waking up on Easter morning in the early ’80s to an elaborate trail of chocolate eggs, all courtesy of an oversized rabbit who had tiptoed hopped carefully through my house.
6. Lamb is the new turkey
Thanks to Jamie Oliver and most of the big supermarkets, if you’re not planning to roast a lamb joint on Easter Sunday you’re basically a heathen. Jim isn’t a fan of lamb, so we had roast pork. Sorry Jamie.
7. Easter trees are a thing…
Seriously. Easter. Trees. I can barely cope with a Christmas tree once boxing day arrives so the thought of an egg-laden tree makes my teeth itch.
8. …as are Easter decs
Easter table decorations, bunting, wreaths – I wouldn’t be surprised if someone invented Easter tinsel. No thanks.
9. Easter Monday looks a lot like Boxing Day
No work, cardboard boxes to get rid of; along with that slightly-uncomfortable-still-full feeling, a hangover and the urge to get out for a walk so you can burn off a few calories before you start eating again.
10. If you can’t beat ’em join ’em
Before I had children, my default reaction to all this commercialisation was similar to how I felt about Christmas. A bit bah humbug.
I mean, why can’t kids just be grateful for an egg in mug anymore?
But (like Christmas), there’s nothing quite like it when your children are small and they believe in the magic stuff like Santa, tooth fairies and the Easter bunny. In only a few years I’ll have to prize them out of bed to give them their eggs, rather than being woken up at 6am by an over-excited five year old clutching a basket.
Unless you live on a remote island somewhere you probably won’t escape the Easter madness, so just embrace it, take from it the bits that suit you and your family and make your own traditions.
Apart from Easter trees though. There’s really no need.