Technically speaking, “the Easter holiday is considered the most important and oldest festival of the Christian Church, celebrated between March 21 and April 25, on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the northern spring equinox.”* But when I was eight years old, I vividly remember being asked by a Sunday school teacher at our nondenominational church what Easter meant to me, and without hesitation I exuberantly responded, “Fancy dresses and Florida!” Because up until that point, my family had spent the previous Easter holidays vacationing on a white sandy beach in Destin, Florida, enjoying our spring break.
On Easter morning, our Midwestern skin of the pre-sunscreen era (hello, 1980’s!) would be lobster red as we pulled our slightly rumpled spring outfits from our suitcases. My sister and I would, of course, have matching pinafores with Peter Pan collars that would feel foreign on our bodies after days of wearing nothing more than bathing suits from dawn until dusk. And yet, we would gripe to our mother over the fact that, once again, she did not allow us to have white straw hats with elastic chinstraps. (Something my now more sartorially minded self thanks her for…) Our brothers would grudgingly wear their pressed chinos and coordinated button-down shirts, with their hair slicked back. We would brush the sand from our bare feet, slip on sandals and pile into our Chevy Conversion van for brunch and possibly a quick Biblical nod to the origins of Easter on the way to the restaurant, before returning to our damp bathing suits, sand toys and white crested waves crashing in the background of our sandcastle village.
Looking back, I remember one Easter egg hunt from my childhood. And maybe one meal in my paternal grandmother’s home, seated on her plastic covered formal dining chairs as she led us in a Lutheran catechism. (Strangely enough, we aren’t Lutheran, so I’m still unsure why that happened. But I digress…). My point being, for my siblings and me, Easter was a rather fluid holiday that merely meant having fun and being together as an immediate family.
Little did I realize until THIS WEEK how helpful that would be as we head into our first holiday as a nation encountering a pandemic. Because whatever our collective holiday traditions have been, this year we will need to get a little bit creative as the Easter bunny will most assuredly still be in quarantine.
And yet, I fully believe it can still be magic for all of us. Here are some ideas…
Tune into an online service or Easter program
Ever wanted to spend Easter Sunday at Washington National Cathedral or Westminster Abbey? Here’s your chance. Not religious? Use a play on words and watch how the Easter Island Moai Moved on National Geographic. Or maybe you are curious about the historical side of the holiday? Turn on a podcast and learn something new.
Wear that Easter dress
Don’t let being homebound discourage your personal presentation. Don your Easter finery and enjoy dressing up simply for the joy of feeling pulled together. You could even put together a quick and simple photo booth to help capture the memories you are sure to make this year. #quarantinechic
Listen to a great playlist
A well-curated Spotify playlist of Easter tunes can help you and your family celebrate. Have a dance party, sing, be silly. Let the music lift your spirits. (Side note: You may be wondering what “Easter tunes” are? I have no idea… just create a playlist that makes your family happy!)
Schedule a virtual hangout with family or friends
Haven’t we all become professional Zoom users at this point? Raise a cup from the comfort of your home with all of your loved ones’ faces crammed onto the screen of your laptop.
Do some good
Make an Easter-inspired donation to an organization that is meaningful to you, or a local food pantry, or maybe your own barista or hairstylist or other service industry person who is currently out of work.
Send Easter cards
Bring back the beauty of the postal service in the form of handmade cards and written letters. Reach out the old-fashioned way to loved ones, neighbors and residents at local nursing homes who can’t receive visitors.
Whether you are a craft-mom or not, taking time to sit down with your family to create something is well worth it. Dye eggs, paint an Easter themed picture or braid friendship necklaces – just make something. You’ll be amazed at how much conversation and laughter happens around a kitchen table filled with craft supplies and little hands.
Have an Easter egg hunt at home (with or without a yard!)
Being a downtown condo family, I can personally attest to the fun we have hunting for eggs even without a yard. All it takes is some creative egg hiding around the house. And for an extra surprise, we use cotton ball bunny trails throughout our home for the kids to follow. Why walk directly into the living room, when the bunny hopped around the dining room table, over the couch and on top of the coffee table?
Set the dining table in style
Use your china (or Easter themed paper plates), pull out the tablecloth and polish the silver to shine. Create a warm and inviting table landscape your family can’t wait to gather around.
Make a meal together as a family
It seems in most households, Mom is usually the person handling the cooking of The Easter Meal. Change things up this year and have everyone help. You can use a classic family Easter recipe, or embrace the differences innate to this year by making something nontraditional. Do you usually bake a ham? Why not have tacos? Are deviled eggs the dish you secretly detest, but always feel obligated to make? Go for gold and make breakfast for dinner. Get creative and have fun.
Establish a new tradition
The truth is, Easter will most likely look different for you this year. Rather than focusing on the ways it isn’t the same, use this as an opportunity to start a new tradition. Have a baking competition, create an extravagant centerpiece from things you find around your home, write letters to each other listing all the things you admire and read them aloud, play a board-game over dessert, watch a movie… anything that sounds fun and new for this unprecedented Easter holiday.
Have more ideas? We want to hear from you!
[Source: The Oxford English Dictionary, https://www.oed.com, 04/05/2020*]