Easter used to be a much simpler affair.
You got a new pair of shoes, the dress that was going to be your Sunday best for the next 12 months, a spring coat (if you’d outgrown last year’s), and a new, likely hideous, hat.
Before donning your new apparel so you could head off to church, you got to find your Easter basket which contained dyed hard-boiled eggs that no one (other than my mother) wanted to eat, some candy (jelly beans, Peeps, a chocolate bunny), and a small gift item. (One year I got a stuffed bunny rabbit with a red-checked vest, another year some bubble bath.)
After looking through your basket, after church, you headed off to your aunt’s house for ham dinner.
The only Easter decoration in sight would be the Easter lily in the foil-covered plastic pot that was your family’s hostess gift.
Not a lot of fuss, not a lot of muss.
The day was one and done.
These days there probably aren’t as many patent-leather Mary Janes and hideous hats being bought, but there’s plenty of stuff you can buy to decorate home and garden. And a lot more stuff to throw in that Easter basket.
As I found out when I saw the spring Oriental Trading catalog that I fished out of the recycle basket in our front hall.
Forget those uni-color plastic eggs of yore – the ones you stuff with jelly beans and use in the egg hunt.
Think pirates, circus, race cars, rocket ships, ninjas, cowboys, crazy birds and gnomes. Oh, and aliens.
And that’s just on the first page.
Duck-shaped, frog-shaped, iridescent, bunny-shaped. And regular old egg-shaped eggs designed to look like they’re made out of chocolate. (Kids, don’t try [attempting to eat this] at home. Or any where else, for that matter.)
Bored with all the plastic egg choices – I’ve only listed a smattering – I moved on to the candy pages.
Gummy carrots. Bunny nose suckers. Yellow chick ring pops.
For a healthful alternative, there are bags of candy chopped carrots and peas.
Sure, I knew about Easter Hershey’s Kisses, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and M&M’s. But who knew Dots made Easter dots?
But wait, there are more “Easter essentials,” including rubber duckies that look like they’re made out of chocolate. (Kids, don’t try, etc…)
Not to mention beach balls, bubble bottles, and special Easter card games (Go Fish, Hearts, and Old Maid.)
Stuffed toys, “jewelry,” tattoos, pencils.
“Fill those baskets to the brim!”
And then, on page 50, things started to get a bit weird.
On page 50, the religious junk began
“Jesus loves everybunny” gift bags. Religious-themed tattoos. Chocolate eggs wrapped in foil with crosses on it. Inspirational pinwheels. Plush prayer bears. “Jesus loves you” bouncing balls.
Then there’s the Bible verse fortune cookies, palm leaf and cross candy fun packs, and rainbow colored cross suckers.
And if that’s not enough, there are the “He lives” rubber duckies.
It all brings to mind a couple of catalogues I saw a few years back.
One had on offer a blue and red stuffed Torah, cartooned up with big bug eyes and a smiling face.
The other had a nativity scene made up of teddy bears.
Tsk, tsk, tsk-ity tsk tsk.
Whatever happened to the concept of sacrilegious?
Meanwhile, I’ll be biting the head off of a yellow (secular) Peep or two and calling it a day.
Anyway, Happy Easter, Chag Pesach, and congratulations to all who made it through the season in hell that was this winter. (And welcome to what will probably be a season in hell for Red Sox fans. Opening Day is Monday. Let the baseball games begin!)