We have had a few blog commenters question why we don’t do Easter eggs, bunnies, and baskets. Instead of answering privately, or in a limited way on the blog, it seemed worthy of doing a complete post that addresses the subject because there may be others who are wondering with an open spirit. I’m assuming these were honest questions, and since they weren’t labeled as private, I list them below.
“Steve, with all due respect, what is wrong with the little girls having Easter baskets? You can focus on Christ and the Resurrection but still have baskets and Easter hunts. Millions of devout Christians do it. I’m glad I got to do both as a kid. May Day is coming up. Maybe the big girls and Sarah can help the little girls make May baskets, put flowers in them, and share them with the neighbors, or the folks at the nursing home. I don’t think this would be sinful.” Reader A
“I notice that you’ve stated that you try to focus on Christ. That’s definitely the reason for the season; but, I’m curious what’s wrong with having Easter baskets or sweets? You share gifts at Christmas. . .” Reader B
Christianity is not a democracy, and if millions of “devout” Christians exercise their faith in a particular way, it doesn’t necessarily make it pleasing to the Lord. Living one’s life according to the Bible should be every professing Christian’s desire and practice. I do understand that many churches have bunnies and baskets to perhaps reach the lost. Each person/church’s conduct/choices are between them and the Lord.
Have you ever tried to look at two things at once? If they are any distance apart, you really have to choose to look at one or the other. Bunnies, baskets, and the Lord Jesus are light years apart — there’s no biblical support, not even a natural tie-in or segue between them. Generally, I’ve found the more desirable something is to the flesh, the more likely it will be the one that wins. Give children the choice of bunnies and baskets versus Jesus, and I can guarantee you what most children will choose to anticipate and remember — the morning discussion of Christ’s resurrection or the fun candy filled egg hunt outside? When they get older will they make the right choice? Hopefully, but why set up our children to be double-minded? “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” (James 4:8)
Next, if a Christian’s walk is determined by only things that aren’t wrong, they are missing much that fills a walk that is pleasing to the Lord. They really aren’t seeking God’s best, just avoiding outright sin. Would you rather have a child who just didn’t disobey (according to their definition of disobedience), or one who truly wanted to please you? From my observations, many “Christians” spend empty lives doing things they consider not sin, while missing a fruitful life that is dedicated to following the Lord. “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). Frankly, not doing bunnies and baskets would hardly even qualify as denying oneself or taking up a cross.
The argument for doing something because it was done as a child and was enjoyable is similar to why many participate in Halloween, which is one of the most wicked “holidays” there is. Yet, scores of “Christians” do. Regardless of what one did in the past, shouldn’t the decision for today be made as to what pleases the Lord? Those who share that the bunnies and baskets are fond memories for them, probably lack similar sweet memories of a family who celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ and His redemption of fallen man. The bunnies and baskets memories will be paramount.
I want my children’s memories of Resurrection Sunday to be Jesus Christ crucified, risen, and coming again. When they are eighty, I want them to think back on their childhood Resurrection Sundays with praise and joy in their hearts for a God Who loved them so much that He gave His Son for their salvation. Those are the memories I am attempting to build in my children’s lives.
Having an egg hunt for the family on Resurrection Sunday is similar to celebrating Mother’s Day by the family watching basketball, when Mom hates basketball. Resurrection Sunday is a day that is to be all about Jesus!
Regardless of one’s intentions or motives, the Lord does look at what we do and say. Consider when Jesus had just told His disciples He was going to the cross. They knew that meant a horrible and painful death for Jesus and the loss of the One they loved and had given their lives to. Peter’s intentions were wonderful, but his thinking was worldly and not according to the Lord’s will. When Peter protested against Jesus’ crucifixion, Jesus responded with this statement: “Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men” (Matthew 16:23). We see that personal evaluations such as “It’s only harmless fun” or “I see nothing wrong with it,” don’t seem to gather much credit with the Lord unless they line up with God’s will.
