Our families, communities, and nations will be strengthened when we teach the real meaning of Easter to children. These instructions must take place in our homes and churches because the surrounding society has a worldly view of Easter.
I believe that it is possible to teach the true meaning of Easter as well as have fun with the season. Just as the spirit of Santa and the Nativity story can both be enjoyed and taught at Christmas, we can teach of the Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ and still enjoy Easter baskets and new clothes. The important thing is to teach the real story without letting the festivities overshadow it!
Our family enjoys all the fun of both Easter and Christmas, while at the same time teaching the true meaning of the holidays. We simply separate them in such a way that children understand the sacredness of the holiday without feeling that they are missing out on any excitement. We celebrate the Nativity on Christmas Eve and the Santa Claus stuff on Christmas Day. We reverse the process for Easter by doing the fun stuff on Saturday and celebrating the sacred meaning on Sunday. In order to do this, we had to decide what was important, where we would put our focus, and what we would minimize.
Early in my motherhood I discovered that Easter baskets on Easter morning did not sit well with the true meaning of Easter. I contacted the Easter Bunny and asked if he would mind bringing baskets to my children on the previous day. He had no problem with my request, and my children received their Easter baskets on Saturday morning from that time forward. They could find their baskets, play with their toys, and eat all the candy that they wanted on Saturday. By Saturday night the excitement and sugar had worn off.
Then we celebrated Easter by going to our Sunday meetings without children being hyped up on sugar and with the excitement of baskets behind them. Our Sunday activities were in keeping the Sabbath Day holy and focusing on the Savior. Our children apparently liked this approach because they continue the same traditions in their homes.
There are probably people who think that I have one foot in Zion and one foot in Babylon in my approach to these sacred holidays. I believe that there is moderation in all things. Children often rebel when parents are too strict or try to force their beliefs on them.
I took a survey of the four children in my Primary class on Sunday. We had our Easter lesson that day because General Conference will be held on Easter and we will not be meeting that day. All four children said that they receive their Easter baskets on Sunday morning. All four children were more excited about their Easter baskets than the sacred meaning of Easter. I did not share my family’s traditions, but I felt confirmation that my way was best for my family.
Every family must decide where they will place their focus and how they will teach the sacred meaning of Easter. I urge you to at least consider separating the celebration in order to concentrate on the Savior on Easter. We can strengthen our families, communities, and nations by teaching the true meaning of Easter.