The Thing About Easter…

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I wouldn’t say I don’t believe in a deity, I just haven’t given much thought to religion. I was raised to believe in God, but that he doesn’t take attendance and so long as you’re a good and kind person, that’s enough for Him. Aside from that general statement, we didn’t really learn a whole lot about religion. I still get confused about the whole Easter thing.

We “celebrate” Easter for the wrong reasons. Actually, a lot of us do. I’ve seen so many photos of what the Easter bunny brought, and literally no mention of the orgins of this holiday. As if that weren’t bad enough, the amount of spoiling that’s done on Easter has me shaking my head…I didn’t think that was the point of Easter, to spoil our children with materialistic objects.

Yes, my kids got a little Easter egg hunt from the Easter Bunny. They got to search for plastic eggs filled with small amounts of chocolate. That’s all they got though, and I didn’t take a photo of their spoils because the actual concept of taking a photo of their spoils just makes me feel like I’m bragging. I’m torn enough about even just doing an Easter egg hunt. I constantly wonder every year, where the hell does the Easter bunny fit into this equation? I am uncomfortable with his presence but at the same time…I don’t want to ruin the magic of childhood.

The same thing happens at Christmas. The photos of the Christmas tree stock pile, before unwrapping and after. I chose to take photos of my family enjoying each other’s company.

Hell, this even happens on Valentine’s Day. A day created for lovers is suddenly overridden with photos of the spoils our children got. I didn’t even get Matt a Valentine’s Day gift…nor did I get my kids one. I let them have a chocolate heart each, and only afterwards when the chocolate was on clearance. Sometimes, I wonder if that makes me harsh and cold…but I spoil my children enough throughout the year with love, affection and treats. I’m not going to go all out on certain days because everyone else does. That’s not even the point of these holidays.

I try to focus on the family aspect of these holidays. We don’t attend church at Easter or Christmas, but we do share a meal with our family and reflect upon our blessings and give thanks.

I know what works for one family won’t work for another, but what’s with the spoiling and breaking wallets to get the best Christmas/Valentine’s Day/Easter gift? Every holiday leaves me riddled with a sense of failure because I didn’t give in to the pissing contest of those around me, and I fear [wrongfully so] that my children will suffer because of it. I am able to squish those feelings by reminding myself that [most] of these holidays are not meant to be pissing contests, and I am teaching my children the importance of family time over materials.

I’m curious…what does Easter mean to you? How to you celebrate it?

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About J.C. Hannigan

25. Mother. Wife. Lover of words. Weaver of stories. My first book, Collide, is available in e-book for Amazon Kindle and Kobo.
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25 Responses to The Thing About Easter…

  1. Derek S says:

    Well, the real meaning of Easter goes back to Pagan traditions, but those have long since been overtaken by Christian beliefs, much like most other holidays. I don’t celebrate any of it myself. I was raised religious as well, but none of it really sank in as very important to me. As I’ve grown older I’ve taken more of an agnostic stance, but slowly leaning towards atheistic. But I’m also a chocolate addict, so I can appreciate any holiday that sees the store shelves stocked with more 😛

  2. I think a lot of people feel this way about Easter. I’m a Jew so…yeah. But when we were little we went to a friend’s house in Riverdale to have an Easter Egg Hunt. Because we didn’t want to miss out on painting eggs and stuff. I personally adore Cadbury Cream Eggs.

  3. Gerry says:

    I think the main thing is teaching kids the true value of gift giving, so they don’t focus so much on receiving. We don’t do a lot for Easter anyway, since we’re atheists and it’s really just egg hunts for us, but for Xmas, this past year, we took our 4 year old shopping for her cousins and little sister and talked about giving a lot. We make a point of having gifts be from us and family members and though there may be some from “Santa” we don’t make a big thing out of that. But it took a while to get there because she was the only baby in the entire family for a while and my in laws were really going overboard. I worried, the same as you but after a lot of stress we figured we can’t control what everyone gives her. But we can direct her appreciation to real people. I just don’t think the magic of childhood should be based on materialistic imaginary figures.

