Whether you’re hopping down the bunny trail or searching for eggs, we’ve got 10 easy ideas for creating memorable family traditions at your Easter party. What traditions come to mind when you think about Easter? Going to church? Chocolate bunnies? Easter baskets? Jelly beans? There are so many ways to celebrate and enjoy this special day. Today we’re sharing some of our family’s favorites.
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Every year, we spend Easter at my Aunt Ronda and Uncle Bob’s house with all of my aunts, uncles, cousins and their children. Aunt Ronda and Uncle Bob are wonderfully gracious hosts when you consider just how large my extended family is. My Dad is one of eight children. All but one of his eight siblings had 2-4 children each. Now those children are all grown up and many have 2-4 of their own kids too. Altogether there are well over 60 people for dinner on Easter at Aunt Ronda and Uncle Bob’s — and that’s just the half of us who can make it! And yet, they invite us back year after year, continually carrying on the Easter party traditions I enjoyed when I was a child plus adding new ideas to make it a special and memorable weekend for all ages.
Now before I start talking about bunnies, eggs and other traditional things that make us think of Easter, I want to say first and foremost, for Kent and I, Easter is about celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus. It’s a day for remembering the incredible sacrifice he made on the cross when he died for our sins. Although we enjoy many fun spring traditions and activities, we take time throughout the weekend to retell that story to our children. Besides reading the resurrection story from one of our children’s Bibles, we enjoy these board books:
- What Is Easter? by Michelle Medlock Adams
- The First Easter by Jesslyn DeBoer
- The Story of Easter by Patricia A. Pingry
10 Easy Easter Party Traditions
Aunt Ronda and Uncle Bob’s Easter party is something I look forward to every year. While it’s wonderful to catch up with relatives I only get to see once a year, Aunt Ronda and Uncle Bob really go above and beyond to make the Easter party special with easy traditions anyone could implement. I wanted to share ten of the ideas with you today in the hope that some of our special traditions will inspire you to create some new Easter party traditions for your own family.
1. The Good Friday Fish Fry
I grew up with the Catholic tradition of fasting from meat on Fridays during the Lenten season. On Good Friday, Aunt Ronda and Uncle Bob host a dinner for anyone who’s made it into town for the weekend. Uncle Bob mans the fryer preparing fish that either he’s caught or that some of my uncles have brought to contribute. Each family brings a dish to pass so there’s plenty of food for everyone.
2. Easter Bunny Cookies
It’s been years since my grandparents passed away, but Easter wouldn’t be Easter if Aunt Ronda and Uncle Bob didn’t make Grandma’s bunny sugar cookies. They still use the cookie cutter she used! While Grandma always frosted them with a white glaze, Uncle Bob and Aunt Ronda have moved to bright spring colored frosting. It doesn’t matter how many other goodies there are at the Fish Fry or Easter party, everyone looks for the bunny cookies first.
3. Decorating Easter Eggs
On Saturday evening after dinner, Uncle Bob boils dozens and dozens of eggs for us to color. We’ve tried decorating eggs in many different ways, but lean towards dipping them in dyes and painting them with daubers.
By the time we’re done, there are no white eggs left in the house and our fingers are colored for Easter morning. It’s usually my older brother’s job to turn all of these magnificently colored eggs into deviled eggs for dinner at the Easter party.
4. Finding Easter Baskets
When I was a child, we’d wake up on Easter morning to search for our Easter baskets. The older we got, the harder it was to find our Easter baskets. I think one year mine was actually wrapped in a garbage bag in the grass clipping bag on the lawn mower. We’ve carried on the same tradition with our children. They’re only little guys, though, so their baskets are much easier to find.
A friend of mine created adorable cloth baskets for my boys with their first initial on them. I used fuzzy yarn to knit Easter grass that we could re-use from one year to the next. We fill the basket with chocolate bunnies, small toys, books and other trinkets. The last few years I’ve also made Cheddar Bunny Carrots to help cut down on the amount of candy in their Easter baskets.
5. The Easter Coloring Contest
When I was a teenager, my parents created a family newsletter that they’d write every week. There was no e-mail back in those days, so they’d have to painstakingly print 9 copies on the dot-matrix printer, collate and mail the newsletters. As you can imagine, I was a regular contributor to the family gazette with a column called “Carrie’s Corner.” The rest of the extended family contributed periodically as there was news to share. These days our communications have been replaced by the speed and reach of a large family Facebook group, but one thing remains as a legacy from those old gazette days – the annual Easter Coloring Contest!
