Why does it seem like every holiday revolves around candy?
Halloween, Christmas, Valentine's Day, Easter… One holiday follows another, each with an onslaught of chocolate, candy, and sugary sweets.
Yet, it doesn't have to be that way.
Here are 14 family-friendly Easter traditions that don't center on chocolate, treats, or sweets.
Real Easter Eggs
Who even needs chocolate eggs when you can have the real thing?*
Eggs have become synonymous with Easter as a representation of new life and the empty tomb.
Growing up, most of our Easter celebrations revolved around real eggs — there weren't any chocolate eggs to be found at my house! So, what can you do with eggs?
#1 — Dye them. You don't have to use dye from the store, either. Instead, boil your eggs in high-color fruits, veggies, and herbs — like red cabbage, onion skins, blueberries, and turmeric. Add a little salt and/or vinegar to the water to help the natural dying process.
#2 — Hide them. If you have an egg hunt in your house, why not use the real thing? I have wonderful memories of searching for brightly-colored hard-boiled eggs on Easter morning — and then promptly choosing one to eat for breakfast.
#3 — Eat them. This might be obvious, but having deviled eggs for Easter morning breakfast is one of my favorite traditions.
*Unless you're allergic to eggs, in which case scroll down for more ideas!
Tell The Easter Story
This is what Easter is all about, right?! Read the story straight from the Bible or a children's book, or…
#4 — Read 1 verse a day leading up to Easter until you've told the entire story. This is even more fun if you cut the verses out and put them in plastic eggs or a basket.
#5 — Hunt for eggs filled with verses. This adds a twist on the usual Easter egg hunt. Number the verses and put them into plastic eggs. After the kids find all of the eggs, put the verses in order and take turns reading.
#6 — Create Resurrection Eggs. Take plastic eggs and fill them with symbols of the Easter story. Open 1 egg a day leading up to Easter, or turn it into an Easter hunt as above. Add verses with the objects, or just use the objects as a way to tell the story. Older children can order the objects and tell the story themselves. Check out this simple DIY version.
#7 — Celebrate Lent
Lent is typically celebrated in the 40 days leading up to Easter. It usually involves temporarily sacrificing or giving up something you enjoy.
Many families give up things like sugar, coffee, treats, television, and other luxuries. Other families make financial sacrifices each day by putting money toward a donation to a worthy cause.
Even if your church doesn’t participate in Lent as a group, you can still engage in Lent activities as a family. Lent teaches about sacrifice and brings extra joy to Easter morning when the 40 days of sacrifice is lifted.
If you don't want to do 40 days, even sacrificing something for a week before Easter will still bring extra meaning to the holiday.
Celebrate Spring and New Life
Easter themes of death and resurrection can be hard for children to understand. But springtime provides abundant opportunities to see this in the world around them.
As a family, you can…
#8 — Go on a nature walk. Find signs of spring like budding trees and wildflowers. Make note of where death has brought new life — such as a rotting log that is now home to many plants and organisms. Just enjoy being outdoors together as a family.
#9 — Watch the sunrise. Many churches do this together as an Easter Sunday tradition, but it can be done as a family too!
#10 — Plant seeds. Seeds are beautiful symbol of new life, and spring is the perfect time for planting seeds and watching them grow.
#11 — Collect leaves, seeds, and flowers and use them to create holiday decorations. Make a pretty centerpiece for the table, a wreath, or use smaller leaves and flowers in your egg decorating.
Who says all traditions have to be about sweet treats?
Baking bread together is a fun tradition for all family members.
#12 — Make Pita or flatbread to represent the unleavened bread that Jesus and his disciples would have eaten as part of the Passover celebration.
#13 — Make Challah bread. Challah is an egg-infused bread often served at Easter. Sometimes it is even braided with whole eggs on top. Find a sourdough version here.
#14 — Make Hot Cross Buns. A traditional recipe would definitely put hot cross buns in the treat category, but recipes now abound to make these healthier, including sourdough and gluten-free variations.
Would you prefer that candy and sweets weren't the focus of Easter? Will you be starting any of these candy-free traditions in your family this year?
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