How our families celebrate Easter

Earlier this week, we asked various staff members the question – how does your family celebrate Easter? We received some endearing stories in return, some about family traditions that date back many many years and we are delighted to be sharing them with you. Perhaps they will spark some brand-new traditions at your place too!

John’s family

“When my girl Suzy was about six, she picked a hole in the side of her hollow chocolate easter egg. She put it down on the table and walked her fingers towards the egg. She started narrating a story. ‘On Easter Sunday,’ she said, ‘Mary and Mary Magdelene went to Jesus’ tomb. “Oh!” they said, “The stone’s been rolled away.”‘

I was very impressed. Not only had she remembered the resurrection story from Sunday School, she had also worked out a new way of incorporating the delicious modern tradition of chocolate eggs. I leaned forward to hear the next part.

‘When they got to the tomb, they looked inside. “Wow,” they said, “It’s all made of chocolate!” And they ate it all up.’

Ah well. Once again, history took a back seat, and was replaced with a charming story. And I’ve got to admit, a religion centred around chocolate has a great deal of appeal to me. A God who transforms solid rock into dairy milk is hard to beat.

Joy’s family

“It’s the Big Egg Hunt which dominates our Easter tradition. For forever now (our eldest is 36), we’ve been hiding and hunting for eggs. And as the years rolled on and our family grew to four kids, the skill level and inventive places to hide the eggs has been challenging.

Our kids still like to hunt for their eggs, as do their respective wives and husbands, so a heap of planning, buying and hiding (and recording where they are hidden) is in play.

The funniest time I can remember is when we hid a large egg in the middle of our swimming pool floating on a boogie board. Both our daughters-in-law were trying to score it with the leaf skimmer and it nearly ended in a soggy end for both of them. If the weather permits, the adult hunt is outside.

We have two stages of hunt. One for the ‘big kids’ and one for the littlies (five grandies). Parents like to lend a helping hand and there is much hilarity.

The tricky thing for me is to make a note of where they are all stashed so they can be recovered – we have had the odd case over the years where we’ve found paper or a sticky mess when the hiding place was too clever.

A few years I asked our big kids if they felt they were too old for the hunt. Heck, the shock on their faces and the thought of just being handed their eggs and perhaps having to ‘grow up’ and not hunt for their eggs was enough for me to decide never to ask that question again!”

Karlee’s family

“We were given ‘resurrection eggs’ – put out by Family Life. They are such a great way to tell the Easter story to all ages. Last Sunday we chatted to the kids about Palm Sunday and read the section in the book about Jesus riding on a donkey. We used the donkey from inside the egg and a LEGO figure to play Jesus. Afterwards, to see if our three-year-old son understood the story, we pointed to the LEGO figure and asked him, “Who is that?” He correctly answered, “Jesus”. We then asked, “Who rode on the donkey?” To which he replied, “Mary!” Oops, wrong story about Jesus!

We also do the usual hot cross buns and easter egg hunts. This year, we are going to have a go at making pancake bunnies with a cute marshmallow tail using this recipe – here.”

Jenny’s family

“We have specific lovely stories to read with the kids – most of them are about Jesus, but the bunny rabbit appears too. I get the books out and leave them where they can be found. The stories lead to great discussions – both around Easter but also any time during the year.

We have an easter egg hunt with the grandchildren and their cousins, they set off on a grand search for the not-so-well-hidden eggs around the garden. The older ones are getting good at finding an egg and leaving it for a younger kid if they have already got enough eggs.

I also send each grandchild an Easter card in which I tell them about how I am looking forward to seeing them at Easter. We then all go to church together on Easter Sunday.”

Ideas to try

Here are a few fun ideas to try out with the kids these school holidays, starting with this Easter weekend – big fun, small cost!

  • Have movie nights at home and make popcorn the good old-fashioned way (on the stove)
  • Visit free things like museums and parks
  • Instead of going out, spend an evening telling your kids about the true Easter story, if you haven’t already (or even better, put on a play!)
  • Sleep marae-style on mattresses in the lounge and tell stories in the dark
  • Work deals with other families – share your kids!
  • Get your kids reading

We hope your families have a wonderful Easter weekend together!