In January, Aunt Ronda already starts hyping up the upcoming Easter party by releasing the new coloring page for the year in our family’s Facebook group. This is not just a casual contest for the preschool crowd. Aunts, uncles and cousins of all ages submit their best work. They are so creative! Many go outside the lines and develop an entire backstory and persona for the characters in the picture. Anything goes as long as you use the coloring page from Aunt Ronda as the base for your coloring contest entry. Even relatives who can’t attend the Easter party send in their coloring pages to be displayed in the gallery on Aunt Ronda’s wall:
You’ll notice every coloring contest entry has a prize. My Dad and I like to serve as the judges and take our job very seriously (wink, wink!). We deliberate and think carefully to give out awards for each and every entry including “Best Use of Scribble”, “The Orangest Bunny” and “Most Puzzling.”
6. DIY Easter Bonnets
A few years ago, Aunt Ronda started breaking out the craft supplies mid-afternoon during the Easter party. We all wondered what in the world she had in mind for paper plates, tissue paper, empty toilet paper rolls, pipe cleaners, scissors, tape, stickers, yarn, artificial flowers and more. Little did we know, she was starting a new tradition: Do-It-Yourself Easter Bonnets.
Everyone makes their own hat fashioned out of whatever they can find in the stash of craft supplies at the Easter party. While most use a paper plate as the foundation for their Easter bonnet, some get creative with headbands, cones and any other ideas they can come up with.
7. The Easter Parade
When you have 60+ people at your Easter party wearing festive bonnets, the natural thing to do is line up on the sidewalk in front of the house and parade down the street to the neighbors, right? Lucky for us, one of my Dad’s sisters lives just three doors down from Uncle Bob and Aunt Ronda so that’s the destination for our family parade. We are quite the sight! One year a neighbor even dressed up in a chicken suit just to join in the festivities.
8. Easter Egg Hunt
Many families have an Easter Egg Hunt at their annual Easter party, but ours has a special twist. Instead of finding as many eggs as you possibly can in the shortest amount of time, each person has one specific egg with their name on it to find — and I mean each and EVERY person no matter how young or old they are. If the egg you find has someone else’s name on it, you just put it back where you found it and keep searching. Toward the end, you have adult cousins bribing each other with “I’ll tell you where your egg is, if you tell me where my egg is,” but it’s all in good fun. How can it not be when you have more than 60 people in crazy Easter bonnets wandering around the backyard?!
9. Easter Party Piñata
As if Easter bonnets and hunting for eggs wasn’t enough fun for one family, Aunt Ronda and Uncle Bob stepped it up a notch a few years ago when they added an Easter Party Piñata. Unlike the other family Easter party traditions, this one is just for the kids. They line up from shortest to tallest for a chance to swing a bat at a bright spring colored piñata filled with candy. The older ones are required to wear a blindfold to make it more challenging, but the younger ones like my boys just go for it!
10. Easter Party Potluck Dinner
No Easter party would be complete without a big family dinner. Uncle Bob and Aunt Ronda actually feed us twice on Easter Sunday. The first meal is in the early afternoon after everyone arrives from their church services and morning Easter traditions. The second meal is in the evening after the bonnet making, parade, egg hunt and piñata bashing are finished. Both meals are potluck with every family bringing one or more dishes to share. A potluck is really the best way to feed a group this large. The Easter party menu always includes a large ham, turkey, scalloped potatoes, green beans, salads, a relish tray, deviled eggs, bunny cookies plus much, much more. Let’s just say if you go away hungry after this Easter party, it’s really your own fault!
Personally, I love special traditions, quality family time and reasons to be together to celebrate. I’m thankful my aunt and uncle host this Easter party year-after-year so I can pass these fun Easter traditions along to my own sons. Just the other day, my four year old, C1, was looking over my shoulder as I was putting Easter dates on my calendar. He said to me: “Mommy, I wish Easter would come now.” Me: “Why?” C1: “Because I love hunting for eggs.” I’m glad I’m not the only one who looks forward to the annual Easter party!
What are the ways you make Easter special for your family? Please comment below and share about your family’s Easter party traditions. We’re always looking for new ideas and would love to hear about your annual festivities.
You’ll find more great ideas on our Easter Board on Pinterest. If you liked these easy Easter party traditions, please share them with your friends or pin them for later: