Easter is just around the corner. And you know what that means. Shopping for gift baskets to surprise the kids and some of the adults in your life. Or if you don’t have time like many of us – ordering them online. But with birthdays, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, etc – don’t we give each other presents all the time? Why should Easter be any special? And what is the origin of the Easter basket and why do we give Easter eggs?
Well, the tradition of Easter baskets isn’t anything new. In fact, it’s much older than the tradition of giving gifts for Christmas or Valentines Day. It dates back thousands of years ago and has older roots than Christianity itself. Even though Easter is a holiday that Christians celebrate to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Easter basket (and the Easter Bunny) has nothing to do with this.
Every spring equinox, ancient Anglo-Saxon cultures celebrated the goddess of spring and fertility, Eostre, which was depicted as carrying a woven basket in the crook of her arm. As a ritual of praying to the goddess for a bountiful harvest, people stuffed baskets with eggs and held feasts in her honour. They used eggs because they were considered a symbol of fertility. And this was the beginning of the Easter basket tradition which is know adopted by Christianity. Today, Christians give Easter eggs as a symbol of Christ’s resurrection.
The earliest Easter baskets consisted of eggs, fruit other food, grass and flowers. And up until a few decades ago, this was still the case. If you were born before the 1980s, I’m sure you clearly remember the joy of waking up on that one spring Sunday morning and finding a basket stuffed with grass, decorated eggs and chocolate bunnies. So, why isn’t this enough to put a smile on children’s faces in modern times?
Given the abundance of Easter-themed décor, toys, clothes, books, etc, flooding the store’s windows many feel obligated to go out of their way and buy something expensive which will stand out in the sea of gifts. These days, besides candy, the Easter Bunny brings kids all sorts of extras from plush toys to leggings and even RC toys to iPads. But is this something people do because they really want to or do they just buy more because they’re seeing more?
We already have one consumer-crazy holiday – Christmas. Why should we turn Easter into something like that? By spoiling our kids rotten with elaborate gifts throughout the year, we send the message to them that material possessions are needed to make one happy. And that’s quite a shame, especially around holidays where families get the rare chance to come together and spend quality time. Instead of letting our children sit at the table and engage with the whole family, we shower them with toys and gifts that rob their attention and distance them further away from us.
For that reason, I try to not overdo it for Easter. In the past few years, I’ve weaved DIY Easter hampers which I’ve filled with some tasty chocolate eggs or bunnies along with colourfully decorated eggs. This year, due to a packed schedule, I won’t be able to stick to this tradition which is why I’ve decided to send Easter eggs online gift arrangement stores offer.
And no, this isn’t necessarily cheating. If you have no time to arrange a hamper and want to send Easter eggs online stores can create lovely arrangements consisting only of some of the best chocolates such as Lindt for instance. You can even have the hamper personalised with a sticker that displays a cute message (Hoppy Easter, for example) or the recipient’s name. This way, after they’ve eaten all the chocolates, they can keep the hamper as a keepsake that reminds them of you. This is a great idea if you want to surprise your grown-up kids who are living far away and couldn’t make it for Easter.
In any case, try not to teach children to associate Easter or any holiday for that matter with anticipating a flashy toy or gadget. Instead, try to teach them to care more about the overall event. By giving them a simple Easter hamper with genuine eggs or chocolate ones, you can help them get into the real spirit of Easter. However, be careful not to let children eat too much chocolate or too many eggs as they can have a bad tummy ache. Or at least try to get them to keep some of these edible gifts for later in the future. Unlike Christmas trees, chocolate Easter eggs can be left around long after the holiday is over. Let them savour their favourite treat, but also remind them that moderation is key.