By Leo Babauta
Got kids? If so, chances are you’ll be spending today chasing after them as they run after dozens of boiled and colored eggs. It’s a great family day, but one that can be hectic if not planned well. Here are the best tips for planning a great Easter holiday:
- Plastic eggs. If your family is like mine, you’ll need dozens of eggs for all the little ones. More than likely, most of those eggs will go to waste. This is wasted money, wasted food. Save the waste by buying plastic eggs, and filling them each with a little candy or a quarter or dime. You can still have all the fun, but less mess. Plus, you can re-use the plastic eggs next year. If you really want to color eggs, just do a couple dozen real eggs and use plastic eggs for the rest.
- Simple food. Family gatherings are a lot of fun, but it’s not as much fun if you’re preparing a large table full of food. Plan a simple brunch, with muffins and fruits and cinnamon rolls and maybe some pancakes. Nothing complicated. If you’ve got a few smaller families coming together, make sure it’s a potluck, so each family just has to worry about one dish. The simpler the menu, the better.
- Count your eggs before they spoil. If you use real eggs, be sure you know how many there are before they’re hidden. Then count them afterwards, to make sure you got ‘em all. Otherwise, you may be getting a surprise a week or two after Easter. It’s also best if you can remember where you hid them all, but this may be asking a bit much of most people.
- The Golden Egg. A great tradition is to mark one of the eggs as the Golden Egg. That egg might have $5 or $10 put in it by Grandpa. It makes the hunt all the more fun, especially for the bigger kids.
- Let the older kids do the work. If they’re 12 or older, they may feel silly hunting after Easter eggs, so let them do some of the work and learn some responsibility by helping hide the eggs. If they’re experienced, you can actually sit back and enjoy the show. And laugh and laugh. Also, if they can clean up all the food and egg shells, that’s even better.
- Prepare ahead of time. Any gathering is so much less stressful if you prepare as much as possible ahead of time. The day before Easter, we prepare the eggs (real and plastic), the baskets, our Easter Sunday clothes (and a change of clothes for later), and the food if possible. Then we wake up early to make sure everyone’s ready on time, and prepare any other food necessary. If you’re hosting the gathering, you may need to set up a table or do other things to prepare for your guests. Don’t wait until the last minute! Prepare a list and check it twice.
- Have an egg-coloring party. The day before Easter, my mom and sisters and I get together with our kids and boil and color eggs. We have food coloring, crayons, stickers, rubber bands, cheesecloth, and other fun coloring tools, and the kids have a lot of fun. It’s even more fun than hunting for them. This year, we got mostly plastic eggs, but still colored a couple dozen, concentrating on doing a great job on the smaller number of eggs.
- Separate the big and little kids. Big kids (not the 12 and older ones, but the older elementary ones) can trample the little kids and get all the eggs before the little ones can take two steps. Make it fair, and more fun, by separating them into groups. If you’ve got a lot of kids, have three groups: really young (5-under), middle (6-8), and older (9-12). Or whatever works for your group.
- Prepare a couple of fun games. Egg hunting is a blast, but your gathering will be even more fun if you’ve got a few games ready to go. An egg toss, egg race (holding an egg on a spoon with your mouth while racing), sports, water balloons, treasure hunts — the possibilities are endless.
- Whatever happens, have fun. No family gathering will be perfect. There will be spilled punch, broken eggs, kids throwing tantrums, crying babies and more. Just accept the chaos and enjoy the time with your family. And no matter what goes wrong, laugh. And laugh and laugh.