There is such blessing in seeking God’s will in things and foregoing man’s ideas. Notice we didn’t condemn those who choose to do baskets and bunnies. That is not for us to do, but each will give account for their actions — even every idle word. “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Matthew 12:36).
Nathan is responsible for whether his girls receive bunnies, and baskets, and I’m pleased they didn’t for reasons mentioned here.
I’ve never given May Day any thought as an outreach. One could put a track in each basket with the flowers and candy. Not a bad idea. Why don’t you do it, and let us know how it goes?
We do give gifts at Christmas, but have nothing to do with Santa Claus. I think a fictitious Santa Claus is a better comparison to an Easter bunny as Santa Claus has as much to do with Jesusâ€™ birth as an Easter bunny has to do with His resurrection.
My encouragement is: know the Lord Jesus as your personal Savior, know His will, obey Him, be at peace with yourself and other’s decisions, and bask in His love. That’s a formula for no regrets!
“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”
–1 Corinthians 10:31
42 thoughts on “Bunnies and Baskets”
When I was a child my family did all the traditional holiday activities: Santa Claus at Christmas, Easter bunny and candy at Easter, Trick or Treating at Halloween, Valentine’s Day boxes and card exchange. . . etc. After we were married, my husband and I choose not to participate in those activities as we could see how they had no relationship to serving Jesus and at times pushed Jesus out of the celebration. I can say our kids haven’t been deprived as they get candy periodically through the year, but it allows the focus to be on Christ and not the celebration that the secular world likes to enjoy.
Amen! Its nice to not feel so alone in the world when it comes to Christian values. As a Sunday school teacher its sad to ask them if they know what this special day was about and hear them reply “bunny’s and candy”. Every year they have to be ‘re-trained’ to the truth.
Wonderful response. I have done both with my children when they were younger and we have moved to the strictly Resurrection Celebration and Birth Celebration. This year, we decided to not do any gifts on Dec. 25th, when we found an appropriate gift, we just gave it to them then instead of waiting for 1 day (it worked for us, but I realize thats not for everyone). Our children are spread out over 4 states and we couldn’t all be together then, so most gifts were given around Thanksgiving! Spreading our blessings!
Wonderfully said. Thank you for this post. I have often wondered how to respectively and lovingly answer questions for the reason why our family does not do bunnys, baskets, or egg hunts.
Amen! Very well stated and we agree!
I appreciate you taking time to address the question. It is hard for my mother to understand why I have chosen to tell my children that the Santa Claus that we hear about at Christmas is pretend. We talk about St. Nicholas and that history- but “Santa” is not omnipotent- He DOES NOT see you when you are sleeping, etc. The best thing about Easter, was hearing our kids say “The Lord is Risen Indeed!!!”
God bless you richly.
Praise the Lord for the wisdom with which He filled you to write such a God-honoring apology for your defense of the faith. I am certain we could not have articulated ourselves in such a fashion and I am very encouraged not only with your dissertation of the matter, but probably more so with the spirit behind it. Indeed may Jesus be praised.
It is sad day when so many are being seduced and drawn away unto traditions of men, but our Lord prepared us for such. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.” (2 Timothy 3:1)
May we each one ever be mindful of our choices for ourselves and our families. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10)
The Lord bless you and your family.
May Day is based on an old pagan fertility holiday. It seems to me that many nowadays holidays have pagan roots.
Amen! My experience and reply would be just about identical to Nicki W’s above. Grew up with Santa, bunnies and the like; decided not to carry on these things after we married and had children. Our desire is to raise children that know, love and serve the Lord. That requires us, as Christians, to take the narrow path. Maxwells, thank you for your blog and ministry. I’ve enjoyed reading for several years now and always appreciate your willingness to share and thoughtful insight.
Thank you for taking the time to write this out. I appreciated reading it very much!
All glory to God!!!
God bless you for this pertinent and timely response.
May Jesus be praised in all we say and do.
