Easter: Now and Then

In the 80s, Easter meant a new dress (preferably pastel – I have a snazzy little number from Marks & Spencer with an appliqué rainbow in mind as I type), attendance at church to mark the end of the 40-day drought of all things delicious or naughty (my niece recently told me she was giving up picking her nose for Lent – not sure which category that fits into, in all honesty) and of course, copious chocolate eggs and bunnies. 

I’m dreadfully sentimental, and I often look back on my childhood with rose-tinted specs and probably with a big dollop of conveniently rewritten history as I substitute blanket idyllic memories for the not-quite-as-cute actual incidents of my parents having blazing rows – sometimes with my older siblings but more often than not with each other. But the lovely moments were definitely real. It seemed like – and probably was – a simpler time, and that’s something I try and recreate for Primo. Yes, he had a smart new outfit for church and yes he did very well indeed out of friends and relatives who lavished him with more cocoa solids than even I could manage in a year’s worth of pre-menstrual sulks, but that’s where it stopped.

I saw a thought-provoking tweet this week, wondering whether parents would still go overboard at Easter if it weren’t for social media. It definitely seems to me that Instagram and Facebook are the perfect platforms for us to show off – something which I’ve touched on before when the ‘Motherhood Challenge’ was a hot topic. I’ve seen pictures of up to a dozen new outfits laid out on a sofa, what must have been armfuls of Easter eggs from the supermarket shelf, designer trainers and video games (because nothing says ‘Happy Easter’ quite like shooting the face off a zombie at close range, does it?). 

I don’t remember Easter presents being a thing. I do remember being given money from relatives but I come from a culture where that happened every time you visited older people. You never left without some “sweetie money”. There was hot cross buns, marzipan from Germany and chocolate from Italy, cards and fresh flowers, and the house was Spring cleaned…but I don’t remember Easter presents being a thing. 

That’s not to say I dislike everything about modern Easter. You can get a fab variety of decorations for the home these days which I think is lovely and I wish we had more of that when I was a little girl. There’s more on telly than there was when us poor neglected kids of the 80s had to make do with four measly terrestrial channels – I mean, it’ll never warrant its own Easter edition of the Radio Times but everyone loves Willy Wonka when they’re gorging themselves into a pre-diabetic state, right? But I do still think the traditional aspects are the nicest; painting eggs, making Easter bonnets, the family dinners. 

Easter doesn’t just have to be for families. It doesn’t just have to be for Christians. At the very least, it’s four fab days off work! But let’s not spoil it and turn it into the commercial competition (with all its associated pressures) that Christmas has become. 

2 Comments

  1. April 5, 2016 / 11:15 pm

    Great post! I've never really thought about it before but I'm sure social media has played a part in Easter becoming a little more commercialised.

    I was a child of the 80s too and we did get Easter presents from our parents – nothing much, it was usually a larger Easter Egg than the ones we'd get from other relatives and then usually a Now CD or a new Barbie to go with it, age dependent! I was from Liverpool and new Easter outfits were (and still are!) a MUST for kids – usually nautical themed (Oh the sailor dresses I had to wear!)
    So coz I`m very much about keeping up family traditions – I now subject my kids to the new Easter outfits (usually nautical or navy at the very least!), and a couple of small gifts – I do them an Easter basket each but its not full of anything too expensive (This years had an Easter egg, a little hopping easter chick and bunny, some rabbit ears and a lego surprise egg!….there'll be no computer games and ipads from me!).

    My mum though bought one of the Grandkids a new pair of Heelys as a gift this year and I thought that was pretty OTT for Easter…and I sat there sounding like an old lady, talking about how I remembered the days of being chuffed with a new Now cd! 😀

  2. April 6, 2016 / 7:22 am

    Oh yes you have to have new Easter clothes, it's the law! Along with new PJs on Christmas Eve!

    I like the sound of Easter baskets! I think I'll do that too next year. In all honesty, I didn't even get the baby an Easter egg this year because he got so much chocolate from other people and was even emptying his cousins Easter Egg Hunt buckets into his own! So I'm still rationing them now. And by rationing, I mean eating them myself when he's not looking x

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