My Big Fat Easter Celebration

Easter is my favorite holiday

As a Christian whose faith hinges on Jesus’ resurrection, Easter holds a very special place in my heart. When I became a mom, I looked forward to creating fun family Easter traditions.

For the past six or so years, I have been hosting our extended family Easter Celebration at my house. It has evolved somewhat over time as our kids and our families have grown. But there are a few things we can always count on :: dinner together with cousins/uncles/aunts/grandparents; the Resurrection Egg activity; a craft of some kind; and our own Easter Egg Hunt.

I love Easter Egg Hunts- the look of a green lawn blanketed with colorful eggs, the promise of a surprise in each one, and of course, the thrill of the hunt. I wish there was one for adults where the plastic eggs contained prizes like diamonds and expensive skin care items. One time a missionary family who lived overseas came back to Houston for the summer and of all things to offer them, I decided that a belated Easter Egg Hunt for their kids would be most necessary. This fixation can likely be traced back to a certain childhood event.

The Catalyst

During a short period of my life as a young child, my parents served at a tiny little church in South Florida whose membership consisted of mostly Cantonese-speaking senior citizens. The congregation borrowed a classroom from a larger church building and set it up to look like a chapel. The children in the congregation consisted of me, my brother, and one other boy.

On Sunday mornings after the hymns, us kids would go across the hall to have Sunday School class with the two other children from the larger church. Apparently, they too had a congregation firmly in their sunset years. What I remember most fondly from that somewhat curious time in our lives was the Easter Egg Hunt.

One year someone at church had organized an egg hunt, possibly my first ever, outside the adjacent little house that served as a parish. Among the colorful plastic eggs hidden underneath cars {it was the 80’s}, in the bushes, and near the house was a large golden egg. Whoever found that prized egg would win a giant chocolate bunny. But no one could find the egg, not even after an exhaustive search. 

We were all about to give up when my Sunday School teacher caught my eye. With a nod of his head, he directed me to the mailbox by the front door of the parish. It seemed wrong to look inside someone else’s mailbox but he kept signaling so I tentatively flipped open the lid. Eureka! The golden egg. My love for this Easter tradition was likely cemented that day.

Our Big Fat Easter Celebration

So now, when Easter rolls around, I get to planning our celebration. First, I haul out all the preschool Spring and Easter crafts my kids have brought home over the years. Green paper palm leaves, cotton ball bunny rabbits, and construction paper crosses join the tablescape with other random Easter trinkets that would typically get rejected as clutter in my house. Our special stuffed Easter bunny and giant yellow duck are allowed to bask in our living room for a few weeks. We don’t own many Easter lawn decorations but what we do have enjoy their moment in the sun as well.

So far, the highlight of the celebration has been the Egg Hunt but as the kids have gotten older, I’ve had to tweak things. We’ve added a staggered start time, point system with plastic coins that can be traded in for prizes, and more candy. {Shrug}

Although watching the littles hustle to fill their baskets makes for good laughs, I cherish the other parts of our time together too. After the hunt, we sit down and tell the story of Easter through Resurrection Eggs . Each child gets a chance to open one of the Resurrection Eggs and contribute to the retelling of the Easter story and Jesus’ journey to the cross as best as they can. 

Afterwards, we do a craft and dye eggs. There are lots of cute craft ideas out there but I try to find things that would be suitable for various ages. Last year we made egg shakers with plastic eggs, uncooked rice, and colorful washi tape which was an easy one for the younger kids. We shook these to the beat of our celebratory songs during our special music time in the family room with song sheets in hand. My kids have always attended a contemporary church, so giving them an opportunity to sing hymns with their grandparents seemed very sacred to me.

Unlike many of our other family gatherings, we do not do potluck for our big Easter meal. Although I kind of miss having our mish-mash Chinese and American dishes crowding the counter, we have been happy catering Mediterranean food for the last several years. We joke that it’s a more authentic menu since Jesus likely stayed away from both ham and roast pork.

It feels good to spend these hours together, catching up and letting the kids play and enjoy the company of their cousins on this important holiday. Through celebrating richly, we remind ourselves about the significance of Easter and the hope that we have in Jesus.

A Common Sentiment

I gave a talk about Easter traditions at my MOPS group once. Afterwards, one of the moms told me she was inspired to celebrate Easter with her kids even though she wasn’t a Christian. Easter to her meant new life and rejuvenation, a shedding of the old and hope for the future—something she thought people should celebrate more. I don’t think we have to hunt very long to find others who would readily agree with that sentiment.

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