If there’s one thing I’ve mastered over the years...it’s staying home. And with the world under quarantine, the skills I’ve learned that make home an extraordinary place to be—for both my family and myself—are coming in handy.
I’ve seen many of my friends online post about not knowing how to spend Easter without leaving the house. For the past 4 years, each Easter my family has had has been solely at home, and they’ve been wonderful! I wouldn’t change them at all.
So I thought I would share some of the creativity and resourcefulness I’ve gathered over the years, in the hopes of inspiring more people to have fun at home. And of course, without giving into the consumer culture by spending only a few dollars, if any!
I should mention that I do not celebrate Easter like another Christmas. So if you’re hoping for guidance pertaining to big gift baskets full of toys, this post is likely to underwhelm. I’m all about getting the family together, doing crafts with things on-hand, baking, and getting dirty outside. If you’re into all that, then I think we’re all set! Here it goes!
The first and obvious thing associated with Easter is, of course, the EGGS:
I have always loved dyeing them with my family when I was little and have continued that tradition as a parent. I find it more fun (and healthy!) to make my own dyes with natural ingredients, such as turmeric, coffee, onion skins (yes, that really works!), red cabbage, blueberries, and more! Keep the egg carton and use it to plant some seeds (we’ll bring this up later). And use all your dyed eggs to make a colorful deviled egg dish for dinner. (I wish I had pictures for all these, but this post is last-minute! [and days before Easter, so I obviously don’t have any footage from this year!] So here’s an old picture of some eggs we dyed a few years ago).
I usually hard boil the eggs a day or so before dyeing them. And my personal tradition is dyeing them the night before Easter, but I’m sure it would be just as—if not more—fun to dye them the day-of.
Other things you can do with eggs:
-Write your intentions on them and bury them in the ground. This is a ritual for Ostara and a great practice for mindfulness. My daughter loves doing little activities like these. There is an ancient saying that if you bury eggs at the four corners of your home, you will bring prosperity to your family.
-Use the shells in your garden for more nutrients in the soil. Make sure you do this only if you’ve used safe dyes.
-Use the eggs in games, such as an egg-in-spoon relay race (use hard-boiled if you’re confined to the inside of your house).
You cannot have eggs without an egg HUNT:
Contrary to popular belief, you do not need an entire park and a mass of people in order to have an egg hunt. You also do not need eggs. Throughout my childhood and adulthood, I have partaken in so many hunts that consisted of candy and stuffed animals—most of which were in a back yard, but many were even INSIDE THE HOUSE! (I told you I was equipped for this quarantine). Any hunt is a fun hunt, especially for kids. One year, my mom spray painted an egg ~GOLD~ (it was so beautiful) and awarded a special prize to whomever found it (me, thank you very much). To this day, that little dose of creativity made a favorite, vivid, memory for me.
For this one, you’ll need a camera with a self-timer (most cameras these days have them, even our phones). Dress up the family—even your pets, if they’re willing, prop up the camera before a background, and have someone brave enough to rush back and forth to set up the self-timer and pose for the picture. This may sound silly, but each of my family’s best photos have been taken with a self-timer. Get creative, too! They don’t have to be proper or fancy—maybe you want to pose with your eggs. Or reenact a portrait from the past. Or wear an ensemble that is your most out-dated and laughable. The point of this is to be together and capture it in a photo.
(This photo is of my precious bunbun, Phillip)
(specifically, the back yard or patio)
The entire theme of Easter is the resurrection of nature after winter…so what’s truer to tradition than honoring Spring by being outside? Even if you don’t have a garden, there’s no reason you can’t plant an apple seed from an apple. Or start some seeds in that egg carton I was talking about earlier. Forage for dandelions. Go on an Easter-themed scavenger hunt. Go on a bug safari. Pick yourself a bouquet…even if you can’t find any flowers, you can always use branches and leaves, and I guarantee it will look lovely in the house. Have a picnic for lunch! It’s hard to be hungry for lunch if you have a belly full of malt eggs and jellybeans, but just in case you are, this would be a nice opportunity to pack a light lunch and bring it in the back yard or out to the porch. Have a barbecue for dinner. Decorate a dining table outside with your dandelion findings, light some candles, and have a family dinner.
