As I’ve written before, we didn’t spend many holidays at home when my kids were growing up. We typically went to grandparents’ homes to celebrate. And that was true of Easter as well as Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Plus, my children’s spring break was usually the week before or after Easter. So many years, we traveled out of town on vacation instead of visiting grandparents. I got used to packing Easter baskets in my suitcase along with my clothes, managing somehow to keep the secret from my kids. The years we drove weren’t so bad, but when we flew across country, then I had a challenge.
When they were small, I hid away real baskets with candy and small toys to bring out on Easter morning. Once they were in grade school, I switched to gift bags. The bags were flat, and therefore much easier to stash in my suitcase.
But the fake plastic grass made a mess of my clothes. After a few years of picking green strips off my sweaters, I switched to tissue paper coordinated with the gift bags.
My children often groaned at my idea of fun Easter basket stuffers. “Socks, Mom!” my son would moan. I had rolled them up like an egg, so I thought they were very appropriate. Plus, he needed them.
He didn’t complain about the jelly beans.
“A toothbrush,” my daughter said. “How boring.” But she grabbed all the chocolate that her brother didn’t like.
The toothbrushes were a tradition my mother began when I was a kid. We got the usual assortment of goodies from Santa and the Easter Bunny, but we also got toothbrushes. And toothpaste.
In my suitcase for our trip her freshman year, I packed a pink gift bag, tissue paper, candy, and a toothbrush. On Easter morning I pulled it out and gave it to her.
“Mom,” she said in disgust. “Don’t you think I’m too old for an Easter basket?”
The next year, she took my offering without comment.
Then one year after she had graduated, we met her in Utah for a weekend of spring skiing. I didn’t take her anything.
“Where’s my basket?” she asked me. “I was counting on you to bring me new toothpaste.”
No matter how grown up my daughter thinks she is, she still wants treats from her mother. And toiletries. Some traditions never die.
What unique holiday traditions does your family have?