Easter at This Lovely Place
by Charlotte Siems
Easter is a beautiful holiday at This Lovely Place. Over the years we’ve created family traditions, but we don’t do all of them every year. Perfection is overrated, and adds stress to a holiday. Some years we had circumstances that changed the routine a bit and that’s okay.
Good Friday is a day that we try to observe quietly, reminding ourselves and the children of the significance of the day. Sometimes we watch the old epic movie Ben Hur in the evening.
The Saturday before Easter is the day we dye boiled eggs. This is quite a production, boiling 6-7 dozen eggs so that everyone has several eggs to decorate. We always use two old-fashioned Paas egg dye kits, spread an old sheet or tablecloth on the table and get out all of the coffee cups and mugs. Crayons are another important ingredient since many of the kids draw elaborate designs on their eggs before soaking them in dye. This is also the time that we make Resurrection Rolls.
Easter Sunday dawns early with a Sunrise Service at the church. I haven’t attended very many of them over the years, being busy at home dressing little ones and doing dinner preparations.
But before the van leaves for the church, everyone has awakened to a decorated table with an Easter basket with grass, candy and special treats at their usual place at the table. I’ve stayed up late many an Easter Eve to set it all up but I’m never sorry I did. I make extra smaller baskets because we usually have last-minute guests for Sunday dinner, most notably college students away from home.
This is one of the few occasions in the year when everyone has at least something new to wear—a shirt and sometimes pants for the guys, a new dress and shoes for the girls. These clothes become our special occasion clothes for summer weddings and graduations and other dressy events.
We all head to church where we enjoy the Easter service and music. When it’s over we gather for Easter photos before the shoes are kicked off and the ties loosened.
Then we come home for a big dinner. The tables are decorated with pastel tablecloths and Spring décor: pretty flowers, scattered grass, eggs, candy, sparkling crystal candleholders and taper candles. The places are set with antique unmatched china, antique goblets and the antique silver utensils that we received as a wedding gift.
Most years we have ham, brisket, mashed potatoes and gravy, rolls, vegetable side dishes, assorted jello and pretty desserts such as cherry cheese cake, angel food cake and no-bake cookies shaped like nests with mini Robin egg candies in the center.
As soon as dinner is finished and cleared away, we change clothes and load vehicles to head to grandma’s house about an hour and a half away. In the backseat on the way, plastic eggs are stuffed for the giant family egg hunt. You never know what you’re going to find in the eggs at this hunt: money, good candy, or a live toad or bug! We usually have several guests and everyone has a hilarious time of fun! Then it’s time for leftovers for supper.
Easter and Christmas are the two major holidays of the year for our family. We want the Christian holidays to be the biggest and best in our children’s memories. There is always a spiritual aspect, of course, and new clothes, good food and fun traditions all combine to make these days special. Our family tucks the good times away in their memories for the years ahead.
You can always choose to start new traditions. The second time you do it it’s an official tradition. You can also drop traditions that aren’t working for your family anymore. Family life is ever-changing, and you can change along with it.
Happy Easter to you and yours!