Easter Memories

Easter is probably my favorite holiday, because it welcomes spring, new beginnings, family gatherings, and egg hunts. Since my mom sold her home in Greenville, we have  hosted Easter. I love packing the plastic Easter eggs with coins, candy, and clues. Oh yes, the scavenger hunt is always one of my favorites.

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Easter 2001 on Cambridge Avenue, Clifton Park

As you can see in the photo, the little ones are all in the back of my SUV around their prize. But they had to work to get there. It might be a puzzle, word finder, word scramble, or hunting for eggs, which held vital clues. They would be age specific, with tougher ones for the older children. It brought them together in excitement and challenge.

Stephen and Nick were five and seven in this photo, Marisa six, Alysia, Justine, and Charlie all four. When I was little, we always dressed up for Easter in our bonnets and bright spring colored dresses. We’d wear our white stockings and don our new patent leather shoes. I smile at this photo as all the children followed that tradition, whether they wanted to or not! The boys looked spiffy in their vests, dress shirts, and pants. Nick loved hats and so the cowboy hat had to be a part of his ensemble. I am intrigued by all that I am reminded of when looking closely at the details.

Nick and his sassy smile. He always had something in his pockets. I’m not sure what was in his back pocket in the top photo. He’s wearing a Pokemon pin on his vest, and I could almost guarantee he had a Pokemon character (probably Pikachu) in his front pocket. Stephen with his top button undone and wearing sneakers. It was a win just to get dress clothes on him, now that’s all he wears. Marisa and Alysia wear their fancy hats and are holding jump ropes in their hands.

Of course the boys were into Legos as shown in the photo with their gifts. Stephen was starting baseball, so was given a new glove. There was some Disney item and more Legos. I’m sure I have photos of their actual gifts and listed them in their journals. Details that I wouldn’t remember, but bring back so many memories.

Some things don’t change and Stephen is being hounded by his uncle to get a smile out of him. Since I probably was taking the picture, Stephen was most likely begging his father to save him. We did manage to get a smile.

Even before the family gathers, the Easter egg coloring happens. Laying out the plastic tablecloth, then newspaper, arranging all the supplies, preparing the colored dyes, always having crayons to write family names. Giving them as gifts Easter morning as everyone arrived.

Justine, Alysia, and Charlie are now 18, but I still have some tricks up my sleeve if they want their basket of candy. Yes, they may outgrow some of the activities, but we never outgrow the love of family and connection we feel when everyone gathers together. Even those you can’t be with us are never far away. These memories are sustaining, precious, and challenge me to find more ways to maintain tradition, joy, love, and celebration.

What is your favorite Easter holiday or spring tradition? Write about the memories or from a photo. Look closely, you never know what you may remember.

Settle In Sunday-Easter Holiday Traditions

Yes the ground is covered with many inches of snow, but the spring sun is melting it quickly, so all the eggs can be hidden for Easter in about a month from now. I don’t hide the eggs anymore. I would if the teens and young adults were into it! But three years ago, they had to break it to me that they were too old. The youngest three were 15. I get it, but not really. I may have to bring in an adult Easter egg hunt this year.

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The last Easter the gang was all together.

Easter is at the top of my list for favorite holidays. It’s a time of new beginnings, growth, and hope. I’ve always hosted Easter, and I loved filling the plastic eggs with treats. I would literally have bags and bags of candy and hundreds of empty eggs surrounding me a couple nights before. As long as the weather permitted, the entire backyard would be the hunting area. The candy is always great, but the bonus was the clues found in certain eggs. Sometimes these would be a riddle that the kids would have to decipher in order to find out where the basket of goodies were hidden. The basket has been in the dryer, the car, shower, pretty much anywhere (even the neighbor’s house). I’ve done hidden word puzzles, trivia questions, a scavenger hunt, basically anything to drive the kids nuts and then hopefully be really excited at the end of their adventure.

Before the cousins came, I always had a separate hunt for my boys. The Easter bunny would leave white fur and remnants of the carrots we left out for him. Their eggs would be filled with coins and candy.

When I was a kid, the Easter eggs we colored were the ones hidden around the house. That usually worked out pretty well, unless an egg was forgotten or couldn’t be found. One year there was an awful stench in the living room. A stray hard-boiled egg was found months later in the couch. Yes, pretty nasty! We also dressed up in beautiful dresses, bonnets, and white gloves. We would go to church and then come home for the hunt. When my kids were younger, I tried dressing them up, but that didn’t last too long!

We always colored eggs one or two nights before Easter. It was usually a family event, and we would write family member’s names on the eggs to give to them when they visited.

2005 March Easter
The boys still loved coloring eggs at 10 and 8.

Food has always been a big deal at Easter. I usually make some Italian dish like spaghetti and meatballs or chicken parm, but my mom makes Pastichio, which is Greek macaroni. There is chopmeat at the bottom browned in butter and other ingredients and then tons of eggs and cheese baked with the ziti. It’s a seriously long process and quite a heavy dish, but fantastic.

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Momma’s Greek macaroni

My sister, Michele, is adventurous with recipes and last year made bread that my Yaya use to make, except Yaya would put quarters in the bread before baking. You really wanted to make sure that you checked it before taking a bite!

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2005 March Easter2
The Easter bunny was good to these boys!
1998 Easter
Nick and Marisa Easter 1998

Over the last couple years, it’s been harder and harder to get the family together as everyone’s own families grow. But the Easter celebration will always continue. Our friends come over for dessert, and we treasure any time with family and friends. Stephen will hopefully be able to come home or else Easter may just have to come to him.

Being flexible with tradition allows it to continue. Yes there are the staple traditions that keep holidays feeling like hot cocoa on a cold winter day. Soothing, comforting and filled with love. It’s what make coming home for any holiday so precious. Keeping it simple and realizing that being together is the reason for any season.