March 13, 2010

What to do about the Easter Bunny?

I'm trying to find my position on this, and I just can't.

You probably know how I feel about Santa Claus.  The fat elf doesn't come on Christmas Eve, but St. Nicholas fills our stockings on the eve of his feast day.

So clearly we have no problem lying to our kids about who's amazingly leaving gifts at our house.  But we want Christian holidays to be about Christ and I feel like I'll do a much better job of that if we remove Santa from the 25th.  But that still leaves the magic and excitement that all kids feel when they believe in Santa.

Back to the Easter Bunny.

We still do Easter baskets, and they're filled with candy and trinkets and fun things.  They are there to help us celebrate the Resurrection of Christ, of course.  And I can explain why we use plastic eggs (new life) and pretty colors (pinks, greens, blues and yellows remind us of the Earth beautifully coming back to life).

But do I tell the kids that the Easter Bunny is some devout Catholic rabbit who loves Jesus so much he spreads his excitement by bringing eggs?  (Whaaaat?  That sounds crazy!)  Or does it not even need an explanation?  Or should they just come from us and no mention of the EB?

Honestly, I am not making any judgements (and I hope you're not either!) - I want to know how you moms and dads out there explain the Easter Bunny to your kids and keep Christ the focus of Easter.  Also, if you don't do the Easter Bunny, what do you do?

Lent is coming to an end!  Help, please. 


  1. I don't have kids, but the large Catholic family I used to babysit for did NOT do the EB. They did decorate eggs (with the explanation you gave above) and then hid them in the yard for the kids to find. The kids still loved it and had a great time hunting eggs. It was still something they looked forward to, without taking away from Christ. I think that might be a good compromise. Maybe?

  2. We did (and will) do baskets for the girls, and made no mention of the easter bunny at all. It was just gifts from us to celebrate Jesus' Ressurection, just like we give/get gifts to celebrate someone's birthday. They also get stuff from Grandparents, aunts and uncles and such too, so we don't do a lot from ryan or i. But, at Easter lunch/dinner with relatives all the kids get eggs and candy and toys and do a egg hunt in the backyard. no one ever brought up the easter bunny, and neither did we. i figure that he might come up sometime, but that he's just an imaginary fun 'storybook' character such as rudolph or disney princesses.

  3. Perhaps you might find a nice children's book about the Easter bunny. I'm sure you'd have to search fairly hard, but there might be one about the tradition of the Easter bunny. So, if you chose to, you might say you will hide eggs in the spirit of the tradition, never attempting to really deceive them into believing the Bunny is real or anything to do with real meaning of Easter. Just a suggestion. I've found that a lot of times, the way the tradition started is actually really fascinating and sometimes dear (you know, before every holiday became so commercial). However, you might also find the tradition is quite dark or disturbing (like Ring Around the Rosey), and it might put the last nail in the coffin of the Easter Bunny, anyway. I don't think the kids will miss out too much, especially considering they will receive Easter baskets.

    I hope you and the fam are all doing well, Bon.

    Love, Em

  4. Perhaps you should just take into consideration that kids are meant to be kids and enjoy life. In addition to the fact that the look on kids faces when they go to sleep waiting for santa/ the easter bunny to come, and the excited faces they have when they wake up and see the gifts under the tree/eggs is something every child should experience and every parent should get to watch. If you don't tell them about the Easter Bunny, they will ruin it for all of the kids that do believe, therefore not just taking away from your kids enjoying life, but also ruining it for other children. There are plenty of ways to still teach the true meaning behind the holidays. Our catholic church has breakfast with santa and breakfast with the easter bunny for the kids. Obviously, it is not wrong in their opinion for kids to "believe" and have fun.

  5. We do the same as Veronica described. Thus far Simon hasn't even seemed to notice that he's missing out on anything. They still get the fun of the eggs and the basket but the emphasis can easily be placed on Christ's resurrection. We've actually found that ignoring the Easter Bunny is a lot easier than ignoring Santa.

  6. Anon,

    Please know that I normally do not publish anonymous comments. In the future please sign your name if you do not have a blogger account. Thanks for understanding.

    Also, (and I may be misreading you) you seem judgemental and defensive, but I'm not sure why. My post, and my whole blog, is not supposed to be a showcase of my holiness and great mothering. I think I am pretty candid about my lack in those two areas.

