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.