Saturday, 7 April 2012

Easter is......Lost.

Easter is supposed to be a big holiday, isn't it?  I mean, holiest of holy.  But for us, it has always been about chocolates and family.

We aren't terribly religious.  In fact, I can count on my hands the amount of times in my whole life that I have set foot in a church.  I have never attended Sunday school.  I have never read the bible.  And ironically, this is the "typical" Canadian citizen living in Toronto.  I represent the demographic.  Huh.  So, tell me why there are so many cars parked around every church this weekend, with overflowing parking lots? 

This is Hanukkah??  Not!
 Funny fact; we weren't ALLOWED to teach religion in a public school system, so we only learnt the non-religious aspects of the holidays, which really skewed our views  of all holidays...  We learnt about the holiday FOOD.  I learnt that Hanukkah means latkas and gold-wrapped chocolate coins.  And Passover means a good brisket.  How messed up is that?!  Continuing with this craziness, I raised my kids in a Toronto neighbourhood that had a very high Muslim and Hindu population.  Same problem.  My kids probably couldn't tell you the story of Jesus, or Mohamed, but they can tell you what's in a samosa and what halal means.  They know good channah.  The breadth of their multicultural knowledge is both astounding and humerous; it is like Swiss cheese--it has huge holes in it because no one is allowed to teach them anything religious except their own parents, and well, I don't KNOW anything religious, so I'm not a good candidate for that.

So our Easters have always been a weird attempt, and frequently a failure, to create some kind of tradition for this holiday, but nothing has really stuck.

When the kids were little, I'd do up little gift baskets for them on Easter Sunday.  There was ALWAYS a Mr Munchy Bunny--he's solid, good-quality chocolate with rice crisps in him.  I'd go to Laura Secord and get the "good" foil-wrapped chocolate eggs for the kids (and leave out the crappy little foil-covered chocolate eggs from Walmart for my now-ex-husband who had an insane sweet tooth.)  Part of the tradition of Easter meant buying everything twice, because my ex-husband would find the chocolate and eat it before I'd given it to the kids, and part of the tradition was me finding better hiding spots each year to keep it safe until I could give it to them.... 

I'd always stick a stuffed bunny in their baskets, too.  They loved the stuffed bunnies.  But by the time they were almost teens, the amount of stuffed toys in each of their rooms was ridiculous.

We used to colour eggs--when they were really small it was basic hard-boiled eggs and old-fashioned white crayon and food colouring (we never ate them afterwards, I just threw them out after a few days had gone by).  But the kids thought it was a bit too much work.  So then we went through the fancy egg-colouring kits and egg-wrapping kits, but the kids lost interest in that, too.  Then I learnt how to blow eggs so we could do all kinds of fancy patterning and crackling; but I was the only one at that point that wanted anything to do with the eggs.  Then I decided I'd had enough of doing it alone and just stopped.  I don't think we've coloured an egg in five or more years and the kids haven't even noticed. 

We used to do Easter egg hunts--because of the dogs, we'd stick the little chocolates into those big hollow plastic eggs, and we'd have to leave them in spots that were a bit obvious because I didn't want to find them full of ants mid-summer or next Christmas.  My kids were a bit lazy, though, and didn't really enjoy having to search when they had perfectly good chocolate in their baskets already.  They did distract my ex-husband, though, so the kids could eat their chocolates in peace for a little while.

We haven't had an Easter egg hunt in many, many years.  I found a couple of plastic eggs with old chocolate in them on moving day several years ago when I decided to leave the city for good and move on out to the suburbs of Ajax.  I was in the middle of my divorce.  The found chocolates were a little bittersweet, and a lot gross.

The only thing that has remained a constant every year is that Easter means going to visit family.  Over the weekend, we'd make time to visit both my family and my husband's family.  The kids would get chocolate, eat breakfast, go visit, get more chocolate, eat a dinner of turkey and ham, then do it all over again the next day--get breakfast, go visit, get chocolate, eat turkey and ham.  That's it.  Now that I am re-married, it is the same thing still.  We visit both sides of the family, everyone eats a lot of chocolate, ham, turkey.  Of course, the kids are teens now, so they drag their heels, don't want to visit family, would rather hang out with friends.  They don't want stuffed animals anymore.  And I've seriously cut down the amount of chocolate I give to them (though other family members still give them lots). 

So I struggle with this holiday.  If its not about religion, and I don't want it to be about the chocolate, and the teens don't want it to be about family anymore, what is it?  What tradition can I create, can I revive, and hold on to? 

I'm really struggling to hold onto the few traditions we have.  This year, I am truly struggling to give the holiday any meaning whatsoever and this is making me very, very sad.

What does Easter mean in your house?  Do you have teens?  What traditions do you keep?

1 comment:

  1. In our family our kids are the oldest of all the cousins, they no longer enjoy the Easter Egg hunt, so they now are responsible for hosting it for their younger cousins, they package up the treats, hide them, supervise 'the hunt' and run the games for bigger prizes. They have learned to enjoy it and it gives me more time to socialize with the adults, it's a win-win. We also take a long family walk after our big meal, everyone enjoys it...even my teens who complained about going, end up with some cool memories of something funny someone said or did...
    I always remind my teens that if they put in the "family" time, they can escape to hang out with their friends afterwards :) That helps!