Happy holidays, Mommyish readers! This weekend, while Jewish kids don't stand to receive more than $5 for finding the afikomen during Passover, kids who celebrate Easter are gearing up for a pretty sweet windfall, and I'm not just talking about devouring a few chocolate bunnies and marshmallow Peeps. For the past few years, I've been chronicling the insane over-purchasing some parents fall victim to on Easter, and I expect this year to be no exception. Much like Jesus Christ, the cost of Easter has risen, and parents on social media can't wait to show off their handiwork to their expansive network of friends and family.
Remember when Easter only consisted of low-key neighborhood egg hunts and individual baskets that had a few pieces of candy buried underneath a bunch of shiny grass? Those salad days are long gone. Today, Easter is increasingly known as "Christmas 2.0," which is funny considering an article in Slate from 2010 titled 'Happy Crossmas' revolves around this thesis: "Unlike Christmas, whose deeper spiritual meaning has been all but buried under an annual avalanche of commercialism, Easter has retained a stubborn hold on its identity as a religious holiday." It's only been five years since those words were written, but in 2015, they couldn't be further from the truth. What's interesting to me, though, is that it's not necessarily commercial retailers that have been pushing for parents to purchase more and more gifts for their kids; it's the parents themselves who have self-imposed these arbitrary rules. There might be more Easter sales than there used to be, but it's parents' competitiveness and desire to make their kids feel "special" that has led to this massively grotesque display of Easter gifting. Kids used to get Easter baskets. Now they get Easter bounties.
Granted, I was raised Jewish, but because I grew up in the South, I've attended numerous Easter egg hunts and even received a few Easter baskets, so I know the deal. I know what's "normal." And what used to be considered normal has in recent years expanded to include far more than the average basket can hold. It's actually kind of sad that so many parents still insist on putting all of their kids' items in baskets, because they wind up overstuffing multiple baskets per child when they should just cram it all into their kids' 900-square foot Victorian playhouse or whatever. It's ridiculous. How do you lovingly pack multiple Easter baskets -- which, if memory serves, is a holiday about Jesus dying for your sins, and is supposed to teach gratitude and sacrifice -- and NOT take all but one of them to a shelter or a children's hospital or something? How do parents just obliviously roam store aisles, picking up trendy toys and iPads and bikes and swing sets (these are all items now gifted on Easter) and not stop and say out loud to themselves, in the middle of shopping, "Wait a second. My kids don't need any of this crap! WHAT AM I DOING?"? I honestly wonder.
It's hard for me to understand the impetus behind over-purchasing for children who already have enough on a holiday that supposedly teaches mindfulness and reflection, but each year I'm given the impression that it's because parents want their kids to feel loved and they want to look like The Best Parent(s) Ever on social media. Unfortunately, kids don't feel more loved when you buy them pallets of gifts, and parents who brag about how much shit they bought for their kids only make themselves look crazy. The big parenting theme so far this year is about how young parents are raising future narcissists. If you think you fit that description, you might want to put away your credit card and back away from the giant bunny display. Your kid doesn't need diabetes OR an ego the size of a golden egg. Trust me.
1. Baby's First Easter Basket
Something about the way Brooke says, "I'm learning!" makes me think of that scene in Clueless when Cher asks if she should leave a note after smashing into a car. I know what Brooke is saying -- she'll reduce the amount of stuff she buys as her child gets older and she determines his needs -- but honestly, what infant even wants all this stuff? It doesn't take a genius to figure out that a baby won't exactly "appreciate" most of these items during his first Easter, so what was the purpose of posting this photo (much less taking this photo)? Also, did Brooke put an extra-long tie on that stuffed sheep, or did it come that way? I'm guessing it's supposed to go with that shirt, which looks like it'll fit in 5-10 years. Brooke, girl, relax with a Cadbury egg, some Goldfish snacks, and a Go Squeeze fruit juice that your son can't yet consume and stop obsessing.
PS: It's not all books, but nice try. I'm a fan of 'The Poky Little Puppy' myself.
2. Easter Bunny On Steroids
Yo Cristin, GUESS WHAT? You don't need to lay out in words what you bought your baby for Easter, because you already laid out most of it in the picture you posted, and no one cares. There's really nothing 'lol' about it. It's simple: You and your relatives think this is an appropriate amount of stuff to gift a baby for Easter, and you're wrong. Easter isn't for gifting Puma sneakers. It's not even for gifting TOMS sneakers, although I guess technically they qualify as charity. It's about chocolate, and bunnies, and eggs, and maybe some books for good measure. It's not about Baby GAP jeans or bragging on Facebook. I know this lesson won't come easy since you're surrounded by people like Connie, but I'd like to believe that people like Karen will make some kind of positive impression in the future.
3. Traditional Easter Computer
I have no problem with parents giving their kids a computer, but what is it about a computer that screams "Easter present" to Diana and Jerry? In fact, why does anyone give their kid(s) electronic devices as Easter gifts? It makes about as much sense as posting a photo of the computer box on Facebook and joking about how bored the kids will probably be with their brand new computer. For Easter. What.
4. Guess How Much? (No, really. Guess.)
*Note: There is no physical way to cram all this stuff into that Hello Kitty basket. None.
Contrary to what Krystal's inner voice is telling her, pumping up the magic for Easter doesn't entail buying more Sour Patch candy. How about just dyeing a half-dozen eggs together with a few drops of food coloring and some glitter? Not that this Easter basket is really that over-the-top, but qualifying magic with big spending isn't the best way to teach your kids the meaning behind religious holidays. At the very least, don't post a gauche photo on Facebook and ask your friends to guess how much you spent. This almost makes me miss the Elf on the Shelf.
5. Easter Is Like Christmas Minus The Wrapping Paper
Is that a pile of clothes, toys, and Snapple for a needy families donation drive, or did Jenn and Michael just cover their couch with as much stuff as they put under the Christmas tree a mere few months ago? It sure LOOKS like it's a lot to dig through. But maybe with their kids in the picture, it would look like less.
Nope, still looks like Christmas. Except this shot also features a bike. I can't even tell if these photos were taken in the same year, much less the same house. All I know is, these kids clean up on Easter, so Christmas must be like a super sized holiday spectacular, complete with operational carousel in the driveway. I'm also not seeing too much in these shots that looks "Easter-y." Maybe I'm just a Peeps-loving, chocolate-bunny-endorsing Jew, but since when do Easter, Snapple, and bikes go together?
6. I'm Not A Regular Mom, I'm A #CoolMom
Finally, we have a mother so determined to impress her little girl, she joyfully acknowledges that Easter in her house has become Christmas 2.0. Forget one oversized Disney princess bag with an oversized stuffed animal in it! This little girl needs multiple bags for multiple oversized stuffed animals! It's like Oprah stopped by and said, "Who needs one Easter basket when you could have FIIIIIIVE EASTERRRR BASKETSSSSS!!!!!!!" This is the way of the modern parent. More stuff equals more "cool mom points," and more cool mom points equals more social media bragging rights. Thankfully, the next big holiday isn't for several more months, so parents should have plenty of time to start planning.