And that something was that other parents need to calm the shit down on Easter and St. Patrick’s and Valentine’s Days.
We weren’t being Mean Moms. We had our fair share of Peeps and chocolate. But that was basically it. None of this “Easter gifts” crap. One mom complained about the gifts the leprechaun was supposed to bring, and I was all “Oh hell no.”
Seriously. People. Calm it all down. Otherwise, we’re going to hear ads in June for 4th of July gifts. Because on America’s birthday, shouldn’t everyone get a gift or seventeen?
Think about it.
Sounds stupid doesn’t it?
So why are we turning every freaking holiday into a gift holiday? So our kids feel special? So they can have more joy in stuff? So you can make yourself crazier as a parent making bunny footprints in sugar and moving the Leprechaun on the Ledge all of March? So that every month, we make ourselves crazy trying to surprise our kids, then lament that they have too much stuff or you don’t know what gift to get them for Easter because they got the doll they wanted for Valentine’s Day and the Leprechaun brought them bikes. Do you even know that two out of those three holidays are, in fact, the days a particular saint died?
“Hey, Happy Death Day of St. Patrick, have a gift!”
And now the poor overworked Easter Bunny is supposed to lug a sack of gifts as well as egg.s
Well, this Easter Bunny isn’t doing any of that crap. She never did. Oh sure, my kids are too old for the little things like bubbles and sidewalk chalk – you know, things to distract them from the fact that Mom didn’t actually put that much candy in their basket. But I’m not replaces $1 bubbles with $25 gift cards.
You know that line from “The Incredibles”, where Syndrome says “And when everyone’s super….no one will be.”? That’s what we’re doing to holidays. We’re taking away their individuality by turning them into big gift giving holidays. And when everything becomes that big gift giving holiday, they lose their charm.
When I was a kid, we celebrated all sorts of things, good Irish/Italian American Catholics that we were. But St. Patrick’s Day was that day when our big treat was getting a Shamrock Shake at McDonald’s. We’d live for that. My grandma would carry her shamrock handkerchief, which I always looked for. We wore green. We proudly expressed our Irishness. Three days later was St. Joseph’s Day, which required the wearing of red, an Italian dinner, and cannolis. It’s how we celebrated our Italian heritage.
Nobody got a bike.
St. Valentine’s Day, we wore pink or red, there might be flowers, there was a small box of chocolates from parents and grandparents, maybe a card. And that was about it. Nothing huge. Nothing massive. But dang if we didn’t get all excited over those little boxes of chocolate.
Easter’s biggest deal was of course, the basket. Which we’d have to find. It never occurred to us that the Easter Bunny used the same baskets every year, those cheap colored wicker ones. Or we didn’t care. We were just in it for the candy – a chocolate bunny, some Peeps, jelly beans. Of course, there was that one year my mom, in a fit of health-consciousness, bought us carob bunnies. Which were not good. Not good at all. There was a bit of wailing and gnashing of teeth (to get the carob off, because ew), and the evil not-chocolate bunnies were replaced the next day with proper chocolate ones.
But no one got a bike for Easter.
Oh sure, I hear “But my child’s birthday is in the winter!” Yeah, well, I got a bike for Christmas. In Chicago. You managed. Because life was simpler and full of those little lessons like “Hey, you don’t always get what you want at the best time, so you figure out how to ride a bike in the snow.” Or you learn to roller skate in the basement because it’s too snowy outside. And suddenly, that’s where the best memories come from. “Hey, remember that Christmas when we all got roller skates but it was too cold outside, so we skated in the basement?”
“Hey, remember that Easter when we couldn’t find one basket and spent hours looking for it only to realize the dog was sitting under it, staring up at it for hours?”
“Remember how Mom always got me a cannoli even though I hate them, and I’d let her eat mine? And how one year, Patrick asked for mine and I said yes and Mom was all “Wait! What? But I was going to eat that one too…”
And now, my kids have had that fun.
“Hey, remember the Christmas we had the big Nerf gun battle?”
“Hey, remember that Easter when one of the older grandkids hid a tiny frog in one of the eggs during the egg hunt and Collin got it?” (no frog was harmed.)
“Hey, remember that year we actually went to a parade in Ireland for St. Patrick’s and the nice people on the rooftop with us shared candy and waffles with us?”
Because life isn’t about what you get. Every holiday doesn’t have to have gifts to make it special. So let’s all chill a bit on it, m’kay? Give the poor Easter Bunny, and your wallet, a break this year.
I shall step off my soapbox now. Not sure how I got up here…oh, and tell those kids to get off my lawn…sheesh….in my day…