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Growing up as a church choir directors kid and an organists grandkid, Easter morning came early. So early, in fact, that the Easter bunny put our Easter baskets right in our car seats! Genius, right?? Then after a morning of Easter services, we went straight to my grandparents’ home for dinner. Grandma would prepare cloverleaf rolls, a big ham, cheesy hashbrown potatoes, and a cake shaped like a bunny. Her beautifully set table even had a little cup of jellybeans at each place setting, ready for the grandchildren to keep up their sugar rush.
My grandma and I were kindred spirits, in so many ways – some that I’m still discovering now, even nine years after her death – and we were close as could be. She taught me the beauty of grace, and a quiet but bold love of the Lord. She taught me how to make mashed potatoes and that a beautifully set table (even on a regular old Tuesday) is a blessing for you and your guests. She let me help cook right alongside her, even on Easter Sunday. And my grandma taught me the art of thoughtful gift giving.
Christmas, birthdays and Easter brought gifts from my grandparents that let us (their grandchildren) know they were thinking of US. Nothing generic, each present was chosen specifically for each grandchild. Many of the treasures they gave are still in my home today, all these years later, as a reminder of their thoughtful expressions of love.
When we give gifts (especially as a grandparent to a grandchild) we have the chance to bless even more deeply than the thrill of having something fun to unwrap. We have the chance to let the recipient know that we know them. And we have the chance to pass on eternal truths about the Lord’s love, even via the gifts that make their way into a plastic grass-filled Easter basket.
I’m not a grandparent – my kids are 5, 2 and 1 – but I have had the chance to be deeply loved by grandparents, and now to see my children love and be loved by theirs. Both are a gift I treasure deeply, so from that perspective, here are a few of my favorite Easter basket and activity ideas:
* Grab a few potatoes and some paint and make Easter egg art with your grandkids! They’ll have fun and treasure the memory of crafting with you. Simply cut a large potato in half the long way, then press into a paper towel to absorb the moisture. You can leave them as is, or get fancy and cut shapes (lines, circles, etc.) into the potato. Be careful, as the potatoes can still be slippery! Dry them off again after cutting shapes. Then hand them over to your grandchild, and - using it as a stamp – dip the cut side in paint, and press onto paper for fun Easter egg looks.
* Make Resurrection Rolls together! The story of Jesus’ death and resurrection will be imprinted on their hearts as they experience it in a new, simple way. And bonus: the rolls are delicious and easy to make. There are lots of recipes online, but the basic instructions are to wrap a large marshmallow with a triangle of crescent roll dough. Make sure to seal the sides well. Bake in a 400 degree oven about 15 minutes. Let cool, and when you bite in, the ‘tomb’ will be empty!
* Use plain butcher paper as a tablecloth, and include crayons and these stickers in the kids’ place settings. Dinner will be even more fun (and maybe even a little quieter!) as they decorate their place at the table.
* If you’re heading to Easter Sunday worship with your grandchildren, put a few activity booklets in your purse to pull out during the service. These are a favorite of my kids! They love coloring and using the stickers, they’re quiet and busy during the longer parts of the service, and they’re still in worship AND learning about Easter. Win, win, win.
* A beautiful bracelet for a little girl who loves fancy jewelry, a sweet book for a young reader, and a first Bible for the littlest ones – these are all fun, personal and meaningful gifts to include in an Easter basket.
Whatever gifts you give, whatever you decide to make for dinner, and however your Easter Sunday goes… don’t miss the chance to give thanks to God for the gift of your grandchildren (and grandchildren, for your grandparents!) That could be the best gift of all – letting your loved ones know how thankful you are to the God that created them, died for them, and returned for them. Take a moment to send an Easter Ecard to friends and family, and let the promise and hope of the Easter season fill your heart.
For more inspiration, check out our entire collection of Easter-related articles and devotionals.
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