    Third, my post was asking parents how they do or do not do the EB and why, and how they keep Christ the focus of the holiday. I'm curious, what does your family do?

    Fourth, in my opinion just because a parish does something doesn't make it okay. I have seen many not orthodox priests allow things that were way too secular or protestant. Now, if your Catholic Church happens to be the Cathedral where Archbishop Chaput sits then I'll reconsider this. But I doubt he, or the pope, host the EB. This is not to say your EB breakfast is wrong, of course.

    Fifth, I would never tell my kids that the EB doesn't exist, just that he doesn't come to our house so they wouldn't ruin it for other kids.

    Also, the look you talk about was on my daughter face the eve of St. Nick's feast day, that morning, Christmas Eve and Christmas day. It will be on her face Easter eve and day, too. You don't have to have Santa or the EB to be excited. I know this first hand.

    Lastly, you said "Perhaps you should just take into consideration that kids are meant to be kids and enjoy life."
    I totally agree with that statement and I strongly feel that my kids will live that out whether or not the EB comes to our house.

    And really finally, you want your kids to enjoy this life to the fullest, but my goal is for my kids to enjoy Eternal Life to the fullest. That is why I make the decisions I do, including struggling over things like a silly Easter Bunny.

  7. Alright, I'm gonna weigh in on this (since my husband and I had a lengthy conversation during our date night about such things like this and other oddities like should we watch Alice and wonderland or read the Cat in the Hat)

    Sometimes, I wonder if we just don't over think things. I just don't think there is anything inherently wrong with using our imaginations and having fun with such oddities as the EB, Santa, tooth fairy, etc. At our house we have a sock monster who will take your socks if they aren't put inside your shoes when you take them off. We all know monsters aren't real, but it's fun and gets the job done.

    The problem begins when we overshadow the importance of the Easter story and Christmas story.
    We have found a way to enjoy pretending that a weird bunny leaves us food or that Santa fills our stockings on Christmas eve. We still celebrate the feast of St. Nicholas and all kinds of traditions during both lent and advent. So, the emphasis isn't placed on the EB or the giant, jolly elf-like Santa. These things are just down-right fun in my opinion and I do believe there is a way to have both.

    As my children have aged, they've transitioned OK and then it has become fun for them to play EB or Santa for their younger siblings. My 18 yo still gets into the fun of it, even though she thinks I'm a little weird at times.

    SO, what say you - will you read The Cat in the Hat to your children???

  8. I think your logic of the EB or Santa taking away from the true meaning of the holidays is wrong. I think the EB and Santa just add excitement and help a child's imagination as they wonder how Santa could make it to all of the houses and up and down chimneys magically at night. The same as the Easter Bunny. If anything were to take the focus away from the true meaning of Christmas or Easter, it would be the gifts or candy, but by no means do I think you should not give presents and Easter eggs/basakets to your kids.

    - Margaret

  9. Margaret,

    I agree that it's the gifts and candy that steal the spotlight. But that's what Santa and the EB do!

    I suppose that my decision (along with Travis) to not do the EB or Santa is heavily influenced by the culture we live in. I know a lot of people - kids and adults, even Christians - for whom Christ is a second thought on Christmas and Easter, if He's a thought at all. When you see a kid you ask him, "What did Santa bring you?" and that's what the conversation is about - what Santa brought. By not having Santa that question cannot be asked. Instead we can talk about other traditions - like putting the Babe in the manger. (I know that people will still ask what my kids got for Christmas but it's a step that I'm trying to take away from the commercialism - however ineffective you think it will be.)

    Additionally, and most importantly, I do believe that there are multitudes of families who can do the EB and Santa very well while keeping Christ the focus of the holidays. (See Amanda.)
    I also believe that I am not one of them, which is why, as I stated in the post, I choose to get rid of the myth. My #1 job as a mom is to get my kids to Heaven. If doing Christmas and Easter differently then the rest of the USA makes me more effective then that is what I will do.

    What it comes down to is a personal parenting choice. I am sure I will disagree with things you do with your kids, but I will respect your choice because I trust that you are doing what you feel is best for your family.

  10. Here's a link to a great blog and she's been writing about Easter lately.
    I, for one, have tried avoiding the whole Easter bunny thing (along with Santa Claus). Hannah knows that people think these things exist, and when it comes up I just tell her it's pretend, like Elmo or Big Bird, and leave it at that for now.