For many individuals, the term “Easter” conjures up images of candy-filled eggs, gift baskets, and an anthropomorphic bunny. These cultural traditions often overshadow the fact that Easter is a celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus.
There is a lot of debate about the origins of these Easter traditions. Some historians cite evidence that the traditions of Easter eggs and the Easter Bunny have origins in the Church. Other historians cite evidence that these have pagan origins.
I don’t know which view is accurate, but I do know this: I want my family to focus on celebrating the Resurrection on Easter. It may be entirely possible for families to embrace these traditions and celebrate the Resurrection. However, I’m not sure if my family is able to do this. Though I grew up in a family that attended church and I chose to follow Jesus at a young age, I distinctly remember waking on Easter morning eager to don a new dress, eat candy, and hunt for eggs left by the Easter Bunny. I didn’t give much thought to the Resurrection and its significance.
I want this—celebrating the Resurrection—to be my family’s focus at Easter, so I’ve been looking into various Christ-focused Easter activities. Here are some of the wonderful ideas I’ve found.
Christ-focused Easter traditions
Make an Easter garden
An Easter garden is similar to the Nativity scene of Christmas. You use supplies such as soil, rocks, twigs, flowers, figurines, etc. to depict the empty tomb in the garden (idea source). This is especially great for kids because it is a hands-on activity and the Easter garden can be displayed in a prominent location to serve as a reminder of the true significance of Easter.
Here is an example I found at Full Homely Divinity:
Depict new life with bulbs
At the beginning of Lent (the forty day period before Easter), help your children plant crocus, daffodil, or hyacinth bulbs in a bowl of sand, covering halfway (leave one bulb unplanted as a reminder of how the bulbs began). Store the bulbs in a dark closet, keeping the sand moist (a process known as forcing bulbs). Once shoots appear, let the bulbs bask in the sunlight. Watch them grow and discuss how we have new life because of Jesus’ death and resurrection (idea source).
Create a Jesus Tree
Given I love the Jesse Tree tradition so much, I’m surprised that I didn’t learn of the Jesus Tree tradition earlier. A Jesus Tree is like a Jesse Tree, but it consists of readings and ornaments that symbolize various aspects of the Easter story (I found this idea and the image below at St. Brigid’s Academy). You can find printable ornaments or instructions for making ornaments out of felt and other materials in various places around the web.
Have an Easter scavenger hunt
Arabah Joy shares the idea of having an Easter scavenger hunt. For this activity, your children will find indoor and outdoor items that are mentioned in Bible verses that are part of the Easter story (you can print a PDF of the Bible verses by following the link). Once they’ve found these items, your kids can use them to retell the Easter story. What a fun idea!
Read Easter books
There are numerous children’s books that highlight the significance of Easter. Some are dramatic retellings of the Easter story, while others are completely fictional stories that highlight Easter-related principles.
Easter books aren’t just for kids! There are plenty of books to help us adults focus on the Resurrection, too.
Use a Lenten calendar
A Lenten calendar helps families take note of the various events of the Easter story and provides space to write down daily prayers or sacrifices. This printable version from Catholic Icing is perfect for helping kids and adults alike prepare their hearts as they watch Easter approach.
Complete alternative egg- and bunny-related activities
If you’d really like to integrate eggs or bunnies into your Easter celebration, then consider using some of these activities that teach about the real meaning of Easter.
- Hunt for Resurrection Eggs (affiliate link), which are colorful plastic eggs that hold memory-grabbing objects that tell the Easter story.
- Decorate eggs in a way that tells the story of God’s love and forgiveness (idea source).
- Before hiding the eggs or putting them in baskets, encircle each with a colored strip of paper that tells one small part of the Easter story. When the eggs have been found, have your children unscramble the strips and place them in the right order.
- Instead of decorating eggs with dye (or in addition to dying them), write one attribute of Jesus on each egg.
- Dye the eggs in certain colors and use them to tell the story of salvation.
- Teach your children what real Easter bunnies look like (idea source). Real Easter bunnies:
- are white as snow because Jesus takes all sin away (Isaiah 1:18b).
- are gentle, kind-hearted and forgiving (Ephesians 4:32).
- have big ears that are quick to listen (James 1:19).
- have big eyes to look carefully and choose what is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
- have no voice for complaining or arguing (Philippians 2:13).
- are quiet in prayer, but hop with thanksgiving and rejoicing (Philippians 4:4-6).
- have big feet to go tell others about Jesus so they can be like Easter bunnies, too (Matthew 28: 19-20).
- eat what is healthy by filling up on God’s word every day (Psalm 119:11).
The Bible doesn’t explicitly address how Christians should commemorate the Resurrection, nor am I highlighting these Christ-focused options in order to tell you how your family should or shouldn’t celebrate. I simply hope you will join me in searching Scripture, praying, and considering how you can best celebrate the true meaning of Easter. Be free and joyful as you follow your conscience in this!
Does your family participate in any Christ-focused Easter activities? Please share about these below.
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