Easter Tree 2.0

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.

Eggs and branchesI’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.

Easter Branch

Easter Tree

Easter Tree



  1. TeacherPatti said,

    April 5, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Those pictures are beautiful!!!

  2. Anonymous said,

    April 6, 2009 at 8:13 am

    My mother taught me to make decorated eggs for our tree. If they were dyed, it was just a wash, not bright colors. We blew out the eggs, then used brushes to paint intricate geometric patterns on them, usually naturalistic (flowers). Later I saw pictures of similar eggs – I think it is some middle European concept (not my family heritage, so I don’t know where my mother got them).

  3. Momster said,

    April 7, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    Bravo, love! So nice to hear the tradition is alive…dad hiding eggs when it was 30 degrees and dark! Hiding them in Florida when the sun melted the chocolate bunnies! The year I got a new toliet seat complete with a saran wrap sling full of Easter grass and chocolates! I still have your wooden bunny ornaments….maybe next year??

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