A friend suggested I write about cool alternatives to traditional easter candy. It’s a good idea so I’m trying to write it out here. I have to be honest. I don’t celebrate easter with the candy. I am remiss to celebrate any holiday in the traditional (not really traditional), mass-marketed way. It’s difficult to do birthday parties, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, etc. All of these have turned into a marketer’s and candy maker’s wet dream. As a kid, we had a birthday party and had cake. Now it’s the cake and “treats” and all the kids go home with a goodie bag of cheap plastic toys made by small kids in china or candies made with refined crap, chemicals and trans fats. (um, well you can see how much I loathe this stuff! LOL) Halloween is the same, Thanksgiving is at least (usually) a homemade meal, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter are pretty much the same - too much focus on the *STUFF* and large quantities of it plus lots of refined sugars/flours/salts, over-processed foods, chemicals, etc. So what’s the plan B?
Easter is really a time of renewal. Of welcoming back the cycle of spring. Of childhood, of growth, birth, rebirth and sunshine. This is an old pagan tradition to honor the cycles of the earth and that’s where the symbols of the egg and the bunny come from (also the colors of the holiday too.) Christian religions mark the day as a day to celebrate Jesus’ rebirth. I used to always wonder how amazingly coincidental it was that Jesus and Santa were so connected and Jesus and the Easter Bunny were too! LOL
As a kid, a really fun thing for me was doing the hunt for the easter basket that my parents put together. I’m not going to lie and say that I loathed eating the chocolate but I definitely overate it and felt very sick shortly thereafter. I enjoyed dying the eggs more than I did eating them, although I did enjoy eating just about anything put in front of me. What I really really loved was getting a fresh lily pinned on me to wear to church that Easter morning.
For us now with me as the mom, we don’t normally keep a lot of eggs in the house. In the past, we have dyed eggs as well as drawn pictures of eggs to decorate around the house. I have window chalk that the kids love to use to draw their easter bunnies and baskets and eggs on every window in the house. There is a community egg hunt that happens on easter weekend here in our town. The kids can do their hunts which get exchanged for the very things I loathe but because enough kids do this, my kids don’t get inundated with lots of it. They enjoy it and it is a nice community thing that happens here.
When the seasons change and the holidays are here, I typically like to do a nice ritual with the kids. So we will probably do something like that again this weekend. Since spring is a time of renewal, of growth and new life, it’s a great time to think put our attention on things that we would like to birth into our lives. We usually do a ritual where we spend some time thinking about things (people/circumstances) we are grateful for, things we are happy to release from our lives and things we’d like to cultivate for ourselves. We will typically write in on paper as a prayer, add a bit of dirt or sticks to it, add some water or snow on the paper (if we still have snow on the ground) and then send off our prayer into the fire to be sent up in the smoke. I like to focus on the things more as qualities we’d like to attract vs. more stuff. And the kids understand this. They are very adept at it and very quickly, it seems, write out qualities that they’d like to foster in themselves or in their environments. Very often it’s a prayer for the larger world around them. It’s always pretty beautiful.
Another thing we like to do this time of year is consider the garden. What do we want to plant this year? Can we buy a plant or seeds and cultivate something new that will be so much more nourishing for ourselves and the earth we live on? Can we dress up a tree around the house with beautiful rocks we’ve found to attract a home for faeries? How about an easter tea party with the little little ones with a lovely raw treat to eat that we can make just minutes beforehand with the kids to eat and enjoy outside? The little kids (and I) love to gather our stuffed animal friends and be outside with them for a party!
If you want to go the basket route, why not fill it with crayons and papers and colored pencils and other small arts/crafts so that it is a day spent in full creativity instead of eating sugary treats that could possibly lead to a runny nose/cough in a week.
Even if you don’t go to church, why not dress up super nice for the day? Plan ahead just a little bit and buy a beautiful fresh flower or two if none are yet blooming in your yard and create corsages for everyone in the house. I loved how special this made me feel when I was given an easter corsage to wear. Have a dress up picnic outside. Maybe invite some friends or family over for the fun celebration and honoring of the new season, of the promise of more sun-filled days, of rebirth in your life. All of which can be included to whatever religious celebrations you do.
In our house we love to make sock creatures so maybe this year we will want to make some sock bunnies or goofy stuffed pet eggs. It’s a fun thing to do with old socks. Here’s a picture of one:
I suppose I could also write about making raw versions of chocolate treats but for me, I really want to do this plan B a little differently. I’m totally all for a sweet treat. I love ending a ritual with something beautiful to eat and drink and I think there are enough recipes here to pick and choose some fun things to make: easy fudge balls, cakes, pies, etc. I guess what I’m saying in my almost 40 years here is that, for me, it’s also nice to think about spending a holiday or social occasion *WITHOUT* food as the focus of the day. Again, there’s nothing wrong with it at all, but sometimes, I want to celebrate and honor something with my body and spirit and not just my mouth and stomach! LOL
So, I guess I’ll end it there. Happy Spring, Happy Sun, Happy Easter. May the promise of this season fill your hearts with sunshine and rebirth.