As I stood in line at the grocery store a couple weeks ago, I couldn’t help overhear the conversation of two moms in front of me. Discussing Easter, one of the moms shared how her kids were starting to ask for bigger items—things like video games—in their Easter baskets. The other mom quickly agreed, and added: “When did Easter become the new Christmas? When I was little, I was lucky to get a piece of candy.”
I was intrigued. Is Easter becoming a bigger and bigger consumer holiday? Parents, are you feeling more pressure to buy gifts, clothes, and fill Easter baskets?
Sure, it’s hard to miss the aisles of candy—treats such as Starburst Jelly Beans, Caramel Cadbury Eggs, and Marshmallow Peeps. On top of that, there are stuffed animals, elaborate Easter outfits, and pastel colored decorations in abundance. Not to mention the countless emails from stores offering special Easter discounts.
I saw the Easter paraphernalia but still wasn’t sure. Is Easter a bigger deal to consumers than it was in previous years?
As it turns out, the answer is a resounding yes. A recent article in Forbes magazine reported that Americans spend more money on Easter candy than they do on Halloween candy. In addition, the article states that “the country spends about 2.5 times more on Easter’s pastel decorations and flowers ($17.3 billion) than Halloween’s costumes, spider webs, and plastic skeletons ($6.9 billion).”
According to the article, part of the reason for these numbers is simply that more people “celebrate” Easter. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), 80% of Americans reportedly plan to celebrate the spring holiday, whereas only 60% planned to celebrate Halloween.
As Christian parents, Easter is often a time we teach our children about the cost of sin. We talk about the cross; God’s sacrificial love on display for all to see. We talk about the resurrection and eternal life; we are filled with hope and gratitude.
We may also buy Easter candy, fancy dresses and bunny ears.
I don’t think there's necessarily anything wrong with this. I love Easter candy as much as the next person (maybe more).
But is it a problem when the stuff becomes an expected requirement to celebrating Easter?
I’d love to hear about your experience:
- Have you felt more pressure to spend money on Easter (candy, clothes, toys, etc.)?
- How do you balance the secular and holy traditions?
- Do you feel the real reason for Easter is getting lost in the new expectations of consumerism?