Dear Easter Bunny, curb the clutter!
Spring has sprung, the Easter Bunny is about to hippity hop into your home, and your kids will soon be bouncing off the walls, fueled by chocolate and Peeps and the joy of having a week off of school.
Just like Christmas — and birthdays, and Halloween, and every other occasion where we shower kids with candy and gifts — Easter leaves us with a bunch of useless detritus that comes with American gifting habits.
It’s completely counter-intuitive to the flurry of cleaning and tidying we do when the sun starts to shine and warm breezes fill the air.
So why do we do it?
“Bigger and more” is how many of us handle holidays. But do our kids expect or need this? Or do we do it because we want to keep up with other parents, feel guilty for working long hours, or succumb to the pressure of Pinterest?
I’m not going to launch into a lecture about candy because, well... I love candy! And when you don’t celebrate Easter as part of your faith, it’s really all about the candy.
But dear Easter Bunny (or his proxy)... it’s time to think about all of the other stuff you bring the kids, its impact on the environment, and whether you really want it cluttering up your house.
The Easter egg hunt
If your family or your neighborhood has a traditional Easter egg hunt...hooray! Fresh air and a little healthy competition are always good.
But do you need to hide the goodies in eggs that were probably made in China from petroleum-based materials, shipped here on a pollution-producing boat that guzzles fossil fuels, and will eventually end up in a landfill or our oceans? And fill them with trinkets that kids will play with for 5 minutes and never touch again?
Here are some more eco-friendly alternatives that your kids might like just as much, if not more:
- Hide Cadbury Cream Eggs, Reese’s eggs, or other candy that comes in colorful wrappers...sans the plastic egg containers.
- Buy a puzzle and hide the pieces in envelopes, then let kids spend the afternoon completing it.
- Create a scavenger hunt with a prize (or prizes) at the end. Hide clues and have the kids work together to solve them. Or create multiple paths and let kids compete.
- Hide water balloons (here are some biodegradable ones), have teams stockpile the ones they find, and let them have an epic battle.
- Use real eggs that you colored with your kids. Remember when that was a thing?? If you’re really eco-conscious try using natural dyes.
Or you could be like this mom who hides craft beers for her adult kids. Coolest mom ever!!
A tisket, a tasket, a junky Easter basket
Last week I saw this display at the drug store, and it immediately rankled me because they imply that we need filler for the Easter basket. Really? Filler for our trash bins and basements is more like it.
First, let’s talk about the container. Easter baskets are single-use items, they’re often made of cheap materials, and they take up a whole storage bin in the basement. Instead:
- Use a basket or bucket that you already have, and save it for next year. Littler kids won’t remember, and the jig is probably already up for older kids. A neutral wicker basket can double as decor the rest of the year.
- Instead of plastic Easter grass — which ends up snarled in your vacuum cleaner, in your cat’s belly, or in some unwitting bird’s nest — line the bag with colorful paper or cloth napkins, or skip it altogether.
If you just can’t resist filling up the basket, try items that your kids will be able to use in the spring and summer, like:
- Lip balm or gloss
- Movie tickets
- A bath bomb
- A new sportsball
- Finger paints, sidewalk chalk, or other art supplies
- A book
- A framed photo
- Seeds or starter plants they can plant in the garden
- A clever note revealing where you’re going for summer vacation
Anything that’s a unique experience, entertaining, or useful is better than junk that’s destined for the trash.
Focus on what matters
If your kids complain, use it as a teachable moment to get them thinking about our impact on the environment and/or put the focus back on your faith.
If all else fails, it will become a funny story when they tell their own kids about the “Worst. Easter. Ever!”