Thursday, April 1, 2010

Easter traditions

Since Easter is fast approaching, I thought I would share some of the Easter traditions that I grew up with and some that I have now.

At some point in my childhood, the Easter bunny started visiting our house on Saturdays.  My parents decided that it would be a good way to help us concentrate on the real meaning of Easter on Sunday if we weren't hyped up on sugar and talking Easter bunny stories all day. 

In my family, the Easter bunny brought candy, not eggs.  We left our Easter baskets out on the dining room table on Friday night and woke up to find a chocolate rabbit and a Reese's peanut butter egg in it.  (I can't believe how many people I've talked to recently who have never had the Reese's egg!).  We would then take our baskets and search the living room, family room, and dining room for more candy hidden throughout.  My mom, who, to her credit, was very intent on ensuring fairness in all things, hid the candy in groups of five.  When one of us would find some candy, we would call everyone else over and share.  One for Stephanie, one for Jennilyn, one for Todd, one for Julie, and one for Emily.  Eventually it got easier to just walk around together.  And, for the most part, we were honest and didn't ever just put the candy in our basket without letting everyone else know.

When I was young, the candy was always jelly beans.  Then, as we got older, my mom added in peanut M&Ms (although in the 80s, the M&Ms were regular colored M&MS--they hadn't figured out they could sell more if they colored them based on the season or holiday).  This presented problems.  My brother did not like jelly beans.  At. All.  One year, the year my dad decided our Easter candy hunt would be good viewing years later, we all fought mercilessly with Todd because he did not want to share the M&Ms he found since he did not want to receive any jelly beans.  Things escalated out of control until almost everyone was in tears and we may have even been forced to give up some of our candy as punishment.  I was fifteen and I'm sure behaved like a perfect little lady.  (I think I was a main instigator, actually).

Since then, the Easter bunny only brings M&Ms.

We also colored Easter eggs.  We did all sorts of methods.  Used the Paas brand dye to make beautifully colored pastel eggs.  Used an oily dye that made the eggs look tie-dyed.  (I remember dipping my index finger in the dye and discovering that the oily dye was extremely difficult to remove from fingers.)  I'm sure there were other methods, but I can't remember them right now.  What I do know is that not enough people in my family enjoyed hard-boiled eggs.  I also think my mom did not particularly care to boil eggs all day.  So we dyed fresh eggs and used them for the next month when we made cakes, cookies, pancakes, and the like.  A few times I remember using eggs that we had blown out the insides.  Those were mainly used to hang on our Easter tree--basically branches from which eggs hung.

We got new Easter outfits.  Usually made by my mom.  Poor lady.  I don't think she got to sleep at all the night before Easter.  My sister Jennilyn and I would get almost matching dresses.  Because of this, people would often mistake us for twins.  I'm not sure why, since we didn't look THAT much like each other.  But then you hear the stories of the people who, upon seeing a little baby girl, wearing a pink dress, with a giant bow on her head, and a neon sign that reads, "I'm a girl!" ask the mother, "So what is your little boy's name?"

I was about 31 when my mom told me I could no longer expect to receive an Easter basket.  Apparently she has a rule that when you own your own home, you can buy your own Easter basket.  As if!

So, now it's up to me to carry on some Easter traditions. 

Since I don't have kids, the Easter bunny has asked me to allow him or her to forego my house on the route.  You know, to conserve time.  I have obliged.

I don't dye eggs because I don't use them often enough to warrant dying them.  I always am sad that I can't buy the five dozen for $3 and save them for later use.  I probably would, but Darrell would have an aneurysm and I am doing my best to prevent that.

I don't make my own Easter outfit and actually rarely buy a new one.  I try to wear something that I haven't worn in a long time.  It's sort of my cue to bring out the summer church clothes.  The weather is usually warm enough that the A/C that is blasted doesn't cause frostbite.

Darrell and I buy a spiral-cut ham at Costco and make other yummy food.  We vow every year that we will eat the whole ham without letting of it go to waste (not all in one sitting, though).  This year may be our lucky year.  Darrell's dad will be joining us, so he can take some of it home with him.  Yea!

I still love the Reese's peanut butter eggs.  I decided to wait until Monday and buy them at 90% off.  A deal is so much more important to me than having them on Easter.  (90% off is just a few cents away from free, and we all know how much I love free!).

As a last story about Easter traditions, a few years ago I was eating Easter dinner at my mom and dad's house.  My sister Julie invited a friend over to join us.  My mom asked about some of her family's traditions and she told us this:

Her family lived quite a few miles away from their church building, so it was quite a trip.  I think since it was so far, the ward decided to host an Easter egg hunt after church.  She and her brothers and sisters would find tons of hard-boiled eggs and put them in their baskets.  They gorged on candy on their way home from church.  Since the ride was so long, the eggs would go bad before they could make it home.  So, their parents told them they could throw them out the windows at objects for entertainment.  It killed two birds with one stone: The parents didn't have to get rid of the eggs and the kids were occupied and not fighting one Sunday a year.  Sounds win-win to me!

Share some of your family's traditions in the comments.

I hope you have a wonderful Easter.  Here's a little reminder of why we celebrate:


Emily said...

Wow! You got an Easter basket until you were 31!! I tried to convince Mom to let me have an Easter basket/find hidden candy when I was 18 (and still living at home), and she refused. And, according to my calculations, you were only 29 at that time. Which means, you got an Easter basket for three years that I did not. Whaaaat??

Ginger said...

Growing up and now with my own children, the Easter Bunny hides our baskets, but leaves a yarn trail from our bed to the hidden basket. It is always fun seeing the round about way to our hidden treasures and sometimes we would get mixed up with the other children's strings and have to start over again.

Aunt Spicy said...

Bless my moms heart, I still get an easter basket...or at least a box of sees candy!

(that was a great post)