Many years ago when my oldest was little (he’s now 19), I heard a pastor’s message warning parents not to let their children believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. He said that if you let your children believe that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are real and then later tell them that they aren’t, your children will not believe you when you tell them about Jesus. They can’t see Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, but they’re told to believe in them and then later told not to believe. They can’t see Jesus, either, but they’re told to believe in Him, too. They think Jesus and the Salvation that he offers us is all just a story, like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. Due to that pastor’s message, my husband and I have never told our children that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny were real. As we have told each of our children over the age of 5 the true Christmas and Easter stories, they have believed us and have a strong faith in Jesus. We celebrate Jesus on Christmas and Easter.
We stay far away from “the Bunny” as well. On the first day of spring, however, we do our “spring egg hunt.” I keep it well away from Easter, as plastic eggs have NOTHING to do with our precious risen Savior. All my children from the age of four and up can (and boldly do) tell strangers who ask them if the Easter Bunny gave them anything that, “Easter is NOT about bunnies! It’s about JESUS!”
Well said Mr. Steve. I really like the last paragraph. “Be at peace with yourself, and others decisions.” So many Christians today have trouble with that. We should respect others and how they choose to train their children. God gave us each that responsibility and He alone will judge that. I totally agree with your approach. Put Jesus first and let Him direct you.
I’m 11 and I’ve grown up not using eggs and baskets at Easter, not celebrating Halloween, and doing Christ-centered gifts at Christmas. There I whole-heartedly agree with you. But when you say, “Santa Claus has as much to do with Jesusâ€™ birth as an Easter bunny has to do with His resurrection,” there is a point where he is-but it’s a long story that goes back to a Christian saint called “Saint Nick”. I’m not saying that we believe in Santa Claus or anything related to that, but the story of Saint Nick is a very neat one.
By the way, thanks for this blog. I always look forward to the posts.
Enjoyed reading your comments. I grew up doing bunnies and baskets but our four children do not. I hadn’t given a lot of thought as to why we didn’t want our children to do that. To me it did seem to take away from the true meaning of Easter. My husband felt the same way so we’ll not be doing it. I’m glad to read your reasons which I agree with each one and I’ll print this out for us to keep as a family. I think it’s actually great devotional material for our family to use as we approach Easter next year – very thought provoking. Thanks again.
Amen! We chose from the start to never do Santa or bunnies and baskets; our children are now teens and neither they nor we have any regrets.
Thank you for such a thoughtful and well articulated response. I was particularly struck by the statement that,” Christianity is not a democracy…”. Each person is responsible for their choices before the Lord. Our choices should be indicative of what is God’s best for our family. I agree that so many are missing out on joyful, fruitful lives by just avoiding what is overtly sinful. Our children are grateful for the privilege of being raised with the hope of an incorruptible and eternal future with their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
AMEN! Our family too has made these same decisions and come under fire from even close family, but we continue to hold firm to what we believe. May God continue to bless your family and ministry as you teach and serve others.
Thank you Steve.
One thing we used to do when our son was little was to put a Lego Jesus in the tomb (the sandbox) on Good Friday. On Sunday we’d go outside to find him gone! My great-grandma used to bake Lamb shaped cakes every year.
My husband is not yet convicted in the area of baskets/eggs…and until he is we do the baskets the first week of Spring…moving it away from Resurrection Sunday. It is my deepest desire to eliminate them completely. We have never ever done easter bunny, santa, or tooth fairies…and we actually joking call it the “tooth bunny” ribbing the idea of both.
I will continue to pray that the Lord will influence my husband as he leads our family. I do not agree with his desire to do baskets/eggs, yet I must honor my husband. It is a difficult place to be.
Thank you very much for posting your response. I enjoy hearing from people who don’t paraphrase the scriptures. This may not exactly be the right way to handle our situation, but we don’t even go to church on Easter. The 3 churches that I had been to on Easter preached about Jesus and the Resurrection however the congregation was more interested in what everyone was wearing. I even had an older lady come up to me a scold me for not having a new dress. ” Don’t you know you are to dress in new clothes on Easter for God” I have many times been confused about why Christians pick and choose what they want to follow.
