This downtown Ottawa mom’s guide to Easter…without a trip to church

Me with the Easter Bunny in 1982

Me with the Easter Bunny in 1982

I spent part of my childhood as a Roman Catholic, so holidays like Christmas and Easter always had a major religious significance. Easter Sunday meant not only chocolate and candy, but also putting on a dress and going to church.

We’re not raising our daughter with any religion and now that she’s older and very much aware of the holidays, we’ve been trying to figure out how we want to go about celebrating them.

We know we want to celebrate Christmas and Easter, as both the man and I have fond holiday memories…But what will we actually be celebrating if we remove the Christian narrative?

Well, we’ve decided that in our house Easter is a celebration of family and spring. The little one will do an egg hunt and get a new spring outfit and a soccer ball in her Easter basket. We’ll eat a tasty brunch and hopefully it will be nice enough to do something as a family outside. When she’s a little older we’ll talk to her about the Christian basis of the holiday, explaining that some people celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ but we don’t.

Because we don’t have that Christian narrative it’s becoming very important to me to keep the gifts to a minimum and ensure there’s an emphasis on love, family togetherness and helping others.

I don’t want the holidays to be all about Santa and the Easter Bunny because we didn’t give them a deeper meaning.

It’s hard. She’s an only child and the only grandchild. I want to give her things and so does everyone else. Plus, have you walked into a Walmart lately? The amount of Easter gift stuff is astounding and over the top. I could have bought my kid a chocolate skateboard!

Ideally, in the future I would like to incorporate some sort of “helping the earth” type project into our Easter activities. Maybe we could clean up a park or donate some allowance money to an environmental organization.

I know I don’t have to figure it all out this week. We have many years to develop our own holiday traditions.

But when it comes to my kid the years seem to be going by pretty darn fast.

I don’t want to miss an opportunity and then suddenly she’s 19 and celebrating Easter in her college dorm room  by simply getting drunk and binge eating some discounted Easter candy because I didn’t “do it right.”

One more thing for my insanely long parental “To Do” list…

P.S. Looking for an Easter-themed activity in Ottawa? Here are some ideas…

  1. Easter Eggstravaganza at the Museum of Civilization
  1. Easter on the Farm at the Canada Agriculture Museum
  1. Easter Egg Hunt at Museoparc in Vanier
  1. Easter Eggstravaganza at the Bytown Museum
  1. Eggs ellent Easter Activities at Billings Estate
  1. Easter Egg Hunt at the Valleyview Little Animal Farm

I get the sense that mall Easter Bunny photos (like the one above) aren’t really a big thing anymore.  Judging by this photo of me, that’s probably for the best. However, I did a little digging and discovered that a couple malls in Ottawa do have Easter activities.

Carlingwood Mall

Merivale Mall

Place D’Orleans

Hazeldean Mall

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