“What on EARTH are you doing!?” said my husband as he walked into the lounge room to find me hunched over in my pyjamas holding a stencil in one hand and a shaker-can of icing sugar in the other. “Well, what does it LOOK like I’m doing!?” I replied impatiently, “I’m making rabbit footprints of course!”
The year was 2010 and our little girl was only a few weeks old but I didn’t care. Nothing was going to stop me from dusting rabbit footprints through the house on the night before Easter. I’d grown up with this tradition and so would she. Newborn or not. I also promised myself that she would have the same footprints throughout our home every year until she moved out…. or started telling me that she was old enough to not have them anymore!
In addition to the footprints, each year I always stock up on cotton balls (a.k.a. rabbit fur). I place bunches of them strategically through the house where the Easter Bunny (EB) may have been, always ensuring to jam a few in the front door, where his tail “got caught on the way out.” Don’t worry, it didn’t hurt.
Easter is and always has been a HUGE deal in my family. Not necessarily from a religious perspective but definitely from a cultural point of view. Apart from the huge feast of a lunch we devour on the Sunday, the standout event is our Annual Easter Egg hunt. Each year we aim to outdo the one before. If last year was great, then this year HAS to be eggsellent (Quickly! Someone sound the ‘Dad joke’ alarm!).
It’s totally not about spending bucket loads of money, but rather about investing time (normally late at night when everyone’s gone to sleep) to create home made crafts and think up ideas that I know the kids will love! There are some things I do for my children every year that were done for me when I was small, and then there are new things that are introduced as I stumble upon creative ideas on the net or spend some time concocting concepts in my head. Apart from the footprints and rabbit fur that appear every year, there’s also carrots and water left out in case the EB gets hungry. It should be noted, that as a parent, I do not enjoy guzzling these as much as I do Santa’s chocolate chip cookies and beer!
Let me walk you through my plans for this year’s Egg Hunt. As my kids are still only quite small I will have to help them with some of what I’ve got planned but their age will certainly not stop me from doing what I have decided to do!
So, of course there will be footprints and rabbit fur and carrots and water, as discussed above. Then, when they wake there will be a tea-stained piece of paper in both their rooms with a greeting from the EB. The note will tell them to open their bedroom door carefully as there is a piece of string attached to the handle from the outside. This piece of string will be about a gazillion metres long and will be woven like a spiders web all through the house. It will eventually lead them to the ‘Cave of Baskets’ (COB). The COB will be a little cubby house that I’ve set up with 8 baskets in different colours inside it. One for each of my two kids and one each for their 6 cousins. The same cousins who come for the hunt every year.
Each basket will have a treasure map inside it. And each treasure map will be different and will lead that particular child to their ‘special Easter hunt surprise’ (a small toy that I know they will love. My daughter’s getting a ninja turtle figurine!)
I will also rise at the crack of dawn, like I do most days anyway, to hide a ridiculous number of chocolate eggs in our back garden for the main hunt. I once read a tip suggesting that you should write down the spots where you hide your eggs so that you make sure they are all found in the hunt. However, because I buy dozens and dozens and DOZENS of eggs there was no way I was ever writing down the x and y coordinates of 22 million blobs of chocolate placed in random spots in our yard! I probably should have done this for last years hunt though, as in mid December 2012, my daughter came into the kitchen as I was preparing dinner, with “stuff” smudged all over her face. When I asked her what it was, she told me she had “found the big Easter egg.” It took me 10 minutes to work out that that particular item had been buried in a pile of dirt outside…. for nearly 10 months!
Now I’m an old fashioned kind of girl, a bit over the top some might say *cough* but old fashioned. Chocolate eggs, grassy lawn and big shady tree hiding spots, woven baskets etc. but friends of ours who are way into their technology have been using GPS to do egg hunts for their kids for the last couple of years. GPS! Their kids get a GPS and coordinates of the first egg they must find. Once they find that egg it has inside of it information about where they have to go from there. And so on, until they reach their last egg, which is chocolate. Welcome to Easter in the year 2013.
But back to us. Before our hunt begins everyone knows the rules. Number one: If you find someone else’s “named special Easter surprise” you must return it to where it came from and continue the search for your own, and rule number two: eggs that you find are the property of your parents and are to be distributed according to their instruction. This rule prevents a free for all, eat until you want to be sick fest! The kids definitely have more chocolate than on a normal day, but there are still some limits! If Easter egg hunts aren’t about having lots of chocolate though, what are they about!? As my husband’s 109 year old grandfather used to say “Pan metron ariston.” which is Greek for “Everything in Moderation!”
Our Easter Egg Hunts really are all fun and games! Well, most of the time anyway. I remember one year I dressed up as the Easter Bunny in a completely covered body costume, except for a hole that my face stuck out of. I was more excited than the kids! So, when the door bell rang I raced them down the hall to answer it, flinging it open thinking it was my nieces and nephews, and in my best bunny voice I said “ It’ssssssssss hunt time!” all of this occurred BEFORE I realised it was the trendy young couple from up the road who’d come to check if we had seen their missing cat. They still laugh every time they see me.
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Do you have an Easter egg hunt at your place every year? What do you do to make sure that your annual hunt is spectacular? What traditions are you keeping up for your kids?