My cousin found a creative way to use eggs to teach the real meaning of Easter. She bought a bunch of those colored plastic eggs, the kind that open up and have room inside for treats. But instead of candy, she put slips of paper with a Bible verse inside each egg. Then she taught her son, who was about 5 at the time, how to do a presentation where each egg’s color represented a different part of the Easter story. The red egg represented the blood of Jesus, the blue egg represented the sorrow His followers felt after He was crucified, and so on. (This was over ten years ago, so I don’t remember exactly how many colors there were.) Then my little cousin would open the plastic egg and read an accompanying Bible verse. This was at a large family gathering, so he had quite an audience.
I don’t know if my cousin did bunnies and baskets. (She lives out of state.) I know she did Santa for awhile, but her kids stopped believing in that when they were very small. Some other families I know keep baskets or dishes of pastel-foiled candy around the house at this time of the year, but they don’t teach their kids that the Easter Bunny brought it; it’s just candy and the baskets are just decorations without any special meaning. So the kids do get to enjoy some treats, but it’s presented in a low-key kind of way.
Great post and explanation. My husband and I both also grew up in the worldly celebration of holidays and yes, there was some Christianity sprinkled in there somewhere. When we married and prayed about what we were to do with our own family, we both separately, yet clearly, heard God tell us to break from family traditions. It can be argued, “well look you guys did and are ok” – after all we are saved and living our best to serve God. But truthfully, we had to unpack a lot of conflicting belief systems to establish exactly what was actual Biblical truth. We prefer not to create that in the next generation. We have been lectured that we are depriving children. How are you deprived of a lie you never knew? We have even heard from family members that choose to do differently that we are child abusers for having not participated in Santa or Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy and the myriad of lies that children are misled to believe. Yet we all expect our children to always tell the truth. Hmmmm. We stood back and evaluated the effort put into these “harmless deceptions” and determined instead we would put at least if not more effort in teaching the biblical truth. As we shared with our family, they will not stand before God on our parenting, so we cannot let their best efforts of persuasion cause us to waver in our convictions. Thank you again for your post Steve, one thing that struck me – Nathan choosing the same with his daughters shows that he did not feel deprived or cheated by you choosing to lead them in truth rather than the common practice. It really comes down to do we want to be common Christians or the peculiar people that “Come Out from Among Them” that we are challenged to be? He gave up everything for me and I was so undeserving, there is no practice, no tradition, no entertainment, no material item that I am willing to hold onto when He calls me away from it. And as I say that – I seek daily to find His will because He continually shows me that which I can allow Him to refine in me still. God Bless!
My family enjoys spending the entire Easter weekend from Good Friday til Resurrection Sunday focusing on Christ……special communion on Friday evening. On Saturday evening, we enjoy making Resurrection Cookies!
When the kids wake up on Easter Sunday they run to open the oven and receive a cookie before breakfast! They get to enjoy a special treat while my husband reviews the scriptures w/them….
Very well written and thoughtful response. So many religious holidays are taken hostage by the commercialism and marketing of companies. What a wonderful idea to put some Bible verses into May Day baskets. The kids could write M’aidez and teach the nursing home folks a wonderful Bible verse. Blessings to you and your family.
AMEN! Thank you for sharing your convictions. We don’t do the Easter Bunny either. I don’t see the point of it, and yes, it truly has nothing to do with Christ’s Resurrection. When I was a child, Easter was all about the bunny and eggs. I don’t remember ever discussing Jesus, though we were church going folks. Sad. The more and more I grow in my walk, the more and more I see so much worldliness and idols in our world. I struggle with it daily (worldliness), but with Him, we can do what glorifies Him! It’s not an instantaneous thing, but with prayer and basking in His Word, we can become stronger each day. Take care!