  4. Jess Spencer says:

    I totally agree! I bought Jillian a couple stuffies because hey, it’s her first Easter…and I will probably post a picture of her with them for the same reason, however to me the holidays are alla bout family time. At 24 years old I could no longer tell you what I got for Christmas when I was a kid (except for the year I got rocks…yes. Rocks. I sobbed). What I can tell you are the funny stories, the times spent baking Christmas cookies to leave for Santa, travelling to visit my grandparents and getting to see all 13 stockings lined up neatly when most families had 4-5. The family tradition of getting to open one present on Christmas Eve, which was always Christmas pjs, a movie and a bag of microwave popcorn. Then we would all sit and watch the movie in our pjs before we went to bed. I don’t think I remember more than 3 or 4 of the presents I got. That’s not what it was about to our family. And that is how I want my little lady to be raised. We are spending Easter at my mum’s this weekend and next weekend is the big family basket hunt with all my cousins…each cousin gets one basket with goodies and that’s it. The point is seeing our family and seeing all the young cousins play and enjoy each other’s company.

    One of my friends had a baby two weeks before I did…she went all out and got her a basket of rattles and toys and outfits and stuffies….and I kinda feel like shit cause Jillian got two stuffies for today and one for next week. Screw that.

    Amen to family traditions and family ties. Screw consumerism and “my kid got this, what did you get yours?”

    • Jess says:

      I think it’s assumed that we’ll treat our kids a little bit, but the pissing contest? The “look what they GOT” posts.

      I love hearing stories about family traditions, but when people only focus on the materialistic things they got..I just wanna slap them and say you did it wrong lol.

      And good on you! She’ll remember time and experiences more 🙂

  5. Paula says:

    I totally agree with you! The materialism and spoiling has gone overboard. We are christian, so we focus on the sacrifice of Jesus life for us and His resurrection. I honestly don’t do a whole lot to celebrate. We may go to an extra church service. I think it’s a time to remember and reflect on what Jesus did, but I want that to be an everyday remembrance, not just once a year.
    We skip the egg hunts and don’t buy easter baskets. The grandparents still got them a load of candy, but we left most of it at their house, since too much sugar has a terrible effect on two of my kid’s behaviors.
    We treat Christmas in a similar way. Somebody has capitalized on holidays, which was smart if your trying to make money, but we don’t have to buy into it. It’s definitely a good thing to reflect on and figure out what traditions you want your family to have.

    • Jess says:

      Thank you Paula! And you’re right, someone is making loads of money off this materialism mindset.

      Traditions will always be more important to me than fulfilling materialistic needs…I even hate asking people what they want for christmas or birthdays. A gift should be given because you want to give it, you want it to mean something to them, not because they expect it, and it should be received with geninue warmth because someone gave it to you to. More time should be spent reflecting on thankfulness and appreciation for gifts, no matter the pricetag. Now to figure out how to teach that to my boys lol.

  6. Verlene says:

    I was raised in a very religious home and was taught a very superior attitude about it—that everyone who didn’t believe exactly like them were all going straight to hell in a hand basket. Such a ridiculous and uncompassionate theology, but typical of Southern Baptists here in the Bible Belt of the USA. It completely turned me off from organized religion and put me on my family’s prayer list to this day. I consider myself an agnostic at best and leaning towards atheism. On my FB profile I list my religious affiliation as Pastafarian. (Google that and get a good laugh.) So Easter to me just means a time to be with my friends, eat a good meal, have a few drinks and eat chocolate.

    But back to the religion thing….my take is you are raising your children to be good, kind, and compassionate grown ups….to be tolerate of others who are different and isn’t that what everyone should want…just to raise good, decent people? That’s what matters, not religion that teaches intolerance. Kudos to you, Jess. You’re doing an AMAZING job raising your kids and your posts always make me think and consider my own belief systems. That is much appreciated. Chocolate bunnies, anyone?

