There are few things that get me as excited as holidays. I love finding simple ways to create family traditions during the holidays that will build lasting memories and make each holiday more meaningful. I see these times as great opportunities for affirming our faith and creating strong familial bonds.
Family traditions don't have to be expensive or elaborate. Sometimes it's the simplest things that our children look back on and remember with fondness. It can be a particular decoration, a special book, or a movie that you cuddle up and watch every holiday. How many of you remember these painted ceramic Christmas trees? My Grandma Grover made one and set it out every year at Christmas. Now, whenever I see one at a garage sale, I remember Christmas at Grandma's house.
I could fill this entire post with special Christmas traditions, from my mother's hand-painted Nativity to my father reading the Christmas Story every Christmas morning before opening gifts.....but I'll save that for December. Since this post is about Easter, I will share a special tradition my mother had for Easter. Every year she would sew matching Easter dresses for Rachel and I complete with bonnets. We looked so cute with our blond pigtails and uneven bangs. (Did I mention she also had a tradition of cutting our hair?) It was always so exciting to dress up in our new outfits on Easter morning! I look back now and think of all the hours she must have spent in sewing those dresses. I didn't think about it then, but what a labor of love that must have been. Now, before you panic.....don't worry. Sewing homemade Easter clothes for your children is NOT on my list of simple family traditions. But, for my mother, it was something she enjoyed.
I'm sure each of you have special memories of holiday traditions. I hope you'll share them with us! Let's look at some simple ways we can make Easter fun and memorable while pointing our children to Christ.
This one needs to be first and foremost in our holiday family traditions. What better time to affirm to our children the message of the gospel in real, tangible ways? Start when they are young with the basic Easter story and gospel message and continue every year building on simple truths, uncovering richer and deeper theological truths. It will be a time you will greatly treasure and you will begin to reap the sweetest fruit as your children grow older and begin to "walk in truth".
For many years, we have used Resurrection Eggs. This 12-day Easter devotion is great to use with younger children because it is so visual and tactile and the devotions are very short. We have used ours for about 10 years now and, although our older boys have outgrown them, we continue to use the eggs for our 3- and 9-year-old.
Here are a few other devotions I found:
1. Ann Voskamp has a free Easter devotional and directions for making a Jesus Easter Tree. I have not used this yet, but we love, love, LOVE her Advent devotion and use our Jesse Tree faithfully every year. I think I will make plans for a Jesus Easter Tree next year.
2. Faith Gateway has a free ebook called The Blessings of the Cross. It is a 40-day devotional with contributions from Billy Graham, Max Lucado and Stormie Omartian. This would be great for older children and adults.
It doesn't matter if you don't have a super fun devotional, you can just read the Easter Story straight through the Bible. The point is to make teaching your children the gospel message central to your Easter family traditions.
This is something we have done on and off again, not consistently every year. We have celebrated Passover quite elaborately with our church family a few times and it was amazing! We also have had years where we just put something very simple together and celebrated at home with our children. I remember one year when our boys were young, we taped cardboard over our doorways and spread ketchup for the "blood" over the door. If you have never celebrated a Christian Passover, you will be amazed at the rich truths you will uncover as you teach your children through this simple meal showing the Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in Christ. Ann Voskamp, again, has a wonderful free book and resource for planning a Christian Passover. I highly recommend it!!
I love having a collection of special books and movies that we reserve only for certain holidays. This is probably the simplest way to start a holiday tradition with your children. Here are some of our favorite Easter books.
This is really just personal preference, so no judgement if you like to go all out with the candy and Easter baskets. Each family is different and much of your view on this depends on the family you were raised in. My husband and I tend to go big at Christmas, so we made the decision to make Easter less about candy and gifts and more about the Resurrection. For that reason, I only fill one Easter basket that all my kids share. I put a minimal amount of candy in, although I HAVE to include one chocolate cross for each child. It's tradition. Even my teenagers would be crestfallen on Easter morning without the chocolate crosses.
Rather than buying small gifts or toys, we try to fill the basket with things that are spiritually edifying for the children. Some of the things we have purchased in the past are: new Bibles, Bible covers, worship CDs, Christian films and Torchlighter films. Here is a little peek into our Easter basket this year:
We also decided to purchase a Zoo Family Membership this year for our children. (Shhh......don't tell!!)
Pinterest is brimming with ideas for this suggestion. Whatever did Mothers do before Pinterest?!?! Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Some of these ideas I have used and others I have saved for future ideas.
My kids woke up to this breakfast surprise one Easter morning. So fun and a big hit!
This is such a fun idea from Fab n Free!! You can visit her blog for instructions and a free printable.
Give Peas a Chance has instructions for making "Empty Tomb Rolls". What a fun surprise for Easter Lunch!
I pray that these ideas inspire you to create fun and meaningful traditions with your family. Just remember that we don't have to do all of these things or any of them!! This post is not to urge you to be the "Easter Super-Mom", but rather just to remind you to point your children to Christ in all that you do. We would love to hear from you! What family traditions do you enjoy?
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