There are very few holidays that we actually celebrate around our house. Easter, Christmas and Thanksgiving are about the only ones that make the list. Of course we recognize Mother's day and Father's day, but I wouldn't classify those as "holidays." We try to recognize the holiness of the days we term "holidays." As such, there is no Santa at Christmas and no bunny at Easter. Feel free to judge me now and tell me how I'm depriving my children of lasting childhood memories and fun. It wouldn't be the first time I've heard it and I'm sure it won't be the last.
This approach creates some great teaching moments with our kids as we wander the aisles of Target. In the winter we talk a lot about why Santa is on every shelf and around every corner but doesn't come to our house (or any house for that matter). In the spring, we get to challenge our kids when they see the Easter displays and exclaim "Easter!" but don't see any items representing Jesus or the cross. "What do bunnies/ducks/chocolates/eggs have to do with Easter?" we often ask. Of the three, Jack is most able to reason this out, but the other ones are catching on. It's one of the ways we have to teach them discernment about the messages "the world" throws at them and helps develop their Biblical world view.
Of course, there are moments when it would just be easier to compromise. Wesley's preschool offered "bunny portraits" this year (there's a side story here about compromising values for money, but I'll save that for another day) and we opted out. I just don't see a reason to confuse the issue at age four. Now I thought "bunny portraits" meant pictures with a costumed-man against a basket-full backdrop. Imagine my surprise when we picked him up from school and we saw the adorable floppy-eared fuzzy bunnies (as in, actual bunnies) being loaded into the back of the photographer's car. Wesley calmly explained to the other two that some kids had their pictures taken with the bunnies that day, but "Mom wouldn't let me." Bring on the mother-guilt. In admittedly not one of my finest mothering moments, I blurted out that "Easter is NOT about bunnies and they are just a distraction from the real meaning, which is Jesus' death and resurrection." End of discussion. No teaching. Lecturing only.
Fast forward a few weeks when Wes is actually learning about Easter at school. He excitedly told me that they talked about Easter that day so I asked him what they did. "We played bunny-bunny-chick," was his reply (think duck-duck-gray duck). Sigh... Reminding myself that my frustration was with the curriculum and not my children (teachable moment here), I calmly asked, "What do bunnies and chicks have to do with Easter?" "I don't know," was his reply. Then Jack, who's obviously been listening, pipes up with, "Nothing. Satan just uses the Easter bunny to distract you from thinking about Jesus."
Yes he does, little one. Yes he does.