Easter does not look quite like it did a decade ago, or a few years ago. But surely the whole point of any holiday – the whole point of any celebration – is that it moves with the times? We think the Easter weekend is about curating whatever your personal idea of a valuable time is. Whether that is eating chocolate, gathering with family, dancing with pals, or resetting at home – the chance to make life sweeter is something to be grateful for.
Face it, four-day weekends don’t come along very often.
As we enter a fourth pandemic year, many people have re-evaluated the lives they’ve been living and for them, Easter 2023 is about resetting and finding their fun magnets. A long stint at the family home just doesn’t hold the same allure anymore. It’s also an opportunity for a much-needed rest after a hectic first quarter of the year at work. For some, Easter is more about beach walks, swimming, and low-key celebrations with friends.
It’s sort of a restorative staycation that you curate yourself.
The rebranding of Easter as a time to “reset” has also been observed by the Telegraph UK, “Over Easter: becoming a place to take time for themselves”. Easter brings a change in season, lots of plans, outings, and family get-togethers. As wonderful as all of that is, sometimes we need space to ourselves to recharge our batteries, recalibrate and restore. Wherever you find yourself, remember that it is fine not to stick around if you don’t feel you have more to offer.
Most parents understand that for their overworked and cash-strapped millennial offspring (those born between 1980 and the mid-1990s), traveling across the country to see family, is a tradition that is fading fast. But it would be wrong to imagine that all Easter traditions have melted away like an unloved Easter Egg. Easter still means a lot to most. It just means something different, which is why many people are creating their own rituals.
If you are sitting at home with the children bouncing off the walls wishing to God that you had managed to book a break next week, don’t fret too much. Perhaps things will actually turn out for the best. Being more community-focused is a characteristic regularly attributed to millennials so it should come as no surprise that, for many, celebrating Easter is about broadening the definition of a ‘family’ and “giving something back”. Fundraising events are increasingly part of Easter plans, and organisers and non-profits now see Easter as an important date in the calendar. People are making vegetarian moussaka, quinoa salad, roasted vegetables and hazelnut cake, on top of the traditional lamb roasts.
Put fun on your Easter calendars. Fun feels good, and it’s good for us, says research.
So make Easter a time to have more of it. The effects of true actual fun are magical – you will feel connected to yourself and other people. Have special, shared experiences with people you love. Fully engage with them, often to the point that you lose track of time. You can make fun more likely to occur this long weekend, simply by prioritizing the people and activities that are the most likely to create it for you. Carve out time for them. Your Easter goal should be to identify the activities, settings and people that often generate fun and balance for you.
Find your “fun magnets”
Although the feeling of fun is universal, each of us finds it in different contexts. Something that’s fun for one person, might sound wholly unpleasant to someone else.
Find and do your personal fun “magnets,” so you can make wiser decisions about how to allocate your Easter weekend.
Get together with favourite family members, friends and work colleagues in a meaningful way – just because you want to share good times. Laugh together and get completely engrossed in the experience. Love and friendship give our lives meaning – and keep us happy and sane. Keep in mind that small moments count. Running or walking barefoot into the ocean or playing catch with an exuberant dog. Play favourite songs. Make a cake. Sand between your toes, sunshine on your face, diving into the ocean, catching leaves with a child. Rearrange books on a shelf. Coax your balcony plants back into shape. Rearrange the linen closet. Do it with an eye to beauty and artistry – not as a chore but as a selfish pleasure. You’ll be amazed at how inspired it makes you feel. You will stop yourself from getting into a rut.
An Easter Balancing Act
Over Easter remind yourself everyday to do something physical, something pleasurable, something intellectual and something for someone else. It will bring balance into your life.
Do Something Nice for Friends and Family
For a classic Easter basket, we love Pottery Barn’s Seagrass Easter basket because it gives off big Beatrix Potter energy, and it comes in two roomy sizes so you can fill it with a lot or a little. The bigger basket can hold large stuff and plenty of treats. The smaller size is no slouch, either, if you want something easy for young children to carry. Pottery Barn Kids also sells several customisable liners in ginghams, plaids, and seersuckers.
Gifts: We love One-dollar gold coins
Pick up $1 coins at your local bank for the kids, or about $12 brand-new from AUS Mint. Our family has given out chocolate coins at Easter for as long as we can remember, but swapping them for a few real gold pieces adds a little holiday magic to the basket. Ring ahead to confirm your local bank has some circulating gold coins available.
