As we walked through the mall last Saturday, my four-year-old daughter stopped dead in her tracks and pointed straight ahead. "What is THAT?" she asked, eyes wide. "What is what?" I asked, noting a photographer snapping pictures of a toddler in his Easter outfit sitting on the Easter Bunny's lap.
"That rabbit," she whispered, still pointing in awe. Hmmm ... how to explain the Easter Bunny? We've never mentioned him in our family in a good way or bad. He just hasn't existed at all. Now I will be the first to admit that our family gets sucked into the consumerism of Christmas much more than we would like but have so far managed to stay very clear of contributing to the commercialization of Easter. With the exception of buying egg dye and a few bags of Smucker's jelly beans (more for me than the kids!), I steadfastly refuse to help any retailer profit off what should be the most holy day of the year, the day we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord. For us, that means no Easter outfits, Easter cards, and no Easter baskets laden with presents.
According to the National Retail Federation , the world's largest retail trade association, there will be more than 90 million chocolate bunnies, 2 million marshmallow chicks per day, and 16 billion jelly beans produced for Easter. Those who will celebrate plan to spend an average of $107.17, up from $102.76 last year. In all, consumers are expected to spend $10.47 billion on Easter this year.
Christians are notorious for complaining about the commercialization of holidays, but in this case, folks, I think we're responsible for it. As long as clothing manufacturers and greeting card companies know the fine churchgoing people of America will buy what they're selling, they are going to compete vigoriously for our Easter dollars.
As the discussion continued, my kindergartener announced, "Oh, yeah, ----'s Easter Bunny is bringing her the "Chicken Little" DVD in her basket this year." It was a wonderful opportunity to share with the girls why we've made the choices we've made and how we hope that they will keep Easter special in their hearts too.
God forbid that we should reduce the extravagance of Christ's love to a new outfit and a basket full of candy and gifts.