It has taken me a few days to come back to respond to your pos as I feel so terribly unqualified. But, let me begin–I am so happy to read your response to the question on leaving bunnies and baskets out of Easter. Personally, the eggs hunts are certainly fun and I have fond memories of them as a child, and enjoyed doing them with my own children. However, my life with Jesus has changed dramatically and today I choose to not celebrate the commerialization part or acknowledge it in any way.
I remember when my boys were young and in swimming lessons at the Jewish Community Center and it was just before Christmas, and one of the other mothers in the swimming group commented to me that we must be getting excited for Christmas and referring to it as the biggest holiday in the Christian calendar. I recall giving her a quizical look and responding to her that in fact while Christmas was quite special, Easter was in the fact the biggest event in the Christian calendar. Reading your response to the questions made me remember this and brought a smile. He is Risen! He is risen indeed!!
Blessing, Mrs. Mari
Certainly, you and your family have the right to decide which holidays you celebrate and how. You should not have to justify your decision not to give children chocolate on a particular day. But I notice a judgmental tone to this post and your comments on the last one, which is not fair. Just as you have the right to adapt secular holidays such as Thanksgiving to incorporate your beliefs, others have the right to include Pagan or secular traditions in their celebration of Christian holidays. Respect is a two way street.
Also, the word you were looking for in your response to the May Day comment was “tract”. Although the thought of a May Day basket with a bit of railway sticking out of it is quite amusing 🙂
I wanted to make sure that the post didn’t sound judgmental and asked a number of people to read it first. That is something very important to me/us to avoid writing something with the appearance of an attitude. Obviously, I didn’t quite get there if you felt that. Always room to improve. Thank you.
Thank you on the spelling help. I’m sure I write it incorrectly every other time.
We do not lie to our daughter about Santa or they for fear that when she found out the truth she would not believe anything else we tell her. She however is interested in how things got started so we do discuss the Easter bunny, Santa clause and even the history of Halloween. I believe it’s ok for her to know how the things even got started in the first place.
I so appreciate how you (and your family) research and study the Word, and take a stand even when so few do. I totally agree with your stand on Easter. I do have to ask, however, how your family can celebrate the Christmas holidays at all. I know how you carefully study the Word and origins, and Christmas is 100% a pagan holiday. Jesus was not born at this time of year, if He was I could understand you celebrating Christmas much as we do Easter. But Biblical study shows Jesus to be born some time in the fall (perhaps the Day of Atonement.. although that is only speculation). Anyway, please understand how much I respect your family. It is only a question that I am interested in your answer. I know many people who understand the origins of the Christmas holiday and still choose to celebrate it December 25th, and frankly I find that confusing. It would be like celebrating Easter in July. Again, I ask with utmost respect for your family. Thank you for posting on this subject.
We have written one or more Corners on this subject if you are interested.
We had a lot of fun doing the EB and Santa and the Tooth Fairy as our kids were growing up (they are 12 and 9 now), but a few years ago, for the first time (I can be thick-skulled!), I realized that if we are telling lies to them about these fictional characters, what’s to stop them from thinking we are lying about anything else we teach them, you know? So, maybe Jesus is a lie, or maybe physics is a lie, or maybe math is a lie. So we came clean with the Santa/EB/TF gig and as much as the kids were disappointed (and as much as we explained why parents do it — because quite frankly, it’s fun!), it wasn’t truthful and there really is no such thing as magic. We do still do an egg hunt at Easter because the kids enjoy it, and we still hang stockings at Christmas because we enjoy surprising each other with gifts inside, but we all know it is nothing more than playful and we are able to separate that from the true meaning of each holiday.
Thank you for such a well-stated response!
What I really appreciate is that you do not dwell on the particular origins of certain practices. I’ve found that when this is done, it is far too easy for listeners to dismiss the argument against “traditional” observances. (“We still use pagan names for days of the week/months of the year…are you going to change those names too?”)
