Easter may have been my favorite holiday as a kid. Living my whole life in Michigan, I’ve always keenly felt the need for a celebration of rebirth after a long, deadening winter. And we had Easter holiday traditions that were pretty unique to our family. One was the egg hunt – mom and dad would hide dozens of plastic eggs all over the yard. There were a couple traditional hiding spots – tucked between the ties under the rail of the train tracks that went past the house – and there would be a few real eggs that we’d dyed. A couple of pantyhose eggs (remember those??) would often have candy in them. There were little gifts, too: a balsa wood airplane, bubbles…little fun trinkets. Enough of a gift to be a gift but not enough to set off my overdeveloped sense of guilt at always having better gifts than my friends. 🙂
The Easter baskets had their own unwritten set of rules. The basket was rarely a basket at all. Usually it was something vaguely bowl-shaped. Baseball caps and gloves, a colander, and (in later years) a margarita pitcher stick out in my mind. Each person got their own, and it was filled with their favorite candy. (Easter was one of the few times Dad got Good-n-Plentys.) I loved making baskets as much as I loved receiving them. There’s a great satisfaction to expressing creativity within a known set of parameters and doing it really well.
I’ve been craving Easterness this year, so I decided to revive one other Easter tradition: the Easter Tree. As a kid, this was a branch of a shrub from the back yard, cut before it leafed out. We propped it in a flowerpot of sand or plaster and then hung decorations on it – mostly dyed eggs (blown out and washed first) and tiny rabbit-and-spring-themed wooden ornaments.
I didn’t have time or energy to dye eggs this year, but I did happen across a couple dozen naturally-colored Auracana eggs this spring, and there was some copper wire kicking around. And I knew there would be a vendor at the market selling curly willow…and that it will sprout leaves if you put it in water. So I created my own version of the Easter Tree, a little less with the red dye #3 and a little more with the life-from-dead-sticks. It’s in the yoga room, and I get to exercise in front of it every morning as the sunrise streams in the east-facing windows. It’s my family tradition, but even more “me” flavored, and it’s just the thing this spring.