Starting New Traditions with Your Family
article by Cindy G. Foust
Happy April Fool’s to the devoted readers of this wonderful magazine that I enjoy writing for so much. Question: does anyone really observe April Fool’s Day anymore? I never hear anyone talk about a great joke they played, so I guess it’s kind of one of those holidays that has just lost its luster. But there was this one time, when Scott and I first got married, that I changed out sugar in the sugar bowl he used for coffee and filled it up with salt, and that went over really well. Honestly, it really wasn’t one of my favorite post-honeymoon memories. Then another time on April Fool’s, my two sisters and I (it always sounds better to have a “team” of culprits) put a plastic spider on the handle of the mailbox, you know, to play a simple prank on the mail carrier. Well, I don’t think she really observed this holiday either, because she wrote a sort of ugly note to my parents and said she was deathly afraid of spiders and she was sick with panic and fear when she pulled up to our mailbox and it made her almost quit her job. That was kind of terrible. Oh, and we kind of got in trouble.
I’ve just never really had good luck trying to observe this specific holiday, and my memories, well, they are kind of bad. But Easter on the other hand, another holiday on the calendar for this month, now I could fill the pages of this magazine with my Easter memories.
It’s kind of hard to believe that the first quarter of the year is in the books, and we are moving through spring like it’s standing still. Easter is a little later this year, so hopefully, the cold weather will also be behind us. I did, however, promise our readers last month that I would write on something really exciting like cool ideas for dying your eggs. But I kind of lied, because I don’t really think anyone wants to read about how to tie-dye their eggs or how to dye them “economically” by submerging them in coffee. What the what? How about just using some (stinky) vinegar and a few PAAS tablets or some food color? Oh the memories that last sentence conjures up for me.
Let me be clear, for those that need to be brought up to speed with my column…we are a holiday family, rich with traditions, so if I let my mind just wander a bit, I can get pretty nostalgic on you pretty quick. Easter was no different than the other holidays, and traditions have always been strict, like having the Easter Egg Hunt at my grandmother’s house. For years, we dyed eggs after lunch, and the older family members hid them, probably several times before the day was over. As we got older, we began hiding them for the younger kids.
One of my top “five” favorite holiday memories would have to be the year my two sisters and I were getting ready to hide the eggs, and my late sister, Angel, disappeared on us. We waited and waited and waited…and we finally decided to just start hiding the eggs, because the younger kids were screaming. Off we went, ready to play the Easter Bunny, getting the 300 eggs hidden, and still no Angel. Where in the world?
Somebody finally let the little ones out, and we are all in the front yard watching the craziness that ensues, when suddenly, without warning, we look down the hill and we see this 6’2” Easter bunny hopping down the “bunny trail.” Except it wasn’t just any Easter bunny, it was the “Michael Jackson” Easter bunny. You heard me right, Angel had sneaked home (my parent’s lived right next door to my grandparents), and dressed up like her then idol, Michael Jackson (readers, don’t judge, we all might not agree with his sort of strange and quacky lifestyle, we have all loved us some Billie Jean or some Thriller, right?) Yes, Angel hopped right through the yard, in her homemade costume, complete with sequined glove, and moon walked her way into my top five holiday memories.
Those were the days. Fast forward about thirty five years, and I find myself writing about my memories for my readers, and wondering, what are some of yours? Does your family have traditions and rituals that you do every year? You can’t read my column and not know that I am going to always share some of my Edith Bunker stories with my readers, but I’m also, most every month, going to encourage families to work at creating memories.
Holidays give us frequent opportunities to start new traditions, or participate in and enhance old ones. This year, things will be a little different in our family for a variety of reasons, primarily because we lost Bitsy nearly two years ago, and well, it just might be time to start some new traditions.
In fact, we are moving Easter to my house this year, and right after we have church with the family, we will head to my house for our traditional Easter lunch.
What kinds of foods does your family enjoy at Easter? In my opinion, the meal doesn’t really matter as much as the time you spend sharing it together. Even if it’s a hotdog, (I’m telling you right now readers, if I served up hotdogs for my family on ANY holiday, including the 4th of July, they would crumble like a cookie!) sitting around the table together, enjoying a meal, is the perfect way to kick off any holiday.
Right after lunch, we will definitely break out the egg dye and get ready to dye those 15 dozen eggs! I’m not even kidding! Bitsy always participated in the egg dying, and she delighted in watching the younger kids dye theirs. Next, we will head out to hide the eggs, and this year, I will be dressing up like Elvis Presley and playing Ain’t Nothing But a Hound Dog for our little ones. That’s a joke, heck, my kids probably don’t even know who “The King” is! If this is true, I’ve failed them as a parent!
But, I digress, as usual. After the big hunt, I plan to have some sugar cookie dough ready to go, because our kiddos love them, and let the kids bake and decorate for a while. In years past, we played some different games after the big hunt, and you can find some really cool ones on Pinterest. So much so, I’m going to organize a few for our kids, and maybe even call it the “Easter Olympics!”
I think it would be great fun to organize a Scavenger Hunt (this will probably go over great with my husband when the kids are running through our flower beds, but he didn’t divorce me over the salt in the sugar bowl, so maybe my marriage will remain intact after this, too.)
Finally, I think (especially with my son getting ready to go to college) it would be a wonderful new tradition to do some family pictures. Some years we get them, some we don’t, but it’s an important and memorable way to remember every holiday, especially when your children are growing up.
What about you, readers? Are your minds racing with wonderful ideas on enhancing your current Easter traditions or are you inspired to create new ones? If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to take a little time and create some special plans, or work at strengthening the traditions you already have in place.
One thing is for sure, you aren’t going to get this time back, especially if your children are still young, and every ounce of effort you put into creating memories, will be worth it in the minds and hearts of your children.
Happy Easter, readers! I hope your holiday will be filled with wonderful, quality time with your family, good food, great old (or new) traditions and maybe even a few Cadbury eggs.