Easter Basket a little early

I have a love-hate relationship with that big man in read (aka Santa) and that tall fluffy bunny (you know, the one who shows up with eggs in the spring). I love that they bring magic into my children's lives and give me a good excuse to buy a few presents. I hate that they get the credit for those presents, and I hate that they can easily distract my kiddos from the real reason we celebrate Christmas and Easter. As Christians, I want my children to connect these holidays with the birth and resurrection of their Savior, not make-believe characters.

In an effort to do just that, two years ago we decided to make a change with how we celebrate Easter.

I have a friend who's husband is a pilot and is often away on Christmas. So they have a special arrangement with Santa Claus, and usually celebrate Christmas a day or two before the "real" holiday on December 25th. Their boys could care less about when they open presents and as an added benefit, their mom is able to take them to church or focus on giving on Christmas day, spending the holiday really honoring Christ.

So I decided to follow their lead, and change up our Easter a bit. I told the girls that we had made arrangements with the big bunny that we would celebrate the first day of spring with a basket of goodies, and leave Resurrection Sunday for Jesus. 

This does require a little extra planning on my part as the first day of spring is usually a few weeks before Easter Sunday. (But the goodies are definitely out in the stores plenty early.) Sometime mid-winter when we're all wondering when the sun will return, I look up the first day of spring and put it in bold on my calendar. And then I pick up a few things, or make an online order, and find a corner in my closet to stash it all.

I love giving gifts to my children, but I also don't want to raise them to feel entitled or spoiled, so I put a few boundaries in place for myself when it comes to filling the basket: a treat, a toy, a book, and something special. This year they're each getting a new movie for their "toy" and I scored on some lovely dresses around Christmas, so they're getting new dresses as well for their something special. I ordered a book about Easter for each of them (this one for my 4-year-old, and this one for my 6-year-old). Now I just need to swing by the store for a small treat, and the Easter basket is full.

I am thankful that shifting our Easter basket to a different day has given us a chance to focus on Jesus on Easter Sunday. But there are a few more bonuses that have come from this change:

  • when we get out our Easter baskets for the first day of spring, we also get out our spring and Easter decorations. It is a fun time to decorate together.
  • stored with our Easter baskets is a carton of resurrection eggs we made years ago at MOPS, as well as the book, Benjamin's Box, that goes along with it. We use the book as a sort of "advent" in reading one part of the story and opening one egg each night leading up to Resurrection Sunday. 
  • we get out all the past Easter books, and read them as we prepare for Easter as well. 

Yes, we still participate in community and church egg hunts around Easter, but this little change in when we give the basket of gifts, has helped my heart focus on the true gift of salvation given to us through Christ's resurrection. And hopefully, the hearts of my family members as well.

How do you celebrate Easter in your home? Any tips for how to keep Christ at the center of your celebration?

Deanna Gemmer is a busy wife, Mama, foster Mama, photographer, writer, crafter, MOPS publicity team-er, and follower of Jesus. She used to write regularly at her blog, This Could Take All Day, but lately the posting has been less-than-regular. She blames that on three little people whom she adores.