    • Jess says:

      Thank you Verlene! This comment made me smile. I did giggle at the google description of Pastafarian….Definitely closer to my kind of religion 😉

  7. thesecretmemoirs says:

    We’re Catholic and both of my children (more so Landon as he attends Catholic school) have some understanding of what Easter means to us. I take photos because I am happy that the gifts we’ve given our kids make them happy. It’s not to brag. Yeah, I am proud to be able to give them Easter gifts, Christmas gifts, etc…I know what it’s like to not be able to give them anything much at all so yep, im ecstatic to be able to do more than I once could. Ryan and I both work hard to be able to give to our kids. Perhaps we go a little overboard but so what. My children, my money, I can think of a lot worse things I could be doing. My children certainly don’t ACT spoiled. They’re incredibly thankful and don’t need to be reminded to say so. As far as the meaning of Easter, I try to keep my kids as focused as possible on that…considering they are 3 and 5, I think most kids in that age group can only have so much understanding of that sort of thing — with or without an abundance of presents.

    • Jess says:

      Here’s the thing about the photos though…what is the actual point of posting their loot? I have no problem with people giving their children gifts at all, and it’s great if they are happy with what they got and not spoiled. I’m not talking about taking a picture of them enjoying their gifts, I do that too. I just feel like we are losing touch with each other, all together. Like instead of enjoying the moment, we’re all so busy taking pictures of the moment to post on social media. I am guilty of it too.

  8. daniellemarielawrence says:

    As I said, I am proud of what I got them, so that’s the point of posting. But it’s not to brag or one-up other people — it really has nothing to do with other people. I just felt happy and excited. There are lots of things that get posted online that I don’t do, and I don’t take it like someone is trying to be boastful. For instance, you’ll never see me doing any of those complex, Pinterest crafts with my kids. I’m not artistic in any way and any time I’ve tried I’ve ended up with a big old mess. When people post photos doing things like that with their kids, I still think it’s great. I didn’t post any pictures of their actual Easter egg hunt because I was too busy actually participating in the hunt with my children, which brings me to my next point. I 100% agree with you that there are a lot of people who are too preoccupied with posting photos on social media to actually enjoy the moment, I just don’t believe I fall into that category (not saying you were directing your post at me in any way, I’m just defending my end of the spectrum). Personally, I think it’s misunderstood in a lot of ways. People post the types of photos they want all of the time, food pictures, sky porn, selfies, cars, pets, etc…who cares. I’ll post what I’d like to and if people take it the wrong way: oh well! I will admit I have recently posted a photo because I wanted to brag LOL. The picture of my flowers from my brother. I happen to have the sweetest, most thoughtful brother ever and I had to take a photo to show that off.

  9. daniellemarielawrence says:

    Barf…LOL

  10. Amber says:

    Before I get into my thoughts on your actual post, I would just like to say that I really try to be aware of other people’s beliefs (or lack thereof) and not be one of those obnoxious Christians that throw their beliefs into everyone’s face constantly. My heart’s desire is to live a life of love and let that be reflected in all that I do and say… and let that speak for my faith by itself. I don’t know how well I do at those things, but like I said, I really do try!

    BUT SINCE YOU ASKED…

    To answer the question posed, I think I first need to explain how I feel about God. I am a Christian. I believe that the Bible should be the final authority in every believer’s life and for me, it is my “true north” or “absolute zero” or whatever you want to call it to express that it gives me direction, purpose, clarity, hope, etc. There is no way I would have made it through some of the things that I have gone through in life without my faith.

    God is perfect and by His very nature, He cannot accept sin. No matter how good a person is, they are still imperfect and prone to sin, which is why we need a savior and why Jesus died in the first place. I, myself, sin multiple times a day and am constantly falling short of His standards, which is why I am so very thankful for His mercy, forgiveness, grace, and love! He has proven time and again to me that He is very real and I cannot imagine a life where He is NOT at the center.