Chocolate Eggs are an Easter staple
Chocolate eggs have been associated with Easter since the early 18th century but each year the supermarkets and specialist producers turn out creations that offer a thoroughly modern mouthful. This is the year of subtlety, understatement and sophistication. Aldi offers a chic design with a thin but intensely nutty and rich milk chocolate shell. One for praline fans.
Supermarkets now stock Pana Organic’s new flat egg range, which uses 80 per cent less packaging, reducing transport requirements with a massive 470 per cent more eggs per pallet. Pana’s flat eggs also taste different – they are made with a much thicker layer of chocolate, and are more generous with inclusions.
Although many varieties are available, we also have some tried-and-true favourites. My children grew up on Cadbury mini eggs at Easter.
The bright foil coating keeps kids’ hands clean while they scarf down chocolate in their Sunday best, and sprinkled in an Easter basket, they look sparkly, and are still delicious, bite-size milk chocolates. For another chocolate egg option, Lindt bunnies are a go-to for traditionalists.
Adorable Easter Printed PJs
Perfect for bringing out the night before, while everyone is getting ready for the Easter Bunny’s visit (as well as for keeping in rotation year-round).
The Best Easter Gift Is a Spring Flower You’ve Never Heard Of
The modern hellebore is breathing new life into a tired Easter gift. Soon thousands of cyclamen, lilies, daffodils, and hyacinths will be changing hands over the Easter holiday. In some homes, nodding Easter lilies will cast a vaguely funereal air over the Sunday roast—only to be discarded a week later when their anthers stain tablecloths and upholstery in splotches of saffron.
A more sophisticated choice? The elegant and beautifully appropriate hellebore, a perennial favourite of ours, that we use more than any other bloom at home, and features prominently in our book, Living Well By Design (Vendome Press).
Hellebores appear in the northern hemisphere from December through April; and in the southern hemisphere from March through August. Their bobbing blooms come in white to plummy charcoal, pear greens, and dusty deep pinks. Most people don’t think of hellebores as a gift plant yet in recent years, breeding breakthroughs have resulted in florist-worthy hybrids that tend to bloom a little later and droop far less, holding their blooms outward, instead of downward.
A Family Reunion
Traditionally Easter is typically about family reunions and getting everyone back together. Every year, most families gather with flowers and presents, and a traditional roast lamb lunch. This year, many people are focusing on a big Sunday lunch with family while focusing the rest of the break on fun things to do. Including great diversions to read, watch, eat and make.
House Parties + Easter Egg Hunts
Leave a little gift of something in guest’s rooms is a very welcome touch. Organise a chocolate trail of easter eggs for little visitors.
If you don’t have a garden, use your imagination to find plenty of good hiding places around the home.
What Says Easter Like, Delicious Fare?
This Easter celebration demands fresh, colourful dishes that delight everyone at the table, whether carnivore, vegan, chocolate-obsessed or strictly gluten-free. From an Italian egg tart to a spectacular leg of lamb or a smoky ham, with plenty of green salads and vegetable dishes, plus festive cakes for dessert. All things that can be made before guests arrive and served at room temperature, a blessing for the host.
Easter is a celebration of rebirth, a feast of the new season, and it falls fortuitously at the very moment in the year when markets are beginning to spill over with beautiful seasonal produce. So you really have no choice but to set out an Easter parade of colorful salads and vegetable sides.
Go for simple ingredients that don’t even require recipes.
Anticipating a busy Easter Sunday?
If you’re hosting a gathering or simply feeding your family in grand style this Easter, anchor the meal with a large-format roast lamb. A holiday classic. A glazed ham with green beans gives the holiday a celebratory accent. Chickens roasted in a salt crust are a reliable showpiece.
Extra-Special Easter Cakes
Can you imagine a dessert more elegant and spring-forward than a strawberry and ricotta tart with the lightest brulee? Or a polenta and almond cake topped with a riot fresh berries, crushed pistachios and rose petals? Or a bright lemon drizzle cake, and flourless chocolate sponge with blackberry compote, featuring really good, really dark Manjari chocolate mousse that is a grown-up alternative to the ubiquitous foil-wrapped egg.
Celebrating tells your brain a behavior is beneficial, and that it should look for more opportunities to engage in it. The celebrations for Easter don’t have to be grand.
Cake might only be for special occasions, but this Easter remind yourself, celebrations are for every day. Science says so. Celebration is one of the emotions that propel people further on the path of positive habits.