Friday, March 27, 2015

On being an Easter basket case though I have lived in North America my whole life, I am still perplexed by certain American customs and traditions. I've mastered most holidays, like Halloween and for the most part, Valentine's Day. And I thought I knew Easter too, but I was wrong.  

As the daughter of Taiwanese immigrants who are not particularly religious, I grew up celebrating Christmas and Easter not as holy days, but mainly as American commercial holidays. For Christmas, our family exchanged brightly wrapped gifts, decorated a tree and hung stockings. My sister learned the true identity of Santa Claus when she caught my dad hurriedly stuffing McDonald's gift certificates into her stocking. For Easter, my sister and I embarked on indoor egg hunts, searching for foil-wrapped chocolate eggs my dad hid all around the house. When I was in high school, though, he was tired of the routine and instead of hiding a whole bunch of eggs, he half-heartedly plunked a single bag of chocolate eggs in one spot where it was easy to find - pretty lame, I have to say.

Anyhow, I have a few questions about Easter. I am a bit confused about the Bunny and the Baskets. I know that the Easter Bunny is kind of like the Santa Claus, except instead of depositing toys and treats into a stocking, he/she does it in a basket. I get that. But the baskets are meant for children only, right? Not for adults?

Today I was doing some Easter shopping with a friend and noticed that she was not just buying things for her children.

"Hey, what's going on?" I asked. "Are you buying Easter stuff for your husband?"

"Yes, we all get Easter baskets," she replied.

"What?! Easter baskets for everyone? For adults? Is this a thing?" I asked. As we strolled down the street of shops, flurries in the air turned into large snowflakes. It's spring in Cleveland, after all.

"I don't know if it's a thing," she said, "but in our family, we all get Easter baskets." Snowflakes landed on our heads as I looked at my friend quizzically. 

This is my same friend who makes Valentine's Day a family celebration, not a day focused solely on romance. For Valentine's Day, she makes sure everyone in her family gets sweet treats. She is very inclusive in celebrating special occasions. It's one of the reasons we are friends.

Still, I was puzzled. From polling friends over the years, I have learned what typically goes into a child's Easter basket: at least one chocolate Easter bunny, plastic eggs filled with jelly beans, small toys or gadgets, books, maybe some socks. For some reason, at our house for my kids, the Easter Bunny also delivers toothbrushes and toothpaste. 

So I understand what a child's Easter basket is all about. But what goes into an adult's Easter basket? The same thing? Does everyone in your family get an Easter basket? If so, what's inside? 

What does your family do for Easter?