One way we’ve been able to accomplish this desire is by peeling back many of the layers of what’s expected for a particular holiday and ask ourselves: A. Do we have the energy levels required to enjoy this activity (whatever it may be – elaborate meal, presentation, etc) or will this addition stress us out and if so, the activity needs to be eliminated or reconfigured to meet our current energy levels so that it doesn’t potentially hinder the true meaning of the holiday, and B. What simple traditions can we incorporate to ensure that our children are honoring whatever this holiday is truly about? – the undeserved gift of our salvation through Christ's resurrection.
Traditionally for Easter I make a big lunch (ham, potatoes, veggies, rolls, dessert) as do many of you. This is a good tradition but not necessarily something Jesus needs from us: the perfect dinner, the dress up clothes, Mom stressed trying to put the perfect dinner on the table while the kids moan and groan about how hungry they are, the baby rubbing her eyes because she’s ready for a nap and wants mom to put her down for her nap…. This year we decided to have a family pool party instead of the big fancy lunch and along with that pool party was also a spin on the Easter egg hunt (which was well established within our energy and stress levels).
The pool party was accompanied with homemade pizzas, “fake” wine (sparkling juice), and ice cream sundaes. Ryan and I have a deep desire to convey the true meaning of the season to our family, as do most parents, but we often feel like the meaning gets lost behind bunnies, candy, and pretty clothes. We want our kids to grasp the concept of what Christ did at Calvary for us in some small way, and so we focused on the concept of the gift and filled plastic Easter eggs with not only candy but also with McDonald's coupons for free food; the catch being - the kids could keep the candy, but they had to give away the coupons to other children, neighbors, bus drivers, teachers - whomever they wanted to give them to. Additionally, if they felt comfortable doing so, they were asked to explain why they were giving away these coupons – in honor of Christ’s gift to us at Easter which we did absolutely nothing to deserve or warrant – just like the person receiving the coupon.
So far about half of these coupons have found new homes. Our girls have been much more interested in this endeavor and have gladly shared the Easter concept with many of their friends. Our boys, not as much, but we’re still thrilled that they have been able to bless others with a small token and hopefully store away a little piece of the true meaning of Easter in their hearts as well.