March 26th, 2012
While Easter is the most important holiday on the Christian calendar and celebrated in over 80 countries worldwide, it also brings to mind eggs, bunnies, baskets, candy and new clothes. Since this religious holiday always coincides with the beginning of Spring, the symbols of bunnies and eggs have come to represent rebirth and renewal, or fertility and life.
Everyone can celebrate in some way, with games and traditions like egg painting, egg rolling, and Easter egg hunts. Easter Egg Rolls are held in many countries on Easter Monday, and this year the 134th annual White House Easter Egg Roll will be held on the South Lawn on April 9, 2012. You can download a free 6-page children’s activity coloring book here.
Many historians claim that German settlers introduced the Easter bunny to American folklore when they settled in Pennsylvania in the 1700’s. Children believed that if they were good, a white hare would leave them brightly colored eggs on Easter morning. From this idea arose the custom of making “nests” in baskets, which were filled with eggs, chocolates, candy chicks, jelly beans and other gifts.
Here are some fun facts compiled by the National Confectioner’s Association:
- 90 million chocolate Easter bunnies are made for Easter each year.
- 16 billion jelly beans are made for Easter.
- Five million marshmallow chicks and bunnies are produced each day in preparation for Easter, when over 700 million will be sold. Peeps are the most popular non-chocolate Easter candy. See this link for some easy recipe and craft ideas.
- Easter is the second top-selling confectionery holiday behind Halloween.
- 88 percent of adults carry on the Easter tradition of creating Easter baskets for their kids.
- 76 percent of people eat the ears on the chocolate bunnies first.
- Red jelly beans are kids’ favorite.
Having new clothes and parades for Easter were influenced by the customs of European churchgoers. In the US, New York’s Easter Parade was an annual event from the 1880’s to the 1950’s, and as a result Easter became an important retail season. The new clothes purchased for the Easter celebration came to be symbolic of renewal in general.
Celebrate and Save $$
Your celebration can be fun without spending a lot of money, because we have some cost-cutting tricks for you!
- Decorating eggs is a fun project that the whole family can enjoy together. Skip buying food coloring and go all-natural with items you can find in your own kitchen. Make your own dyes using fruit or vegetable skins in boiling water and a little vinegar. The kids can use their creativity to make original designs on the eggs with stickers and rubber bands. The steps to make the all-natural dyes are easy and posted online here and here.
- If you buy candy, save with coupons on big bags or buy in bulk. Most grocery stores have a section of bins now, so you can buy by the pound without paying extra for individual packaging. If you’d like to cut down on sugar, the popular marshmallow peeps and other candies come in many varieties, including sugar-free. Last year Wisebread came up with a list of 20 uses for Peeps beyond the Easter Basket if you have any left over, since they never rot and even taste good stale.
- Make your baskets low-cost and eco-friendly by using recycled containers filled with shredded colored paper or real grass instead of buying baskets and plastic grass. Make an edible basket with jelly beans nestled in green-tinted coconut, or choose raisins and nuts for a healthy treat. You could eliminate candy entirely and substitute reusable toys, placing them in other re-purposed containers like paper plates or ice cream cartons instead of using plastic eggs. Try the creative ideas posted here and here. Kids as young as 3 years old can make this adorable bunny basket with a folded paper plate, cotton ball, pipe cleaners, real grass, and some construction paper, following 10 easy steps. The 6-year-olds and up can even make these ice cream bucket baskets in an hour by themselves.
- Inexpensive non-food items in the baskets can include books, puzzles, kid-themed toothbrushes, stuffed animals, stickers, bubble bath, hair accessories, decorated band-aids, sunglasses, sandals or crocs, flashlights, Legos, or silly bandz. Since Easter celebrates the rebirth of nature, a great idea would be a garden-themed basket in a water pail, full of tools and supplies like seed packets, gardening gloves, flower pots, trowels and even an Easter bonnet. A basket of art supplies would provide a child with items for year-round use.
- Find small sizes or seasonal discounted items in the Dollar Spot at Target and Michaels, these sales can often be stacked with coupons. And, of course, you can save on whatever you buy with Easter deals posted on Buxr.
Entry Filed under: Shopping