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Sunday, May 26, 2024
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Ideas for Holy Week and Easter

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Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP hands out Easter eggs to children after Easter Sunday Mass. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

By Mike and Alicia Hernon

Easter is approaching fast and if you’re like us, it tends to sneak up on us a little bit. So we asked our staff what they’re planning for their Holy Week and Easter celebrations and gifts.

And wow! Did they give us some great ideas! Keep reading to see their top picks, perspective on Easter gift giving and ways that you can celebrate Holy Week well.

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The Easter Perspective

Easter is the top feast for Catholics, but often it takes second place to Christmas, mostly because our culture isn’t as interested in it. So how can Catholic parents communicate to our families that Jesus rising from the dead is our primary Christian feast? One way is through Easter gifts.

Easter gifts have a different quality from Christmas gifts. For one thing, they usually need to fit in a basket. Also, it’s a good time to give specifically religious gifts, ones that will enhance a child’s or teen’s faith. Does your teen need a scapular? Put one in a plastic Easter egg and slip it in their basket. What about a rosary for the child about to receive a sacrament? Same! What about some spiritual encouragement? Tuck in a good book, a holy card, or a patron saint statue in their basket next to the chocolate and jelly beans.

Some families hide Easter baskets and make a game out of hunting for them on Easter morning. When Jesus came as a baby, He was as easy to find as gifts under a Christmas tree. But when He rose from the dead, the disciples had to seek for Him. So we make a game of hiding Easter eggs or Easter baskets for the same reason!

When it comes to gifts, it’s easy to overwhelm in our materialistic societies. Less is more, especially for small children. If finding Easter gifts feels overwhelming, the Three Gift Rule is a good guideline. Limit the gifts to: something they need (a rosary, a new tie), something they want (candy, a toy, a gadget), and a fun surprise (a comic book, an idea for a new hobby).

The Sedar Meal is based on the Jewish Passover prayers and is a wonderfully rich way to bring Scripture to life in your home
The Sedar Meal is based on the Jewish Passover prayers and is a wonderfully rich way to bring Scripture to life in your home

Holy Week Ideas

Holy Week can sometimes get lost in the preparation for Easter even though that’s the whole point of the week! There are some special things you can do with your family during this week to keep the time of Jesus’ death and entombment sacred.

Anna, our graphic designer, made a tomb with paper mache to display for her family. On Good Friday, one of her boys will put the Jesus peg doll that they painted into the tomb and cover the entrance with a rock from their yard.

Vicky, our Project Manager, uses a candle making set (found here) to make a Paschal candle with her kids on Holy Saturday. They’ll then light it on Sundays throughout the year to celebrate the coming of the Sabbath, or “little Easter”!

Our favorite staff pick is a Messy Family Project favorite, the Sedar Meal. This meal is celebrated on Holy Thursday to commemorate the Last Supper that Jesus ate with his disciples. It is based on the Jewish Passover prayers and is a wonderfully rich way to bring Scripture to life in your home! It takes a little bit of preparation, so grab the free guide here and be sure to read through it ahead of time!

Easter Ideas

There are so many things you can do to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord!

Mike and Alicia love to have a sunrise service in their yard (little prep needed – just grab some wood!). Get the older kids up about 20 minutes before dawn and light a bonfire in your yard. Watch the sun come up and use our sunrise service guide to welcome Easter morning with Scripture readings and Easter songs. Then run inside to prep a special Easter morning breakfast together before Mass!

If you attend the Easter Vigil, a really fun thing to do after is to host a Resurrection Party! Invite your friends over for a post Easter Vigil party that lasts into the early hours of Easter morning. Dress it up with Easter lilies, Catholic games and even some Easter themed plates/cups. Maybe have a bonfire and roast some smores. This is a favorite memory for some of our staff when they were young adults so this is perfect for your teens or young adults!

Finally, our staff all submitted their favorite Easter gifts for their family members so take a look at the list below!

Painted Easter Eggs. Photo: File Photo
Painted Easter Eggs. Photo: File Photo

Easter Basket Ideas

Be a Heart: Everything on this list is adorable! Lots of ideas for babies and toddlers here. She even has some Easter themed dinnerware for the whole family.

Catholic Family Crate: Lots of ideas here! This is mostly geared toward children who can read, but there are some options that younger primary school aged kids can enjoy as well! Our favorites are the Mass part cardsAlleluia card game, and their Bible Basics cards.

ChewsLife: Another spot for some beautifully made Catholic gifts for the whole family! Their signature items are rosaries for the whole family, including silicone teething ones for babies!

The Catholic Company: There is something for everyone’s Easter baskets here! From personalised saint hero boxes to Catholic baby toys, we love the stuff that comes from the Catholic Company!

Pink Salt Riot: If, like us, you sometimes get stumped on gifts for your middle school and teen girls, this is a great place to start.

Nelson’s Fine Arts and Gifts: The Nelson’s are great friends and supporters of the Messy Family Project and make absolutely stunning Catholic artwork and other gifts. These are more geared toward adults so if you’re looking for a gift for that tough-to-buy-for spouse, check this one out!

The Little Catholic: If you’re looking to buy your spouse beautiful Catholic jewelry to tuck into their Easter baskets, this is the place! With items for both men and women, The Little Catholic is your one-stop-shop and is an absolute favorite of our Program Coordinator, Katie.

Baritus Catholic: Our writer, Regina, highly recommends Baritus for gifts for all the men in your life! They have a great vibe for men and teens with lots of options to fill those hard-to-fill Easter baskets.

Some non-religious items that are great to include in your children’s Easter baskets are spring items like rain boots, gardening tools, muddy buddies and flower seeds! Bubbles, chalk and new art supplies are also great picks!

Finally, check out our Amazon storefront for some of our favorite Amazon picks, including books and plushies!

messyfamilyproject.org

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