With Easter quickly approaching, we have been receiving numerous invitations to attend different Easter Egg hunts. I have also been receiving messages asking what I am putting in my kids Easter baskets. Our family does not participate in Halloween, and my children know that Santa is just a character. Yes, at the ages of 2 and 4. And the Easter Bunny doesn’t visit my kids either.
Origins of the Easter Bunny
The Easter Bunny came to America back in the 1700s along with a group of German immigrants. Their tradition included an egg-laying rabbit called in “Osterhase”, now known as the Easter bunny. Instead of setting out baskets, children would make a “nest” for the rabbit to lay its eggs. Some children have even been known to leave a carrot or two out so that the mythical creature can have something to snack on. The tradition has evolved to include candy and other gifts in modern society. So much candy is bought that in 2016, Easter candy sales even beat out Halloween!
So what’s the deal with the eggs?
The tradition of decorating eggs can be dated back to as early as the 13th century. It began as a sign to mark the end of the fasting period of Lent, since eggs were forbidden during that time. Families would spend their entire Saturday decorating eggs with bright colors as a celebration, and would eat them on Sunday morning. Modern day Christian’s have said that the eggs are a symbol of Jesus’ emergence from the tomb.
The True Purpose of Easter
The candy, the eggs, the mythical creature… they’re fun, sure, but what do they really have to do with anything?
Simply put, NOTHING.
If you try hard enough, and put in a fair amount of thought, I am sure that you could find Christian symbolism in almost any holiday. In my opinion, Easter doesn’t need any theatricals to make it any better.
Jesus died on the cross to save our souls. He rose from the dead as a symbol of the new birth we could have by believing in Him. HE DEFEATED DEATH. And a fictional character that defies nature will not reinforce this fact to my kids.
“Let them use their imagination”
Everyone I have this discussion with says the same things.
“Let them be kids” or “Let them use their imagination”.
My kids use their imaginations ALL day long. At any time of the day Ace could be a horse, a crocodile, or a tiger. You never know what you are going to get. Lana can regularly be found “teaching” her animals and babies, who are all very involved in the lessons. They don’t need a bunny to be able to express their creativity and imagine things.
“Do as I say, not as I do”
Another issue I find is that for the Easter bunny to visit, I have to lie to my kids. Morally, I don’t personally see it as fair to tell my kids that lying is bad, and then lie to them about this. Many will argue that “it’s all in good fun”, but at whose expense?
I don’t remember being super upset when I found out that the Easter Bunny wasn’t real, but I have seen others that think it is a tragedy. Honestly, we have no idea how our kids will react to finding out they’ve been lied to, so why take the chance?
The Easter Bunny Doesn’t Visit my Kids — and they’re okay with that!
This is the first year that the Easter Bunny won’t be visiting our home, but “he” (is it a he????) has in the past. That being said, Lana is the only one who is old enough to remember hunting eggs in the past. She brought it up to me recently, and I told her we won’t be doing that anymore.
“Why aren’t we hunting eggs, Mommy?”, she asked me.
“Because that isn’t what Easter is about,” I told her.
“Well, then what is it about?” she inquired.
This simple discussion opened up into an opportunity for me to teach her an invaluable truth; the foundation of our faith.
I recently purchased “The Usborne Book of Bible Stories“, and it contains “The Easter Story”! (This book also comes with a nifty CD so that I can pop in the CD and the kids can “read” on their own whenever they want!) When the topic came up, I sent Lana to get her book, and we began reading. The story takes you through Palm Sunday; the Last Supper; Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane; His arrest, judgement, and crucifixion; and of course, His resurrection. The kids all thought the story was pretty cool, and at the end Lana asked me, “But where is the bunny? I thought there was a bunny…”
Exactly, my dear, exactly.
She was a little bummed, but ultimately, she understood that Easter is about so much more than egg hunts and candy.
You do you
In no way do I look down on anyone who chooses to participate in these traditions. Ultimately, as parents, we sometimes have to make choices that others won’t agree with. We have to do what we think is best for the upbringing of our children.
If you think that I am crazy, cool. If you think I am somehow damaging my kids, cool. The fact of the matter is that this choice was not made for you. It was not made with your opinion in mind. What matters is that my children understand the real reason for this holiday. And if that means that the Easter Bunny doesn’t visit my kids, then so be it.
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