I won’t be giving my kids gifts at Easter.
It’s not that I’m a Grinch or won’t celebrate at all, but it’s all becoming too much to keep track of as a parent. Since when did Easter Sunday require perfectly curated baskets of toys, books, and candies? As parents, it is our responsibility to create family culture, but it seems that instead of creating traditions with our children, we’re passing on consumerism.
The pressure of a Pinterest-perfect Easter basket seems to have spiraled out of control since I became a mother. Maybe I wasn’t paying close attention, or maybe it’s the result of social media; but all the same, how much is too much? It’s not uncommon to see in mom groups ideas and examples of what women are putting together for their children’s Easter baskets. Some of which rival the amount of toys and gifts I received as a child… for Christmas.
This would be a great time for me to profess myself as a minimalist, but I’m not. I’m just concerned that we are creating a culture where we spend more time and money on things than actual traditions. Do we want to set the example that every holiday deserves so much fanfare that it actually overshadows the holiday itself? Can’t we teach a little moderation? Perhaps while we’re busying ourselves with themed everything, we’re missing out on everyday moments.
Our children are constantly watching us, observing what is important to us. This becomes our unspoken family culture. Things, trends, and celebration are learned by our children — including whether we are so insistent on creating perfect memories at every holiday. What if we are giving them too high of expectations? Too many activities, too many things, too many great expectations. What if the simple joy of everyday lift becomes too basic for them. Too boring?
Another angle to consider is why we, as parents, feel the need to give our children gifts at each passing holiday. Perhaps it’s based on a perception of what a good parent does, or maybe, if you’re like me, you just want your children to be happy and have things you didn’t have growing up. I’d like to challenge that way of thinking and really consider what we can do to create content children. Quality time will always be more important, as these years — while our children are young — are the only time we have to build the foundation of our family relationship.
Do you want to give your child things or memories?
Both for us as parents and for our children, Easter is becoming “another thing” to add to the unending list of perfect parenting expectations as seen on social media.
If we continue this trend to gift them things with each passing holiday, we are tying them into a cycle of consumerism that they may never be able to break free from. They will feel they deserve gifts for every occasion — big or small — and come to expect it. But what about when they’re adults? Will they expect these sorts of gifts from their friends, their colleagues, their spouses? Will they continually expect things from you, the parent who got them into this? Will there become a point when nothing — and everything — isn’t enough?
Kids don’t need gifts at Easter.
We will celebrate Easter the old fashioned way — crafts from the library, lessons at Sunday School, an Easter Egg hunt. I’ll enjoy the moments with my children as we spend time together as a family. I hope you will, too.