Turning Easter into Christmas-lite

Did anyone else have to deal with this this year? There seems to have been a “Christmas creep,” for lack of a better term, among friends and family members when it comes to Easter. In other words, it’s becoming more and more a gift-giving occasion rather than a celebration of Jesus’ resurrection. When my son was much younger, my wife and I were criticized for “going overboard” with what he got in his basket (candy, eggs and about $15 worth of toys in our most extravagant year), but that pales in comparison to what other people got our kids this year. It’s hardly worth mentioning next to what some people I know got their kids (including video game systems, an iPhone, and one guy who got all four of his kids iPads).

More and more, I think our annual Easter celebration is getting to be an opportunity to make us stand out from the crowd. We’ve been trying to keep our finances in check, but there’s an expectation that we engage in what everyone else does. I don’t mind letting the kids take part in the Easter egg hunt, but the cost keeps going up each year. Everyone’s expected to bring a set number of filled eggs for each kid you’re going to have participate. The number of eggs goes up each year, and the amount others are are spending on it has been going up as well. We don’t put anything too expensive in our eggs (just candy), but we spent almost as much this year on the eggs as we did for all our kids’ baskets combined (anymore, we do a little candy, eggs and $5-8 worth of little gifts for each kid). We didn’t take part in the gift exchange this year, which I think may have upset some people. Everyone spent about $10-20 per kid/couple on gifts, which was simply out of the question for us. Had we done so, between our family Easter, pictures with the bunny, the egg hunt and gifts, it would have been the same as spending more than half our Christmas budget for the kids. As it is, between all that, the amount we had to spend on gas to visit the family and the amount I gave to our church, we’ve had to put off our Easter dinner with my mother-in-law until next month (it’s also not anything extravagant, but it’s beyond our means at the moment).

I get the feeling that the family will really frown on any suggestions to cut back next year, but I’m considering bringing it up before then. I don’t know that they’d be in full agreement with me wanting to focus more on the true meaning of the day, but I’d much rather have my kids thinking about the reasons behind Holy Week instead of complaining that they didn’t get an X-Box in their basket.

I can certainly sympathize. We do what ya’ll do–candy, a couple little toys ($15’s worth or so) and one Easter egg hunt where each kid has to bring a dozen eggs filled with candy. Actually I think I only spent $2 on the toys this year, but I got a free Barney DVD and m&m toy fan so I just threw those in with the coloring books and beach ball (awesome toy for kids in the house, btw). :slight_smile: I think birthdays and Christmas are the big present days. We only have one baby, but have a budget that couldn’t support ipads. :thumbsup:

Personally, materialism aside, we tried to make Easter a bit bigger this year. In my experience Easter tends to be brushed off as “that little holiday that comes not too long after Christmas”. People don’t get as many days off, there is not as much celebration, etc.

We are starting to cut back more at Christmas, making sure to keep it Christ-centered, and ADD more at Easter. Easter is the greatest feast day in the Church. I want my kids to feel like it was at least as important as Christmas.

So… my kids got more gifts than in previous years this year. No iPads, though. Mostly movies, books, art supplies, science kits, and a couple small toys.

When I was growing up (Protestant), we always got gifts at Easter, often as many as at Christmas.

We always went to my Grandma and Grandpa’s house for Easter dinner, and after dinner, we opened our presents.

I grew up thinking of Easter as a bigger deal than Christmas! It was always so lovely to have warmer weather here up North and be able to play outside with my brother and our new gifts.

And we fully, completely even as children, understood that Easter was the day we celebrated Jesus’ resurrection, and that’s why we gave gifts to each other–because He gave Himself to us and conquered death.

I say that each family should do what is appropriate for them and not worry about what other families do for any holiday.

And be glad that Easter is becoming a bigger deal in the secular world. This means that people will be googling “Easter” to learn exactly what the holiday means, and they will learn about Jesus, and that’s a GOOD thing, right?

This year we gave each of our children a chocolate cross. And that’s it. I don’t have the time or the inclination to match the expectations of our society that demands we show love through material things. I cannot imagine what God must think of what Easter has become in our secular society, it’s a materialistic circus. Even as a rather pagan celebration of Spring, excessive candy is a perverted way to mark the beginning of a new season. The worst is Easter egg hunts during Lent… we even have this in our parish school and Church-sponsored activities. All of this is a tragic distortion of the Resurrection and tends to undermine our children’s deeper understanding of Easter as our time and energy is spent on trappings of the holiday rather than on spiritual truth. Getting sucked into the materialism distracts parents from teaching children their Faith.

To the OP, your concerns are so good. I’m glad you are thinking this over. Make your Easter stand out from the crowd by having a Holy Lent, inviting people over for meatless meals during Lent, conducting a Holy Thursday Passover dinner, making beautiful things like lovely dyed eggs with children, invite friends to the most beautiful Mass at your Church, and host a wonderful Easter brunch or dinner. There is so much to celebrate by just taking the time to pray and gather together. Far better than a basket of candy or other meaningless trinket. But I will add that if anything is to be celebrated in Spring, better it be Christian Easter than pagan Earth Day!

Each kid got a chocolate bunny this year. That’s it. No baskets, no dyed eggs.

When they were smaller, they got baskets that always had bubbles, sidewalk chalk, a new spring outfit, and some candy. That’s it. Not too expensive.

yes we noted the same thing, kids all received fairly expensive toys and gifts, the baskets were just, eh, to them, and others gave gifts that seemed to expect reciprocation, which I hate because I am not in a position to give gifts outside of my own grandchildren.

