“The Easter Bunny didn't come to your house today?" the young boy said to me right before the neighborhood Easter egg hunt some years ago. "He came to our house. He always comes to our house the day before Easter.”
The little boy's statement made me think of something I had never thought before. If Easter is about Christ and His Atonement for the world, would it not be a good idea to schedule the Easter Bunny's visit a day early? Hmm. I had many friends who didn't believe in doing the Easter Bunny thing at all, because of the distraction from the spiritual side of Easter.
When I first became a parent, I weighed heavily the two ways to do Easter — bunny or no bunny. I had been raised waking up Sunday morning to an Easter basket full of fun surprises left by the Easter Bunny. We decorated eggs and talked about the real meaning of Easter Sunday, but the Easter Bunny was a highlight of the day for sure.
I remember trying to smuggle candy into church and all the teachers trying to remind us that Easter wasn't really about all the eggs and bunnies, but that it was about the Savior and His great love for us. I heard and loved the story, but I also loved the Easter Bunny.
As I planned the first few Easter Sundays as a young mother, I remember wondering if I should choose to emphasize the Easter Bunny or if I should just choose to omit the secular tradition and keep the special holiday only about the Savior.
I decided then that I would make the day about the Savior and talk mostly about the Savior, but that we would still do the cultural things like dye eggs and have the Easter Bunny come. I deliberately decided to downplay the bunny.
Not until my oldest child was four years old did I find out about another Easter alternative that I had never considered: have a separate Easter Bunny day and then the day for the Savior.
This idea seemed perfect to me. I immediately told my family that this year the Easter Bunny would be visiting on Saturday instead of Sunday. Following the Easter surprises in the morning, we would have a whole day dedicated to family fun. That would leave Easter Sunday as a day apart to fill with love for our Savior and with gratitude for His Easter gift to us, the great Atonement and Resurrection.
Never was there a Peck family Easter like that first Easter Sunday we had dedicated only to the Savior. We had played and hunted eggs the day before and met with friends on Saturday so that Sunday could be kept sacred to honor the sacred day.
Sure, we still have had little hunts and an Easter dinner and Grandma's house on Easter Sunday, but we have also had a whole new tone to the special day, because we got the silly and secular fun over with the day before.
As an alternative this year, you may want to create a new tradition. If it works for your family as it did for ours, you will have great and memorable new Easter traditions.
For other fun family activities to do throughout the year, click here!
For ideas on how to make family activities more memorable read Parenting A House United