Why do people give gifts at Easter?
And why isn't a chocolate egg enough?

Why do people give gifts at Easter?

Why isn't chocolate enough?

We spend a fortune on our child’s birthdays. We save all year to spoil them rotten at Christmas. Now it seems like chocolate isn’t enough at Easter with many children also receiving a selection gifts. And retail shops don’t help. How long have you been seeing all the Easter gifts out in prime selling positions?

It isn’t necessarily that chocolate isn’t enough. Indeed, many parents are buying chocolate and a further basket of gifts for their children. But for some it can be that they don’t want their child getting too much chocolate, and they know that they will receive so much from other family members they don’t want to compound the issue. There has been a reported definite trend in moving away from sugar-laden edibles that also don’t last, towards more keepsake gifts. This is true for all occasions.

Gifts or Experiences?

The Globe and Mail spoke to parents and quoted a mother of 2 saying “”I think as your kids get older, you feel pressured to buy bigger or more presents for them, as with any holiday,” she says. “When they are younger they are more excited about the Easter egg hunt and the family activities that come with the day. Yet as they get older, they care less about the overall event and more about what must-have item they are going to get.”

So are we pushing our children in this direction by “spoiling” them with gifts at a time when traditionally they would have only received maybe an egg or 2?

Doing the sugar inventory

What’s wrong with a little Easter chocolate? Lots, parents say. Far behind the treats the parents themselves will buy, there is: How many egg hunts will there be? How many aunts, uncles and grandparents will be arriving with sugar bombs? Not to mention the retail and other places Easter temptations await. “There is more candy than ever being foisted on our kids,” Edmonton mother Jennifer Broe says.

However hard parents try to limit the sugar, they can’t protect their children from what they will be gifted by others. And once a child has seen the chocolate, how can you possibly deny them it?

Briefing the givers

Don’t’ be ashamed to speak to relatives and friends and put across your views on giving chocolate. As long as it’s broached in the right way, and begins with you being thankful that they always treat your children, it should be well received. And it’s totally up to you whether you encourage them not to buy anything if you feel it’s pushing too far to ask them to give something that isn’t chocolate. It’s easy to feel guilty thinking you might be asking them to spend more money, but the truth is you can buy Easter gifts in pound shops these days.

Switching the hunt

It may seem like an uphill struggle to eliminate or even reduce the sugar overload that Easter brings, but actually it’s quite easy to make some switches.

Obviously, switching hidden eggs for hidden gifts is a fairly straightforward idea. Again, pound shops have lots of fun and cute little gifts for not much money. We even have some pocket money priced gifts here ourselves if you need inspiration! You could switch them completely, or mix with eggs to dilute the sugar.

If you don’t want to take all chocolate away, then look around. Select chocolate that is higher in cocoa and lower in sugar, so they still get the taste, but it’s better than the cheaper, sweeter chocolates you tend to find around Easter.

Even better, what about ditching the hunt in favour of an Easter crafting session? Children love to get creative, and it’s still social without the competitiveness of an egg hunt. You can buy Easter crafting kits easily on the high street and you’re likely to get longer play value from something like this.

But what is Easter really about?

As quoted by BBC Newsround, “Easter is a Christian festival that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Bible says that Christ died on the cross on a day called Good Friday, which this year falls on 30 March. Then he resurrected and came back to life on Easter Sunday. This is the most important day in the Christian calendar. Easter is on different dates each year, between 21 March and 25 April, depending on when there’s a full moon in Spring. Many Christians will spend time at church in thought, prayer and celebration of Jesus Christ’s life, and may get together with friends and family for a special meal.”

But how did we then get to giving chocolate Easter eggs?

Traditionally, eggs would not be eaten on the lead up to Easter, so if anyone had some in the house, they would keep them, decorate them, and give them to children at the end of holy week. In Victorian times, they adapted this to cardboard eggs, covered in satin and filled with Easter gifts.

The first chocolate eggs appeared in the 19th century in France and Germany, and these developed into the hollow eggs we see and know today.

Easter Baskets

It used to be that Easter baskets were for the hunt, allowing children to run around the garden collecting mini eggs. Now they are being filled with gifts growing in value. The intention is usually good – not wanting to give too much sugar-loaded chocolate. But what we’re inadvertently doing is allowing our children to begin to expect money to be spent on them at Easter, and an egg in the future just won’t cut it.

How much is too much to spend?

At Offbeat Home & Life, Brink Powell discusses the topic in some depth. “On Easter Eve I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed (the ultimate waste of time and braincells) and I saw a post that sparked my interest. The poster said that she had encouraged her son to ask the Easter Bunny for a bicycle for Easter. Come again? I went back and read the post again then stared in bewilderment at a photo of a small bicycle with a big pastel bow on it sitting next to a table on which a basket overflowing with candy was sitting.”

Is social media to blame?

Why not? It’s to blame for everything else! But in all seriousness, many years ago, we didn’t see what everyone on the street was doing / getting. Instagram didn’t exist where everyone is trying to portray the perfect life. There is undoubtedly two things at work here:

  1. One up-manship, whereby a friend or influencer is giving an extravagant Easter gift thereby encouraging you too also.
  2. It’s giving ideas, something they hadn’t even considered. So it’s just something different.

But what’s wrong with carrying on doing what you’ve always done? Creating your own family traditions and sticking them? We are never going to be able to compete with everyone, so why try?

Making Easter Special

Ultimately, Easter is like any other celebration. It’s about giving a gift they’ll love! The only person that really knows what the right gift to give at Easter is the parents.

If they think that giving their child a bike for Easter is a suitable gift, and they can afford to it, that’s their choice. What a lucky child! This gift alone is not going to spoil them, it’s how they’re treated the rest of the year that could!

If they are happy to follow the old traditions and drown them in chocolate, why not? It’s no doubt the parents that will have to deal with any reported hyperactivity. And chocolate can be rationed, given sensibly and dare I say it… Shared?!

Share with us

We’d love to hear your thoughts on what should and shouldn’t be given at Easter. What do you give your children? What do you give other children? What do your children get given by others and how do you feel about it?

My daughter is 20 months old this Easter so we have been torn about what to give her. She won’t really understand that it’s Easter (although she does say “rabbit” in the cutest way ever). We have bought her a conservative Easter egg, and I am toying with the idea of putting together a small Easter basket with small toys inside. I better make my mind up soon! I am concerned about how much chocolate she will receive, however, from 5 sets of uncles and aunties, plus grandparents. Perhaps I’ll share the sugar count with you all after the event in the comments below!

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