To give Easter baskets or to not give Easter baskets? That seems to be the question within many of my social circles around this time of year.
For people for whom the great joy of Easter is the resurrection of Christ — not the imagined arrival of an oversized Bunny — I understand the impulse to avoid any connection between the greatest Christian feast day and modern-day capitalism. Foregoing the baskets makes sense to me.
And yet, year after year, I end up in the “give baskets'' camp, and here is why: I want to do everything in my power to create a spirit of joy and celebration in our home on Easter morning. I want my kids to anticipate their Easter candy and Catholic gifts like they anticipate their birthdays, and I want them to feel palpable excitement and gladness — you know what I’m talking about, the whispers of “can we get up yet?” and running around on tiptoes — as they wake up on the morning we celebrate Christ’s triumph over death.
And while we all theoretically should feel that joy, anticipation, excitement, and gladness as we contemplate the new life that Easter brings, concepts like death, resurrection, and salvation are a lot for children to wrap their minds around. They’re hard for me to wrap my mind around! (There’s a reason why our tradition uses the term mystery when discussing these great matters of faith).
But the idea of presents? Easter baskets? Peeps for breakfast and jelly beans for lunch? Now, these are sources of excitement that don’t need to be explained.
So, we give Easter baskets, and we do it with this message: Jesus is risen! Let us join in the celebration!
Easter baskets have proven to be such an effective tool for sharing joy and sparking celebration in our home, that in recent years I’ve made it a practice to give Catholic Easter gifts to close friends, extended family members, and other important people in my life. Here are my Easter present ideas for this year:
For My Son
Our kids’ Easter baskets usually include a combination of candy, a small treat or two (stickers, silly putty), an item that they need (new pajamas or socks), and one bigger gift. We try to tie the bigger gifts to the meaning of Easter, and so it’s always a Catholic religious item. This year, we’re planning to give our son something to hang on his bedroom wall, like this hand sculpted wall cross or this Blessed Solanus Casey framed art. We have lots of religious Catholic Art and decor throughout our home, but having his very own item will make the piece feel more meaningful to our son. The bonus is that he won’t outgrow these items. The cross is a classic piece of art and the words on the Solanus Casey print, “Thank God Ahead of Time,” contain a message that will be relevant throughout our son’s life. We hope he’ll take these pieces to his college dorm room, his first apartment, and his eventual long-term home.
For My Daughters
I have a few ideas for big-ticket Easter presents to include in my daughters’ baskets this year. Even though they’re mostly too young to wear much jewelry, I know that they would be delighted to receive a Lady Lourdes necklace or an Our Lady of Guadalupe bracelet. They will grow into wearing these timeless pieces regularly, and until then, they’ll be thrilled to pull them out for special occasions… or just to wear on ordinary days and match me! Alternatively, we may get them a statue to place on their bedside table or bookshelf, such as this alabaster figure of St. Thérèse of Lisieux or this Petite Mary Statue.
For My Friends
My go-to gifts in almost all circumstances are candles. Beautiful candles with heavenly smells are a delight to the senses. They are consumable and so can be given over and over again, and they are a tangible way to share light.
Since Easter is the ultimate remembrance that light conquers darkness, I can’t think of better Catholic Easter gifts than saint candles. This year, I’m planning to give candles to several good friends, and I’ll accompany them with a printable containing a message that I think my friend needs right now, such as “Peace Be With You” or “In God’s Will There Is Great Peace.”
For My Godchildren
Easter is a great time to lean into my role as a godparent and to encourage my godson and goddaughter’s spiritual growth. Giving them faith-inspired Catholic Easter gifts is a sweet way to do this. This year, my Easter present idea for my goddaughter is a Mini Mary Garden. I know that she’ll have fun working with the kit to create a lovely, delicate homage to our heavenly Mother (and that her parents will appreciate the lack of ongoing care that the garden needs — paper flowers for the win!). We’re giving our godson this Padre Pio statue, with a note including Padre Pio’s famous words: “Pray, hope, and don't worry!” Who couldn’t use that message?
For an Acquaintance From Church
It’s natural for me to think of my children, nieces, nephews, and friends when I’m organizing ideas for Easter presents. But this year, I am expanding my circle of Easter gift recipients to include a few elderly Catholic parishioners at my parish who have a special spot in my heart right now. The pandemic has been hard on everyone for a myriad of reasons, but it has been especially hard on folks who live alone and who have health concerns.
So this Easter, I’m giving gifts to a few people whom I desperately miss seeing at morning Mass. It’s a way for me to still feel connected to them, and a way for them to know that I think about them and pray for them regularly. Since I most associate these elderly women with quietly praying the rosary before Mass, I’m planning to give them a Rosary Beads, like this one.
Celebrate Easter with House of Joppa
While the joy of Easter is undeniably the resurrection of Jesus, I love giving Catholic gifts on Easter to infuse the air with an extra spirit of festivity. Given the religious nature of the holiday, Easter is the perfect day to share gifts that will remind your receivers of their faith in a beautiful and memorable way. Shop House of Joppa for a selection of Catholic art, home decor, and more for your loved ones.