We've just recovered from January's credit card bill. Ignore the marketing sirens' call to start shopping again.
As if we need yet another holiday on which to spend obscene piles of money, Easter is now being described as a ‘second Christmas.’ No longer are families content to hide a handful of chocolate eggs and sit down to a spring-themed dinner on Sunday afternoon, but now Easter is becoming an Event of Magnificent Proportions, complete with gifts and party crackers.
Crackers! You know, those tubes of disappointing surprises that are supposed to be enjoyed only at Christmas? Well, this is the first year they’ve ever appeared on Good Housekeeping magazine’s famous Easter table setting, seemingly now part of the tradition. UK supermarket chain Waitrose says its cracker sales are up 63 percent already this year.
Carolyn Bailey, home and garden editor, defends the magazine’s decision to feature crackers:
“We feel people now want that extra touch to finish off the table. This year we’ve seen more people buying gifts and decorations for Easter, including crackers which are normally bought for Christmas, but now Easter is becoming like a second Christmas.”
Apparently, health conscious parents are also driving the new Easter consumerism. Not wanting their little ones to get all sugared up on a giant chocolate bunny in a box, they’re looking for alternatives gifts, like “collectible electronic chicks which hatch out of plastic eggs.” The description makes me shudder. It'd be a disaster in my household – broken chicks that won’t hatch, sobbing disappointed children, and a pile of non-recyclable plastic garbage. No, thanks, I’ll take a few foil wrappers and a sugar crash any day over that.
While The Telegraph argues that crackers are great conversation starters for a socially awkward smartphone-obsessed generation, that seems like a lame excuse for unnecessary consumerism. Isn't cooking an Easter dinner and inviting guests over enough to kickstart a conversation? There are other, much cheaper and less wasteful ways to entertain guests. Start by saying “Hey, how are you?” or something like that.
Why is it that every holiday gets hijacked by marketers? I’m all for celebrations, spending time with family, and cooking traditional foods, but seriously, it’s time to fight back against the ridiculous themed holiday hype. Who the heck needs crackers at Easter? Surely receiving Easter-themed “candles, decorative boxes, bunting and mugs” won't be the highest point of your weekend.
More stuff, and its loyal shadows trash and debt, are not what we need. What we need is the gift of time. Give personal attention to family members this Easter. Can you spare a few vacation days? Go for a walk outside. Sit around a table dyeing eggs or making Ukrainian pysanky eggs, if you want to get fancy. Have a jam session with family musicians. Cook together. Sure, buy a few fair-trade chocolate eggs and bunnies, but keep it to a minimum. Little kids like the hunt better than the treats anyways.
Let’s not allow Easter to become the second Christmas, but rather, turn it into the celebration we wish Christmas could be.