I saw this picture on facebook the other day and it stopped me dead in my tracks.
My line of thought went something like this: “Oh, look! Umbrellas filled with all sorts of Easter goodies? Cute idea! Oh, wow…..there’s a ton of stuff in those umbrellas…..coloring books, chalk, movies, games, lego sets, candy….Oh, my…..and there’s a new outfit for each kid, too. So I’m supposed to buy presents, candy, AND clothes?!?! Dang, times that by 4 kids and that’s a ton of money for Easter crap!”
Easter crap. Is this the new norm for the holiday? Do kids seriously expect to get a second Christmas in March? I can’t be the only one who thinks this is absolutely ridiculous?
Don’t get me wrong, we usually dye eggs, do an Easter egg hunt with friends, and my kids might get some candy (usually from the G-parents). I’m not a total Easter Bunny Grinch. But my kids definitely won’t get an umbrella filled with $100 worth of stuff. Not a chance.
So how bad is it? An article from US News & World Report in April of last year, reported that Easter is second only to Christmas when it comes to Holiday spending. In fact, last year, the average online Easter shopper was expected to spend $221.39. Are we really doing this people? Spending hundreds of dollars on bunnies and frilly dresses? And that’s ONLINE only! They’re not even taking into account the billions of Target runs moms are making: “Let’s see, Joey needs 15 things in his basket since Amy has 15 things in hers…..hmmm……there’s got to be more Easter crap I can buy in here somewhere!” Oh, and Target NEVER disappoints, there is ALWAYS more pretty crap to buy, right ladies?
Beyond the online shopping and Target, consumers are also spending more than $5 billon on food, not counting candy. If you add candy into the equation, you’re looking at another $2.2 billon. Then add another $2.4 billion for gifts, $1.1 billon for flowers, almost a billion for decorations, and $695 for greeting cards. Just so you know, I have never received nor sent an Easter card, nor do I expect to. What do they even say?
“I hope you have a better Good Friday than Jesus did”?
I know there are people out there who don’t believe in Jesus, and for them, Easter is just a fun Holiday to spend time with family and maybe spoil our kids a little bit. I’m not one of those people.
I love Easter because I love Jesus, and I want my kids to know that the reason we celebrate Easter is because Jesus died and rose again. That’s it. We go to church and worship with our community to celebrate the empty grave. We eat dinner with those we love to celebrate the power of the resurrection and what that means for us. It must be hard for my kids to decipher the Jesus Easter from the bunny Easter, and I know I often send them this mixed message. But a couple of years ago I decided to be done with it. No more baskets, bunnies, and junk. We’re sticking to Jesus and nothing else.
That was around the time we started doing an “Easter Tree”. For Christmas, we’ve always done a “Jesse Tree” where we put a different ornament on the tree every day of Advent, tracing the lineage of Jesus up until Christmas day. The Easter Tree picks up the story, following the life of Jesus from birth all the way to the resurrection. Every day of Lent, we read a passage from the Bible and put an egg on our “tree”. I bought cheap plastic eggs and drew pictures on them, so that’s why they’re not very pretty (don’t judge) but I’m hoping my kids will see past my ugly eggs and into my heart behind them.
Around the same time, my friends at 31:20 Non-Profit were also getting sick of the Easter crap dilemma, which led to a project called “Easter Barrels for Africa”. We had a friend in Sierra Leone, Don Osman, who had started an organization called LEAD Global that served and trained African leaders in their churches and communities. He told us his pastors needed medical supplies, books, and shoes, so we ordered 40 barrels, asking many of you to take one and fill it with items that the LEAD Global needed. The concept was, basically, instead of buying crap for Easter, let’s take the money we would have spent on all the candy/eggs/baskets/clothes and spend it on something worthwhile. The barrels went in a huge shipping container along with oxygen machines, dialysis machines, mattresses, and tires. The amazing timing of it all was that many of the items became vital to survival a year later when the Ebola outbreak hit Sierra Leone.
The following year, we became aware of a need at an orphanage in India. Our family friend, Dev Sarkar, runs a school and orphanage in Calcutta called Hope Home. They have 21 children they house full time, plus another 5 a local pastor houses. The 5 children are victims of the Nepali earthquakes, while the other 21 are either full or partial orphans. Some of the children have parents who are commercial sex workers or parents who’ve died from violence or HIV. The children have sponsors who cover their school tuition and basic care, but once a year the orphanage has extra expenses as school begins. They need to provide new shoes, new uniforms, stationary, and a backpack for each child, which costs about $50/child. Last year (with your help) we raised around $800 to help the Hope Home children with their beginning of the school year costs. The picture below is the children sporting their new gear- aren’t they cute?!?!
And this year, we are doing the same. Will you help again? Instead of spending money on Easter crap, will you help the kids at Hope Home purchase shoes and uniforms? Or maybe you don’t forgo all Easter spending, but just choose to spend less and help a child in India buy a new backpack? Whatever you can donate is amazing and appreciated!
I’m sure Easter spending will hit an all-time high this year but only because not everyone in America reads this blog. If they did, I mean, we’d see the end of Easter crap forever, right? Kidding, kidding. But I do hope that if you’ve made it this far, I’ve at least challenged you to think about where you’re going to put your money this Easter. And if you do decide to help the Hope Home kids, use this link: http://www.thirtyonetwenty.org/#!school-supplies-for-hope-home/c1r85
And I hope you all have a wonderful Easter celebrating with your friends and family.