Alternative Easter Traditions:
My abiding memory of Easter is my little brother eating himself into a sugar coma and spending Easter Sunday thrown on the couch. I remember too the gleeful counting of Easter eggs in primary school; ‘how many did you get?’, ‘how many did you eat?’; the loud exclamations when someone claimed they had received more than ten and intended to eat every single one!
Now that I have my own little girl I want to make Easter a special occasion for her too. But I don’t want to place too much of an emphasis on chocolate. Of course she will be allowed a treat from the Easter Bunny and I’m sure she will receive some goodies from her grandparents but I am hoping to start some traditions that don’t involve a large amount of sugar.
1. Decorate an Easter Tree:
A few years ago I purchased an Easter tree complete with its own set of decorations. I was inspired by my own mother who, in the January sales, purchased a white Christmas tree, bought some Easter themed decorations and generally made the house look festive in the lead up to Easter. It really added to the sense of a change of seasons and the coming of Spring.
This is the type of tradition that can cost as little or as much as you like depending on your budget. An Easter tree, unlike its Christmas equivalent, doesn’t need much to look good. You can gather together some small branches from your garden or the park and tie them together with a ribbon. Equally Dunnes Stores is doing a good range of Easter related items this year including a couple of Easter trees.
Another bonus is that decorations don’t have to cost the earth. You can make your own. This is a nice little custom to start when children are young and delight in all things involving glitter and glue. Supermarkets like Tesco and Mr. Price stock up on Easter craft materials at this time of year so it’s not hard to find things like Easter confetti and colourful egg shapes.
2. Painting Eggs:
This activity always brings me back to memories of my school days as it was a popular craft at the time. It is very simple and requires only a little preparation. It is also the kind of activity that can be tailored to suit different age groups so if you have a toddler and a tween in the house you won’t have to give this one a miss. Just be aware that the toddler will probably spend a lot less time painting and much more time making a mess!
Eggs need to be hard-boiled in advance then left to cool so I like to hard-boil mine the night before. That way you can start the painting and decorating straight away the next morning. A lovely idea, which I am hoping to start with my two year old this year, is to wake up Easter Sunday morning and delve right in to making a gloriously paint-filled mess. Then the end results can be hung up on a tree in the garden; followed by bunny-shaped pancakes for breakfast of course.
There are a range of things you can do from hand-dying to creating personalised eggs. Check out sites like Pinterest for some inspiration and get cracking!
3. Easter Bonnets/Hats:
This is another great activity that doesn’t need much in the way of money. You can pick up some paper plates in the supermarket and go from there. Stickers, glitter and crayons can dress up even the dullest of white paper plates. Then simply cut out the middle and ta-dah – your very own Easter bonnet. These hats don’t have to actually fit, it’s just about having fun. If you are looking for something a bit more bonnet-like than check out Dealz or Penny’s for a straw hat and get creative with a glue gun.
If you have more than one child or small cousins calling on Easter Sunday you can throw your very own Easter Parade! Best bonnet wins a prize but extra fun can be had by also rewarding those with the silliest walk or biggest smile.
Whether you decide to go simple or extra fancy remember to take lots of photos for posterity (and future 21st birthday parties!).
4. Easter Basket:
A nice tradition to start is the giving of Easter baskets. Perhaps the Easter Bunny can magic some up or they can be a fun surprise from mum and dad. The great thing about Easter baskets is that they can be filled with anything you like. One idea is to create a fruit basket to go along with the more sugary items that will be consumed during the day. Yes children might be less than thrilled with fruit as a snack option at Easter but the trick is to make the fruit more appealing. Involve your child in the decoration of the basket and talk about all the yummy goodies that you can put in it. Hint – start with their favourite fruit (even if this is a small box of raisins) and work from there. Peanut butter or a small amount of melted chocolate could be used to entice more fussy eaters.
Vegetables can also be included like chopped cucumber or sliced peppers. An Easter bunny teddy holding some mini carrots just might convince that toddler to give some raw carrot sticks a try. You could also include some homemade carrot muffins. The great thing about starting this custom when children are young is that it will just become a normal part of the holiday for them rather than a last-ditch attempt by mum and dad to sneak some healthy options into their day.
Check out the website Greatist for more healthy ideas on filling those baskets.
5. Easter Hunt:
The traditional Easter Egg Hunt is, of course, based around finding lots and lots of chocolate eggs. But if you are trying to limit sweets in the house there are alternative ways to make this activity work for you and your family. You can still keep it Easter themed if you wish or just enjoy the thrill of the hunt. Rain doesn’t have to spoil the day either as this can also work as an indoor game. Older children might enjoy following clues to find their treasures.
Empty plastic Easter eggs can be bought in most stores in the run up to Easter or they can be ordered online. Try to find good sized ones that will fit mini treats such as hair-clips, small colouring pencils, colourful rubbers etc. Baker Ross online have a good selection. You could also wrap the gifts in Easter themed wrapping paper to keep with the theme.
There are a number of activities you can partake in that don’t have to involve too much sugar; everything from making Easter bunny ears to baking healthy bunny shaped flapjacks to creating Easter bunnies using balloons and markers. The choice is yours. You can even come up with some traditions of your own – annual photo with everyone wearing bunny ears anyone?
All images from Pixabay