On Easter Eve I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed (the ultimate waste of time and braincells) and I saw a post that sparked my interest. The poster said that she had encouraged her son to ask the Easter Bunny for a bicycle for Easter. Come again? I went back and read the post again then stared in bewilderment at a photo of a small bicycle with a big pastel bow on it sitting next to a table on which a basket overflowing with candy was sitting. What the fuck?
Thinking this HAD to be an isolated event, I started scrolling faster through my news feed and to my shock, I found other such posts and photos by friends who are also parents. Easter gifts of monster trucks, DVDs, video games, etc… Some of the piles of presents were larger and more elaborate than what one sees at Christmas time. All sorts of gifts from Easter-Santa-Bunny-Claus to be opened by shiny eyed children at the crack of dawn.
In my humble childhood experience the Easter Bunny brought chocolate, candy, and perhaps a few small toys — all of which are the appropriate size to fit in a basket. An actual basket! Not a toy bin, not a kiddie pool — a basket. What’s next? Children sitting on the lap of a man in a bunny suit asking for the trendiest toy of the season? Children making lists to send to the lair of the bunny? Is the Easter Bunny keeping constant tabs on children and creating his own naughty and nice list? Does he have different credentials for the making his list than Santa? Don’t children have enough mythical beings watching them already?
If this trend catches on where does it end?
Will Cupid, a leprechaun, Uncle Sam and Tom Turkey start leaving large presents on their respective holidays? Will Groot start taking shits in peoples’ shoes for Arbor Day? Once we start down this slippery slope where do we draw the line?
I am all for making holidays fun for children and have no issues with a split between some candy and some little gifts. Each family has their own traditions and that’s great. But I am also firmly against rewarding children for absolutely no reason at all. I got gifts on my birthday and Christmas. I got a basket full of candy on Easter. I got absolutely nothing on other holidays because they aren’t gift giving holidays.
Social media has undoubtedly fanned the flames of this fire
Filling a swimming pool with toys doesn’t prove how much children are loved.
Parents who post pictures of the piles of “loot” their children receive are creating competition with the parents who practice moderation. Children are being set up for a bad turnout either way. Over gifting can lead to a sense of entitlement while moderate gifting can lead them to wonder why they didn’t get as much as their friends.
The rampant commercialism that has already gripped Christmas has now consumed Easter as well. The religious meaning of the holiday — for those who celebrate it — is starting to be overshadowed. But what bothers me most about this trend of Easter being Christmas 2.0 is my fear for this younger generation. I fear that they are going to become, through no fault of their own, self-indulgent, spoiled, entitled, useless assholes.
My plea to parents is this: Bring it down a notch
Kids would be perfectly happy with a small basket of candy, a coloring book, and perhaps a movie. I always was content with that because I was never taught to expect more. Filling a swimming pool with toys doesn’t prove how much children are loved. Spending quality time dyeing eggs, or participating in a community egg hunt, or making cookies will leave a bigger impression on children than having them dive head first into a pool of Easter themed plastic.