By focusing on our love for Jesus, our gratitude for His sacrifice, our rememberance of the beauty of a Saviour Who still cares for us when we are at our worst, that makes the issues of “tradition” take a back seat. It becomes obvious: of course our aim should be to please the Lord and celebrate our relationship with Him!
I see your point and am appreciative of this thoughtful response.
I also see, however, where it’s possible to have focus on both. I can see the flowers in your picture and still appreciate and see the out-of-focus beauty behind them. Personally, I think the eggs are a symbol of rebirth and the continuation of life. Surely that theme is compatible with the themes of Easter Sunday. To each his own.
Let each be convinced in their own mind. I appreciate the fact that even though we don’t agree you are able to be at peace.
Hello to the Maxwell’s,
Thank you for posting on such a controversial subject. When my family became Christians (I was 17 by then and the youngest sibling) we left all the traditions behind. It is admittedly a very difficult position to hold to. Now married and mother of 4 we still continue to disengage from the church traditions. We do not celebrate Christmas or Easter bunnies. We choose to celebrate Christ at Christmas by making gifts or baking for our neighbors along with a gospel letter and tracts ( I go the idea from you). At Easter we celebrate the Resurrection Sunday. We are the only ones within our assembly who hold this position. We find there is a lot of ignorance among many Christians.
I fully agree with you that we must by fully persuaded in our minds. Back up what you believe with Scripture. If we cannot back it up with scripture we need to look at what we are practicing. We should endeavor to know why we do what we do or believe. Thanks again. Your family is always an encouragement to us. God bless you all.
Amen! Now I won’t feel alone. My family look like strangers in this world. Our friends became less and less. Remember you are friend with the world, you will become the enemy of the God!
So refreshing. So beautifully expressed, and how thoughtfully you supported your ideas with Scripture. I plan to print and share with friends. So appreciated your ministry and am every grateful to the Lord for the work you continue to do and share!!
My husband and I appreciate that you are willing to seek God’s will in your lives, and to follow it boldly, regardless of what others may say or think. The world needs more like you!
We had the pleasure of meeting you and your family several years ago at one of your talks. Your family is an inspiration to us as we raise our 11 little ones. You may not fully realize it, but the things you are doing will bring blessings to many for generations to come. I know it is a lot of work, but keep it up as long as He wills, and your reward will be great.
I remember very clearly a day in the spring, I was around 3rd grade. My Mom asked me what was the real meaning of Easter and it took me a minute to remember! My family was faithful at church attendance and I was being reared in a Christian school, there was every reason for me to have Jesus fresh in my mind, but because of all the additives to the celebration I couldn’t remember!
I’m thankful my husband shares the conviction and our children don’t have opportunity to become confused, even for a moment!
My girls (who are 6 and 8 ) have never been told anything about bunnies or santa. They were the only children at church on Easter who did not have new clothing, but I honestly don’t think they even noticed!
Another odd thing–they handed out chocolate crosses. It seemed almost disrespectful to make something that was so terrible out of chocolate and to then eat it as a treat.
I enjoyed this post very much. I saw it, but we were preparing for the birth of our sixth baby and didn’t have time to respond. I wanted very much to share something about our Easter that was such a blessing this year.
My husband and I, like your family, and many of the above posters have chosen not to do Santa, and Halloween, and Easter bunnies, etc. When we struck out on this “weird” path, we knew we were doing what was right between ourselves and the Lord, but we didn’t know for sure how things would turn out. Would we bear the fruit we so desired?
This year, as Easter approached, the children drew pictures that said, “Jesus is the Light” or “Jesus is Risen!” and put them up on our pantries (our art gallery 🙂 ) and the wall. Jesus was the only person on their mind! Praise the Lord! This “weird” choice was bearing fruit and my husband and I didn’t have to spend time and energy explaining here’s the Easter Bunny and candy and basket and eggs, but it’s really about Jesus…I was so thankful to the Lord for that.
I came across this blog post while I was searching for some advice and wisdom on choosing which church to attend? (How to choose what is right for your family without compromising.)
Thank you for your family’s example.
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