On Easter morning, when my kids were younger, they woke me at dawn to help them find their baskets so they could hunt for eggs. These days, I’m lucky if my teens roll out of their beds at noon on Sunday, and I just have to hope they’re in a good mood.
Now that my kids are teenagers, they’ve naturally let go of lots of childish fantasies. Santa no longer brings presents. The Tooth Fairy doesn’t leave them dollars anymore. Leprechauns don’t visit on St. Patty’s Day. But when it comes to the Easter Bunny, I don’t want them to say goodbye.
Easter Fun for Teens
Easter reminds me of one of my best college memories. I was a freshman in college when my father attended my grandmother’s funeral in Florida. I wasn’t able to attend the funeral with him, and with both of us grieving, we missed each other terribly. Imagine my astonishment seeing my dad at the steps of my ivy-covered dorm, 3,000 miles from home! He had extended his cross-country trip, just to see me and, little did I know, like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat, he had another surprise in store for me.
My father and I started his visit by going out to eat, touring the campus, and doing other fun father-daughter activities. On Easter morning though, instead of meeting him for breakfast, he told me to stay in my room and wait. When I finally got his “OK” to meet him outside of my dorm, I found a magical grass hill dotted with colorful Easter eggs. I was just as excited at age 19 to collect those Easter eggs and crack them open as when I was nine years old.
Back then, my dad managed to recreate some of the magic of my childhood, and I’m still grateful for the special effort he made to express his love. Now, I want to preserve some of that same child-like magic for my children. Just like my dad did for me.
To get my teenagers on board with preserving our Easter celebrations, I made some changes to our usual routine.
First, I raised the bar for baskets.
Easter baskets for teens still have room for those nostalgic chocolate bunnies. But now the baskets are themed. Tucked alongside the confections, my car-obsessed new driver gets car wax in his Easter basket to give his ride that perfect gleam. My basketball-loving son receives an Easter basket filled with candy and sports cards. They may be almost grown ups, but let me tell you, they are just as excited to go through the loot in their Easter baskets as when they were younger, and now they’re even more appreciative of the efforts I made. (Yay, teen Easter!)
Then I upped the ante on hunting eggs.
When my kids were toddlers, they walked around (sometimes clamored) to find every hidden, colorful plastic egg, and they were content with breaking them open to reveal candies. As teens, my kids are way more competitive. They run full speed through our small yard, yelling, “I GOT ONE!” And boy, is it ON to find the single golden egg.
The treasures inside the eggs have evolved from jellybeans and foil-wrapped chocolates, to dollar bills, gold dollar coins, and lottery tickets. But some still contain their favorite candies too. The competition is fierce when they tally their findings and scratch off their lottery tickets to see who really “won” the egg hunt by getting the largest money prize.
My kids may not want to celebrate it exactly as they did when they were younger, but my father showed me that family Easter traditions can still enchant a teen. With some adjustments, I can still create a special day for them. We’ve managed to keep magic here in my family, passed from father to daughter, from daughter to sons, so that each year on Easter, just for one day, my teens turn into their younger selves again, and the Easter Bunny lives on!