    With all that being said, I’m sure you can understand why Christmas and ESPECIALLY Easter are very important days in our lives. Christmas was when He was born, Good Friday is when He died – paying the price of sin for all eternity – and Easter is when He rose again. I do not think there is anything inherently wrong with bunnies, eggs, candy, trees with lights, presents, santa, etc. But because of our beliefs, those things are not what these “holidays” are about.

    Noel & I have had many conversations about how we want to handle these things for our kids and we both feel comfortable with what we have decided.

    At Christmas, we talk about how santa was actually Saint Nicholas and tell the true story of what he was all about. We use it as an example of love and kindness to illustrate how every Christian should be living. We did not want to lie to our kids (even if it’s for a good reason) and we did not want them to lose sight of why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. We buy thoughtful gifts for our babies and we spoil them a little… but like Danielle said about her kiddos… they do not ACT spoiled by any means! We also make it a point to involve them in giving to others – not just at Christmas, but throughout the year. They will become more involved as they get older and we will have more options, especially once we start working in the ministry we feel God has called us to, which is helping the homeless.

    We do not have a “lot” of extra, but we are aware of how very blessed we are, especially considering that over half of the world’s population live in poverty (less than $2 a day) or deep poverty (less than $1 a day). We conscientiously look for ways to bless others every day and we do our best to keep it anonymous. We don’t want anyone feeling obligated to US… we want them to know there is a God that loves them and His name is Jesus. And we don’t want our kids thinking they need to do random acts of kindness for the accolades.

    Anyway.

    As far as Easter goes…

    I don’t really understand why people go all out with the gifts and such like it’s a second Christmas, but I don’t judge them for it, either. Our kids get a new “Easter outfit every year, we participate in an Easter egg hunt… ONLY because it is a fun activity to do and Easter is a joyous celebration, not because we think eggs have anything to do with Jesus. We don’t do the Easter bunny. We may or may not do Easter baskets in the future, but they will be kept pretty simple if we do. We talk to the kids about Jesus and we do our best to keep the focus on Him.

    We do celebrate Valentine’s Day, but we don’t do those lovey-dovey things on 2/14 ONLY. We express our love in word and deed every. single day. Because that’s what marriage requires. That’s what a family needs. We usually keep it fairly small and intimate though – chocolate for everyone, handwritten letters inside cards, a nice dinner, MAYBE flowers. This year I got jewelry, but only because we were totally broke on my birthday and Noel wanted to make up for it lmao. The kids and I made homemade cards as a craft and baked cupcakes together and then went around and delivered them to a bunch of people to spread the joy around.

    I guess my personal opinion is that we have materialized many holidays as a society. I seen some pretty ridiculous crap going on about St. Paddy’s Day this year – kids requiring gold coins and blah blah… I just shook my head and thought, “Seriously!?” But I can’t control what other people do or how they live their lives. I can just hope that they are raising little humans that will still be kind, caring, loving individuals that actually give a rat’s ass about people other than themselves. If they’re doing that, then do I care if they spend $5,000 on Christmas? No. Will we be doing that for our kids someday when we are both finished with college and can afford it? NO.

    The bottom line for us? Joshua & Emmalyn will know the reasons why Christmas/Easter are important to us as Christians. We will still participate in things that are fun – who doesn’t enjoy making memories? I will probably always take too many pictures, but I’m okay with that… I do it so there is a legacy of memories and proof of a life well-lived for future generations. And so that we can look back and go “THAT WAS SUCH A FUN DAY! WE NEED TO DO THAT AGAIN SOON!” 🙂 I think kind, caring, generous hearts is one of the most important things we can give our children. As long as you are setting the example and doing random acts of kindness for others – especially when you’re a believer in Jesus – I don’t think there’s a problem with some “spoiling” of your kids. It is when they are obnoxious, entitled little brats and you find yourself not even noticing (or pretending not to) the homeless old woman on the street corner that there is a problem.

    At least that’s my $20 in thoughts… haha.

  11. maurnas says:

    Easter means the best holiday candy. And that’s it. Growing up it was one of the few times of year I got to even have candy. That overshadowed any religious message my parents ever tried to instill.

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