(Here's my baby girl a couple of Easters ago. She was hunting for the eggs my husband and I hid for her on our property.)
Play GAMES and get CRAFTy:
The games and crafts are endless! Games (like this list here) are easily invented or shared with others; often the best ones are the ones you as a family come up with, yourself. One game I would like to play this year is poker, but with candy for our bets. (I’m sure I’ll have to play it once the little one has gone to bed, though. And not because I don’t want her to see me gambling with her father, but because I want more candy to myself).
Crafts are a different kind of fun than games, but are just as special. They don’t have to be boring glue-the-cotton-ball-on-the-construction-paper-bunny (how many times have I done that craft? Seriously?). Why not make it unique by gluing felt and paper to clothe your Easter eggs and have a contest as to whose is best-dressed? Play it like Project Runway. I can see that being very funny! Or use pipe cleaners and felt to make your own bunny-ears! Who doesn’t want a pair of bunny ears to wear? You can hold onto them and use them for play time later.
Why not incorporate the theme of Spring and collect something to make a craft with from outside? My daughter and I recently had a craft-activity where we went into the back yard, collected leaves, painted them with our ‘wishes’ (words and images we loved or wanted to come true), and hung them out on a tree. I think for Easter, we will look for some rocks to paint for labels for our garden. (For example, they’ll say ‘beans’, ‘onions’, ‘potatoes’, with the image of the crop painted beside it). Very soon I want to grab some twigs and wildflowers and make a seasonal wreath for the front door.
There is always decorating cookies and desserts together, too. Which brings me to my final idea:
Feast, feast, feast, FEAST
(that’s meant to be said like the Grinch)
Cooking together is one of the most precious things a family can do. Not only is it valuable family time, but it helps everyone appreciate their meal so much more. My husband and I have this (good or bad, it depends) habit of cooking humongous feasts for every occasion possible. He and I can easily be compared with the dwarves wreaking havoc on Bilbo’s pantry. Wine, meats, mashed potatoes and gravy, towering cakes, wine, and also some wine. And in the case of Easter: devilled eggs! We enjoy cooking in the kitchen together, smelling the meat roast throughout the day, and devouring it when it’s finally ready at dinner time. And who can eat dinner without dessert? Not me.
Even with all the Easter candy? Yep. I still need dessert.
Dessert doesn’t have to be complicated! And you can make it beforehand. Did you know you can freeze a cake? I recently discovered that and it has changed my life (for the worse, probably). And Easter desserts are so versatile, from colorfully iced shortbread cookies cut out in your favorite shapes, to carrot-cake donuts (I made these the other day and they were delicious with their cream-cheese frosting); cupcakes with Peeps on the top of a faux-nest, covering Cadbury eggs; a pan of chocolate pudding and crushed oreos to look like dirt, with green coconut on the top for grass, and a creative tableau of Peeps and eggs on the top. What about dessert for breakfast? There is no other day when such a thing is appropriate. Have you seen how people roll those Cadbury Crème eggs up in croissant rolls? I haven’t attempted it yet, but it looks amazing. Be creative, have fun, enjoy! And make sure everyone in the family participates.
(Here's a picture of the chewy, sweet...but slightly spicy...carrot cake donut I made this week)
((So very festive!))
I know it’s going to be difficult for many to spend this holiday away from family and friends. I’m fortunate to be accustomed to social distancing, living a rural life hours away from any given relative. So while this may be a sad day for many, there is no reason anyone should be BORED. There are always things to do, even if they seem simple and silly. Sometimes those are the things that are remembered most fondly in retrospect.
I hope everyone is able to enjoy this holiday, considering the chaos and sorrow surrounding us. We are all fortunate to even be thinking about fun and games on this day. If anyone happens to use any of these ideas, or is inspired by them, please let me know! I want to know what you did and, if you did something differently, how that went! I would also love some new suggestions if you have any.