Easter May Be Done But Here is Picture Fun!: Plus, the Value of Keeping a Holiday Mentality

Why yes, Virginia, the Spicers did have an Easter. A few readers have been requesting that I show a few pictures to prove it. The proof is in the chocolate eggs. Or at least, the picture of happy children seeking them out.

This year I was reminded that if we do something that the kids enjoy then it becomes set-in-stone-from-the-divine-chisel instantly. As you may know, we've been doing renovations on the first floor of our house. For various reasons, our kitchen has been torn up and an unusable cavern of echoes since the fall. Our living room has become one of many rooms of storage to accommodate all the different work. This means, our family room has basically become our kitchen, dining room, and living area for the last six months. It has made everything feel a bit more chaotic, and has officially knocked us way down the list of top homes to host gatherings.

Since there was much less space and I've just been feeling overwhelmed for many reasons, I had thought the Easter Bunny this years would just drop all his treats in the one room and the kids will find them together. But then my ears revealed the importance of not battling against the fabled tradition. Tradition!

Danika and Everett were both excitedly speculating which room each of them would get, and also guessing what some of the clues would be for the bigger prize. The tradition that was passed on from when I was a kid and the Easter Bunny now does with my rascals is that each kid gets their own designated area, so one isn't competing with the other for all the eggs. This was a necessary strategy when one was three and the other was seven. 

After all the eggs had been found, there would be a clue left for them that they had to solve that would then lead them to another clue in the house and so on, until they would find the hidden prize. It was clear from the ecstatic chatter that this was the expected structure for this Easter Sunday, and who cares of such things as half the house torn up and daddy feeling burnt out.

Kids understand how easy it is to roll with punches and being resilient. And besides after two unusual years, sticking to some delightful and beloved traditions are even more important. I quickly scrapped my 'efficient' Easter plans, and went with the yearly each kids get their own room to hunt for eggs and cap off the morning excitement with the journey of clues.

Now, both my kids for the last few years have been obsessed with capturing both Santa and the Easter Bunny. They 'KNOW' it is me, but they just must make sure. Or so their story goes. I usually try to wait out until the two kids 'who will not fall asleep all night' finally do exactly that before I start creeping about the house. But this year, due to some jumping about excitement and probably just because why not make my night even later, Everett kept hanging around downstairs and was suddenly hit with a debilitating case of 'can't hear any words coming from my dad's mouth, especially those about going to bed now'.

This meant that it was even later than this already exhausted fellow had assumed clues would be crafted. and things would start being hidden. But here is the thing when I finally stumbled my way to pulling out the treats from their secret storage location, and then started planning out where things would be hidden and what the clues would be for the grand prize, I started getting filled with joy over creating something fun for my kids, and needing to use my creativity to compose a letter from the Easter Bunny and the various clues that would take up some of the kids' morning.

The tiredness of it being late and my energy drained from an anxious week were sucked up and replaced with the excitement and joy of not only tapping into my creativity but knowing I was making something my kids would love, and as was clearly proven from the discussion that I overheard, would be remembered for years.

This positivity spread into Easter Sunday morning as I witnessed both my kids bouncing up and down like bunnies with excitement to see a letter had been left by the Easter Bunny and the promise for adventures around the house to find special treats. While I didn't get any sugar, I got the natural high and excitement watching my kids trying to find all the hiding places, and after those eggs where found, working together to solve the clues that were hidden in other parts of the house.

There was also some mythology building, as the fear of breaking and entering by the Easter Bunny has been eliminated as he is an invited and welcomed family friend. Danika had one last egg to find, and she was asking for help. I couldn't find it either, so I blurted out, 'Where did I put the last one?'. She naturally called me out, 'You? I thought the Easter Bunny hid them?' Which I then shared that the Easter Bunny talks to me after and he shows me where he puts everything, and asks beforehand what the kids would like, because we're pals. She accepted this. I'm officially down with the bunny.

While I was laughing and sharing in my kids' adventure, I realized there is something magical about holidays like Easter, Christmas and Thanksgiving. It is days where families seem closer and there is a positive energy radiating around the room. There is an excitement that bounces around in the belly and then explode into optimistic and cheerful emotions. Now, I get that those days often have hosting that can be stressful and no one likes when crazy Uncle Remus rants against toasters, but for the most part, it is a day that families are warmer and happier with each other and themselves.

They are days where the worries of work, the stresses of life or even the burdens of society get pushed aside for family, love and kindness. The energy during the holidays just makes us strive to be little bit better and to display more love. We all want to be kinder, more generous and loving on those days. This was something that became clear to me as I reflected back on that morning when I lost myself in my kid's treat hunting adventures. I felt joy because my work from the late evening was delivering it to those that I loved, and it carried through for the rest of the day.

It got me thinking how the idea of holidays or the subconscious memories that spark positive feelings on holidays are treasures that I need to harness every day. There can't be year-round presents under an ornately decorated plastic tree or chocolate eggs hidden throughout the house (not sure I can guard them from curious dogs every single day), but what they represent along with the feelings, excitement and emotions that they bring out are worth chasing more than just four or so times a year. It is like how we shouldn't just make our partner feel loved on Valentine's Day, because while that can be a fun day, it represents something we should aspire to do throughout the year. 

I realize that not everyone is filled with bubbling joy on holidays. Not everyone had my childhood that links happiness, kindness and love with those specific days. I recognize this displays my privilege and blessed life. But I think trying to live a life where every day feels special and the people in our life feel loved is a worthy ambition. For me, wiring my brain to think like it is always a holiday is one of the strategies to improve my mental health and give myself the energy to constantly spread love to my family is a valuable pursuit.

Do you know what else often makes one incredibly happy besides holidays? Especially if you're a kid? Birthdays. I realized that I never posted any photos of Danika's 7th birthday. So, here is a bonus photo collection.

It is a little late, but hope everyone had a marvelous Easter! Did you have any major highlights over the holidays or last week?