Updated: May 3
Unquestionably an important religious holiday in the Western world, Easter is one of the two days “casual Christians” go to church. In addition to its many traditions it is a sign of the arrival of spring. While many families hide Easter eggs in our household for the last 16 years, we have done things a little differently. We forgo Easter baskets and opt for a prize table where the kids get to choose their prizes from a wide array of knickknacks, games, toys, and surprise envelopes.
As the kids get older the complexity of the hides has increased. For a time, we assigned each of the four kids their own color so that we could keep them relatively easy for the youngest and challenging for the oldest scaling based on age for the other two. Now that the youngest is 8 we are not really pulling any punches and it’s a free-for-all with some truly devious hide locations. For example, we placed one egg in a plastic baggie and hid it the water reservoir of the toilet while another was inside our newly purchased but yet unused time capsule sitting on the fireplace mantel.
Historically the number of eggs has grown to fit the number of prizes and the number of prizes has grown to how many Dad has purchased leading up to Easter plus the remainder necessary to make it divisible by the number of kids. I try to purchase a few items that fit each child’s interest and as many that are universally desired as is feasible to round out the options. The average value is a couple of dollars up to the occasional $20+ prize trying to keep these higher ends options balanced.
Inside each egg is a number ranging from one to the number of prizes available. Each participant is told how many they can find before they stop (total # of prizes/kids) and then they can either help their siblings look or go crack their eggs. Usually there is a handful of eggs not found as they believe they have exhausted all hiding spots and since we are talking a lot of hides to remember (72 this year) we’ve taken to writing down clues to remind us. Once all are found (or we have given up trying to remember where the rest are) we do the big reveal of the prize table.
All the eggs are opened, and they extract their numbers aligning them in order of lowest to highest then one by one I call out the numbers and the holder of that number is allowed to pick a prize. This rarely goes the way I would expect with prizes I purchased with a specific kid in mind being picked by another that I would have guessed could care less. Case and point I had a cellphone holder for a car a few years back and instead of Dave getting it (as the only driver among them) Alexander picked it saying, “yeah, but I will have a car at some point and I’ll have this ready when that day comes”. His brother still gives him a hard time about that.
The rest of the day is kind of like a mini Christmas with all the toys and gadgets being cracked open and played with/broken. The surprise envelopes will sometimes have certificates like “choose where we have dinner” or “$20 to buy something to decorate your room with”. True to their personalities some will cash these in as soon as possible while others (Dave) have some that are more than a year old saving them for… not sure exactly. But all in all, it’s a fun tradition that we plan to continue even as the kids get older and hopefully some day we can incorporate the grandkids into it too.