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Easter Isn't Christmas - Slow Down With the Gifts

04/18/2014 11:54 EDT | Updated 02/21/2017 04:57 EST

So, this is what my seven-year-old asked the Easter Bunny to bring her this weekend: Julie Albright, a $110 US "historical 1970s" doll from American Girl.

Cue a small explosion in my brain.

"The Easter Bunny does not have a workshop with elves who make toys. The Easter Bunny brings chocolate only," I told her.

"You could give it to me," she replied.

"I'm not getting you a $110 doll for Easter," I said in a firm 'I'm nipping this in the bud' tone.

Since when did Easter become Christmas? Whatever happened to kids getting a skipping rope or a hula hoop or a bottle of bubbles? What's the deal with these suped-up holidays?

Valentine's Day has turned into a second Halloween now that many kids are attaching candy to their cards. My girls came home with a large bag of candy each that day. I don't want to sound like a holiday killjoy, but why do kids need to come home from birthday parties with an entire bag of candy when they've just had cake and other treats? Do they really need treat-filled Halloween parties at school on the same day they go out trick or treating for a load of candy?

It. Is. Just. Too. Much.

It wasn't always this way. My oldest was shocked to discover that all Laura Ingalls got for Christmas one year was a rag doll, an orange, a piece of candy and some socks. My daughters' eyes pop out of their heads when their Granny tells them that when she was a little girl, Santa brought an apple, an orange and one toy for each child in her large family. I'm reading Beverly Cleary's Emily's Runaway Imagination to my youngest. Emily has her cousin over for a sleepover, and the highlight of their evening is eating a banana each.

"They're excited over a banana?" my youngest asked.

"Yep," I said. "That was a big treat in those days. My dad grew up in the Depression and his big treat was eating prunes for dessert twice per week."

She gaped at me, her eyes big.

I'm not advocating a return to prunes for dessert (unless you really like them!), but holidays have just become so excessive. How many toys and sweets do kids need?

It's hard to break the cycle though. The ends of my girls' beds are piled with stuffies, yet that didn't stop me from buying them a cute stuffed puppy each for Valentine's Day. I found myself at the store last weekend shopping for Easter gifts; I started putting items into my cart -- Silly Putty, small stuffies, hair clips.

Then I just stopped and thought, you know, this is not the best way to show my love for my daughters and to celebrate this holiday. They need my time, not junky toys that will bring a momentary smile to their faces. I returned the items to the shelves and left.

The Easter Bunny will come, of course, and bring some treats, and we will spend lots of time together as a family and with the people we love. My girls may also find a hula hoop or a bottle of bubbles next to their chocolate, and you know what? That's enough. That's more than enough.

Happy Easter everyone!

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