For those of you who read the What to do about the Easter Bunny post, I thought I'd offer a follow up.
Dear, dear Easter Bunny...
I did a little research into your past (like Em suggested - good idea, Em!) and discovered you most likely come from Germany and that back in the day your coming was more quiet, and definitely less commercial.
In fact, what I read sounded a lot like what my Grandpa W shared about his memories of you, Easter Bunny. He has the sweetest memories about being a boy and making a little nest in a corner of his house. Every day of Easter, since Catholics celebrate Easter for a full week, he'd come home and find a single egg or sweet in the nest. Grandpa encouraged me to not turn my back on you when I told him I didn't know what to do.
When asking my mom her opinion she told me about her Great Grandma D. I guess my great-great grandma loved you just as much as my grandpa. She even would swear that rabbit eggs were better than chicken eggs. She so looked forward to the little treats you would leave for her.
Now, the fondness of my grandparents' memories was pretty convicting.
Margaret pointed out on my post that it's the commercialism that threatens to overshadow the Resurrected Christ, and not you, EB. I agree with her, but the thing is, that's all you do: you bring baskets filled with sidewalk chalk, stuffed toys, bubbles, and lots of candy. (I wonder what you bring older kids? CD's? itunes gift cards? DVDs? Video games? hmmmm... I only have a 2 year old, so I'm not sure.)
It's not that I'm against the gifts or the baskets.
But, just like Santa, I feel like you make kids excited not because you're a neat character they can believe in, like Ariel or Super Wy. No, they're excited about you because you bring things. Neat things. Nice things. Sweet things. And in doing so you, the great bearer of baskets, become glorified.
I should know, that's why I was excited about you when I was a kid. And I'll be honest, you overshadowed Jesus when I was a little kid. Let me be abundantly clear, when I was a kid, Easter was primarily about you and the Paschal Mystery was a HUGE afterthought. (don't feel bad, Mom. You tried, I was just greedy.)
At school we would all talk about what the Easter Bunny brought us, comparing each other's baskets to see who had the best gifts and most sweets. This just reinforced that Easter wasn't really about Easter, it was about the baskets and you, EB.
Now, some people seem to think that by not teaching my kids about you I will be ruining a part of their childhood. Maybe there is a morsel of truth to that. My hope, though, is that my husband and I will be able to create enough tradtions and fun on our own, centered around Holy Week and Easter, that they will be compensated.
I feel like I should admit at this point that my children will still receive Easter baskets with goodies inside. But these baskets will come from their parents and grandparents, not you. Because, believe me, us normal folk will not become glorified. It's been proven. (okay, we will become glorified at Christ's second coming... but that's not what I'm talking about here!)
Really, this is nothing personal. I don't think you, Easter Bunny, are a horrible bunny. I don't think parents who invite you into their homes are horrible parents.
But I do feel that since no one told me how they keep Christ the joyful center of Easter while keeping you a supporting character, I am unaware of how to do that myself without asking you to completely bow out of the picture.
Please know, this isn't about you. This is about me. It is a personal parenting choice, made by my husband and I.
And really, for me it came down to two reasons:
First, commercialism and secularism. I want my family's Easters to look very different from the Easters of my atheist, agnostic and nominally Christian friends. Maybe that sounds snooty, but I think they should be different. A real joy, rooted in a personal relationship with the Risen Lord, should be the focus of our Easter, not a celebration of nice things, like warm weather, longer days and procreating animals.
Second, I feel I will not do a good enough job of keeping Jesus the focus if I have you in the picture. I want my kids to grow up loving the Holy Trinity, and I wholeheartedly believe that my vocation is to get my husband, kids and self to Heaven. If not having you come to our home every Spring helps me make that happen, then that's what I'm going to have to do. I hope you can support me in this choice, even if you don't agree with me.