This article may be a little schizo (i.e hypocritical) because for today's post I was torn between posting sugary Easter ideas and this. So if you ignore it entirely I won't be offended. Though, truly, I'm not quite as much of a hypocrite as I may seem and even if I was, I think the ideas in this essay are still sound, even if yours truly has issues.
When we were young kids this is what we got in our baskets:
1. Hard-boiled eggs, sometimes elaborately colored by my mother
2. The occasional raw egg, sometimes elaborately colored by my mother. How they always got mixed in with the boiled ones is still a mystery. Also, it was usually the youngest child who ended up with the raw eggs; this is also a mystery.
3. Jelly beans
4. Peeps (seriously...gross)
5. 1 big Cadbury egg (it was the only one we would see all year and I looked forward to it all year)
6. Homemade peanut butter egg.
7. Homemade Easter chocolates (made from molds).
8. Maybe some other stuff, like Robin's eggs, although I don't remember these as a yearly fixture.
9. There was one year we got (or at least I got) one of those big hollow chocolate bunnies, though I'm pretty sure I begged for them every year.
My mother also made (as in sewed as in with a sewing machine) me and my two sisters matching Easter dresses and sometimes we got a bonnet to go with. These were pretty cherished (I have a quilt with squares of some of the fabric she used and I love it) and they cost my mom a certain amount of time and sanity.
What we did not get when we were kids:
1. Cadbury eggs (the little milk chocolate ones; I didn't even know these existed until I got married to an addict)
2. Big Reese's eggs
3. Any regular candy (Butterfinger, Snickers, etc) shaped like an egg and wrapped in foil
4. Stuffed animals
5. Toys of any kind
What we got at school:
(although we did have the week before Easter off instead of having spring break at some random time in March)
What we got from our grandparents and extended family (who weren't local, but who certainly loved us very much):
Today I went to Walmart to get a gift for my daughter's friend's birthday. I also picked up a bag of jelly beans in order to make a treat I had in mind. And when I got home I realized I actually picked up 2 bags of jelly beans because I shopped with my 4 children (the littlest was blamed for the extra bag getting into the cart), which is about as economically wise as taking all your retirement money to Vegas. But that's not the point. The point is that I felt a little guilty about the jelly beans and about making a treat at all because I'd already bought big Cadbury eggs, mini Cadbury eggs, big Reese's eggs, and Robin's eggs (and this was scaling back from last year). My seven-year-old had already received an entire basket's worth of candy from her school party. And I was planning to shop candy sales come Monday. To our credit, I've done a good job keeping this stuff under wraps--we have not been eating candy for the last two weeks. But still. It's like Halloween all over again. Or at least like Old school Halloween. New school Halloween is much much bigger (the candy itself as well as the amount given).
And not only is it like Halloween, it costs more. As we walked through the front of the store to the car and I saw what everyone else was buying: candy, eggs, stuffed animals, toys, pre-packaged baskets, cookies, cupcakes, the works. I am not judging; I am among these people. They aren't rich people, just as we aren't rich people. I don't wish to tally up my candy bill. Suffice it to say that I'd estimate it roughly at $15 so far. And for what? So much candy that it's going to totally stress me out when I see my kids (and husband) eating that much of it. And for why? Because these are the types of candy we get every year. It's a tradition by gum and, thus, a ?need?.
Of course the junk doesn't end with the sweet things. There's plenty of other junk in all our holidays. There are the toys that will break and the baskets that will go in the trash and the stuffed animals that everyone loves for a little while, but that end up in the Goodwill bin by June. There are tokens, I think, of a ghost we're grasping at--a nostalgia created by childhood and advertising, by movie scenes of pink-dressed girls hunting for eggs.
I'm advocating, I think, not for stoicism or thoughtlessness, but for simpler, more thoughtful holidays, for gifts you give knowing your children will love them, for candy bought not out of some twisted sense of obligation or fairness (and twisted sense of obligation is totally my specialty), but to give a little something sweet, for meaningful tokens for those we love, and for meaningful symbols of the holiday that celebrates the re-birth of Christ.
I'm not saying I'm good at it, only that I wish to be.
Now stay-tuned for a healthy-ish idea tomorrow and one that isn't so much. Told you I was schizo.