Haven’t seen such a trend with family or friends and hope I never do.

I moved back to the States in '02 after 15 years overseas, and when I got back I came to the startling realization that seasons in America are no longer spring, summer, autumn, and winter. They are now the following Marketing Seasons:

  1. The Superbowl
  2. Valentine’s Day
  3. St. Patrick’s Day
  4. Easter
  5. Mother’s Day
  6. Father’s Day
  7. Memorial Day/4th of July/Labor Day
  8. Halloween
  9. Thanksgiving
  10. Christmas
  11. The Christmas Aftersale

My husband’s parents, who refer to themselves as “devote atheists,” make a bigger deal about the materialistic side of Easter than we do: huge baskets, elaborate egg hunt, and chocolate bunnies for all.

In contrast, we color eggs at some point Holy Week and have a Special Family Meal before Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday. And, of course, we have a nice Easter dinner on Sunday. Other than that we do most of our “celebrating” in church.

That is awful. :dts:

I think that’s my biggest problem with this, the whole expectation that we should be spending just as much on everyone, as well as lavishing gifts up on our kids. We focused a lot more on the religious side of it this year (even more than the last few years), and went to Confession, Stations of the Cross and Mass as a family. We talked about the meaning behind Holy Week and had several other faith-based discussions after dinner each night during the week. We also watched several religious movies and shows (Ten Commandments, The Robe, a couple Veggie Tales Easter specials, etc.) and talked with the kids about what they meant and how they tied into what we were doing throughout the week. My middle daughter is getting ready for First Communion, so we spent a lot of time throughout the week preparing for that, reading the Bible and doing other activities to help her prepare.

After all that, turning around and having the kids get the impression that the gifts are a bigger deal than everything that came before was a bit disheartening. We talked about it Sunday night and reinforced what we’d been telling the kids all week, so from that perspective I don’t think it was such a big issue, but it’s still frustrating that it happened and that it seems to get worse as the years go on.

Teehee. Much to my families’ grief, Fiona did not get anything for Easter this year except for a children’s bible and a little candy. When we have more children, it will probably be the same. Easter is a big family day, a time to show love and gratitude for Christ’s sacrifice for the world. Not a time to ‘give gifts’.

Personally, I find Lent and Easter to be solemn and reverent times, not an excuse to buy stuff!

We just don’t subscribe to the keeping with the Jones’ mentality. If the neighbors want to do it - that’s fine! I just refuse to cave on this one. We are on a strict budget, and it takes self control but at the end of the day my kid and future children won’t hate me for not giving them 5 lbs of chocolate and a million toys for Easter. I think it’s all about perspective. I know how family pressures can be a pain to contend with, but I am pretty stubborn and don’t have a hard time saying ‘no, I am not going to do it this way’. We sure fought a lot when I was a teenager and said the same thing :wink:

Anywho. My husband shares the same sentiment. Fiona is almost 2, and while she is showered with love and affection and homemade goodies, she doesn’t get every new toy that comes out. We play outside in my garden a lot, and by the time we come in it’s about time for supper and bed.

We focus more on thinking toys - puzzles, books, blocks, etc.

Easter is a solemn and beautiful time of year, I can’t believe people are turning it into the next Christmas! (PS - we have very moderate, but loving Christmases as well).

It is about family! Drown them in family time, play time, and make sure they understand what the day is all about, lest it get lost among the plastic eggs and stuffed bunnies.

I have to wonder if your husband and mine are twins. My MIL is what I call an angry-atheist. She hates any thought of God and at the same time is the first one to jump into the secularized version of a holiday. :shrug:

As for us, each of the kids got chocolate. One got a bunny, one a chick and the girls got chocolate eggs that are to be decorated. Nothing huge. No baskets fulls of junk.

We discussed with the kids WHY we are celebrating and WHY it’s important. And, of course, we have to give them the lecture about why they need to ignore the rantings of their grandparents but that’s a whole other topic. :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m here too. I haven’t heard of a gift creep for Easter, thankfully. Easter baskets with candy and a few small things are all that is happening around here. My kids are teens now, so a family stash of chocolate is enough! Observing holy week and the triduum is the important thing for us. Protestant friends see things the same way, and folks we know who aren’t Christian (including the non-practicing of any religion) were all away for spring break so I have no idea what they did on Sunday besides sleep in!

You know, I think the decorations, gifts, and other trappings Christmas and Easter are a replacement for the spiritual aspects of the holidays, if that makes any sense.

:thumbsup:

YES!!! I agree with you.

I’ve always felt that my mother-in-law was searching for something but was too stubborn to see the answer. I have to hope (and pray) that someday she comes around. But then, there are my brothers-in-law…:frowning:

I think our husbands are twins who were separated at birth. :rotfl:

Going a bit off-topic now, but when our daughters were younger my husband and I had to sit down with his brother and tell him in detailed and specifc terms that he was not to tell his nieces that God didn’t really exist, nor was he to denegrate the RCC or the papacy around them. I’m a pretty live-and-let-live kind of woman with it comes to other people’s religious choices, but I was this close to refusing to allow our daughters to spend time with their uncle.

WOW. Our brothers-in-law sound the same! :eek:

One of my BIL’s keeps his mouth shut and is respectful. The other one however…:mad:

My children do not expect gifts from us, except maybe small ones from grandma and grandpa MIL and FIL. But no one else in the family does so. We explain the true meaning of Easter and we just have a great big fun family reunion with egg hunting for the little ones.

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