That said, let me share some of my favorite traditions that I anticipate continuing for a good length of time unless they someday become unhelpful to us:
A new tradition I'm starting this year is hanging tags on our new Easter clothes -- I really love this idea from Jessalyn at Desiring Virtue (which is also where I got the free printable). I have always done new outfits for my kids (and sometimes the grown ups in our family as well) at Easter. But I have never had a real reason for it -- but here is a wonderful way to redeem our new attire. When we dress in fresh new clothes (or homemade clothes, or new-to-you hand me downs), we can feel fresh and new ourselves! Instead of glorying in our appearance, we can remind ourselves that Christ dresses us in our new self in Him "after the image of the Creator" and one day he will dress us in a new robe that will not fade away. I think this is a tradition that will grow with us -- it will be especially helpful when my kids get bigger and may be tempted to be proud of their appearance. It is helpful for me NOW when I am proud of my kids' appearance! As beautiful as they are in darling fresh Easter outfits, that is just a tiny tiny picture of the glory that is waiting when we are dressed in Christ's righteousness!
1. Countdown to Easter -- I had an "aha" moment last year that I wrote about on this blog about how to count down to Easter by making a paper chain. This year I cut 31 paper strips and taped one to hang from each day on Susie's calendar and the paper chain we have made is hanging from the kids' bedroom door. I have mentioned multiple times how it keeps getting longer like our sins keep getting more and more. I think my kids are going to get REALLY excited about ripping up the paper chain on Easter morning!
3. Games and crafts --
- I like to hide puzzle pieces in eggs and have the kids hunt for them and then put together the puzzle. I found small, easy puzzles on Oriental Trading that fit in the jumbo sized eggs well. We enjoyed this activity last week with our neighbors, who are new to America, and have never before celebrated Easter -- I was glad I had thought through our traditions so I could explain Easter to her a little bit that day! If I just had said "we do this egg and bunny thing. . . but . . . it's really about Jesus" it would just make no sense! Instead I shared that eggs are a symbol of life and we celebrate that Jesus is alive at Easter. She was interested and surprised that Chip recognized the picture of Jesus on the puzzle and shouted "Jesus!" when it was completed!
- There are no end to the cute craft ideas out there! I personally like to skip bunny stuff and most other spring-only type things to focus more on the cross. My kids do have a collection of stuffed lambs, and I think lambs are a very appropriate animal to make crafts about (especially if you take time to learn about Jesus being our Shepherd, the Passover, etc). Here are a couple adorable lamb crafts I found and may or may not create with my kids. We have colored lots of pictures, done some paintings, and made Easter cards and bookmarks to share with friends. I'm posting links to some of my favorite coloring/painting pages.
Tomorrow I will post about our Holy Week traditions -- our Easter mountain, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Enjoy a blessed Palm Sunday looking forward to the return of the King!