One thing that I’ve learned during the past month is that time passes differently during a pandemic. Is it Wednesday or could it possibly be Saturday? Is feeding your children dinner at 8pm socially acceptable now? When was the last time I washed my hair (and does it even matter considering the only human interaction I have is with my kids and husband)? When you add in the fact that this quarantine is taking place during a holiday season, it basically has given my anxiety the green light to completely take over every rational part of my brain.
The grocery stores are limited in stock. There is nary an Easter Bunny photo set-up to be found. Churches are holding services online. Even big, Southern family dinners are frowned upon due to social distancing. So it begs the question: is anyone even doing Easter this year?
But here’s the thing: Easter has not been cancelled. Yes, it may look a bit different this year. However there are still ways to pull together a nontraditional, whimsical Easter that the kids will be grateful for.
1) Stay Connected With Friends & Family
There is something about the holidays that makes you realize just how important connection with your family (whether biological or chosen) is. It can definitely make this Easter feel “less than,” because there will be no big celebration with the people we love most outside of our homes. But that shouldn’t stop you from celebrating those family ties in these more cautious ways.
- Have a Zoom dessert or cocktail hour. No, you can’t hug them through a screen, but seeing the smiling faces of those you love is better than nothing!
- Send handmade cards or letters. Remember the thrill of opening the mailbox and seeing that someone had sent you a little envelope of happy thoughts and well wishes? Let’s bring that feeling back! (Bonus: it’ll make for a precious keepsake to remember that there were lovely moments during these trying times.)
- Drop off a “thinking of you” care package on the porch. Whether a basket filled with homemade goodies or kid-friendly activities, your loved ones will be ecstatic to see a little surprise waiting for them when they open their front door. (Pro tip: “egg” a friend’s house by hiding candy-filled eggs in their front yard for a fun Easter themed surprise.)
2) Savor the Sweetness
My family has been embracing Quarantine Rules (which are a lot like Hurricane Rules); which is just a fancy way of saying there are no rules. Our favorite of these non-rules is that “dessert time is all the time.” My kids love to help make these three desserts almost as much as they love to help eat them.
- Easter Candy Cookies – Use your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, but substitute pastel Easter M&Ms for the chocolate chips for a pretty spring treat.
- Carrot Patch Dirt Cups – There’s a reason that the “dirt cup” is a classic dessert. Who doesn’t love chocolate pudding covered in crushed Oreos?! Add a marshmallow Peep bunny to the top of your “dirt” to make it look like Peter Rabbit was trolling for carrots.
- Fruit Salad – You know I had to include a healthier option too. In all seriousness, my kids love a fruit salad about as much as they love the sugary treats. Chop up whatever fruit your family prefers, toss together in a bowl, and voila! To take it up an extra notch you can mix together a dressing made of 3 tablespoons of honey, 1 tablespoon of lime juice, and 1 tablespoon of pineapple juice. Pour the dressing over the top of your fruit salad and your life will be forever changed.
3) Have a Nontraditional Egg Hunt
Egg hunts are a definite non-negotiable Easter activity for my kids. However, it seems as though this quarantine has brought out the “harder to please” side of my lovely, sweet children. I’m taking it in stride and making it my personal mission to try and shake things up with the tried-and-true activities that they love. Here are three twists on the traditional egg hunt:
- Glow in the Dark Egg Hunt – Put a fanciful, whimsical spin on your hunt by having it at nighttime. Hide plastic eggs containing small glow sticks throughout your yard to create a fairyland of gleaming eggs for your kids to enjoy. Remember to crack the glowsticks right before the hunt to take full advantage of the glow time.
- Puzzle Piece Egg Hunt – Hide plastic eggs containing puzzle pieces so that the fun can continue even after the hunt when they get to put together a new puzzle with their found pieces. Now this is not one that I’d recommend for older kids, because (quite frankly) it has the potential to turn into the world’s biggest headache depending on how big the puzzle is. (Bonus: puzzles are a quiet activity so Mom & Dad can enjoy some post-excitement wind down time.)
- Scavenger Egg Hunt – It seems that that pesky, mischievous Easter Bunny hid all of the basket treats! Hide plastic eggs filled with scavenger hunt clues to lead your kids to their missing goodies.
4) Buck Tradition with a Themed Basket
We all know that most kids’ favorite part of Easter is the basket of treats that their favorite bunny leaves as a surprise. It seems as though the economic shortages that our country has been experiencing has posed a problem for bunny helpers as they try to fill baskets. As a result, sometimes substitutions have to be made for the usual basket goodies that we all get to enjoy. Try a different take on the basket by centering it around a theme that your family will be sure to enjoy.
- Movie Marathon Basket – Start with a new popcorn bowl as the “basket” base and fill it with all the home theater goodies that your kids adore. Consider adding a bag of popcorn, each child’s favorite candy, a bottle of soda or juice, & a movie. You can even go the extra mile by adding in a new pair of pajamas to make the basket the ultimate “cozy night in” kit.
- Gardening Basket – For this one, you can use a cute watering can as your “basket.” Fill it with gardening gloves, spades, trowels, and other gardening tools. Top it off with a few seed packets and turn those kids loose in the dirt. Life is too short for clean fingernails!
- Family Game Night Basket – Admittedly, this one will be less of a “basket” and more of a tower. Stack a column of new board and card games and tie a ribbon around it to make it look more festive. Organize an array of snacks around your tower and boom! A literal pile of fun that will promote family bonding.
5) Strike a Pose
All dressed up and nowhere to go? Head to the backyard! If you’re like me, you’ve been planning your kids’ coordinated Easter outfits for weeks (if not months). Don’t just let them gather dust in the closet. Get those youngsters all fancy and pull out your trusty camera for a backyard photo shoot. Consider these ideas to add a funny twist to your memory:
- Add a sign. Use poster board or a felt board to include a funny quote about this crazy, unusual holiday. Something along the lines of: Somebunny is sick of Quarantine…
- Artfully arrange the goods. Toilet paper hoarders of the world, it’s your time to shine! Create a backdrop of toilet paper so that you can remember just how ridiculous some of our quarantine preparation decisions were.
- Embrace the real. Use props! Have your kids been screen time monsters? Let them hold their tablets. Has Mom had a particularly rough couple weeks? Toast us with that glass of wine, girl. Dad, don’t pretend that you haven’t been holding that video game controller for hours every day. Show it off. Because life is rough right now. So, we might as well laugh at ourselves.
This Easter is definitely shaping up to be one that we’ll never forget. It might not be the Pinterest-perfect Easter of our dreams, but just do your best. And remember, Mama, it’s all about the memories!