Teen Approved Easter Traditions (meaningful and completely silly)

Too old to search for Easter eggs? Not a chance. As my daughter-in-law says, “Searching for your chocolate increases your enjoyment of eating it by 99%.”

Regardless of age, all our kids hunt for their candy until they have kids of their own. And then, as we know, 99% of the enjoyment comes from stealing your kids’ candy.

Easter can be just as fun and more meaningful for older kids and teens. Let me share our assortment of meaningful and silly traditions.

First, if you are looking for daily readings during Easter week, head over to Wild and Precious and download my friend Catherine’s printable guide to Holy Week. It’s simple and doable and perfect for all Christian denominations.

Now let’s talk Peeps.

Personally, I like eating Peeps (especially after they’ve sat out for a day and gotten a little crispy) but their entertainment value extends FAR beyond eating.

  1. Prank your friends. In this age of coronavirus, teens are looking for a way to connect with their friends. Grab a few packages of Peeps and some toothpicks and decorate your friends lawn.
  2. Or just decorate your own lawn and flower pots and watch everyone smile as they walk by.
  3. Peep wars. These work best with the chicks. Place a toothpick in each Peep, put them in the microwave for 30 seconds and watch the war.
  4. Stop motion videos. Seriously– Peeps are so sticky and so versatile. Your creative teen will come up with something amazing.

One of our favorite traditions comes from Italy. Several years ago, when my oldest son was in Italy for two years we were trying to find a way to connect with him. He told us all the old Italian women put out lanterns the night before Easter and sang a hymn to signify their hope in the resurrection of Christ, the Light of the World.

These could not be easier to make. Simply find a small jar (we use yogurt jars, jam jars, small condiment jars). Place a small candle in the bottom, wrap floral wire around the neck to create a hanger and add ribbons if you like. We use the same jars every year.

We also take plastic egs, add a piece of twine and attach them to the tree for even more Easter beauty. These are inspired by German Easter trees. Here’s a particularly impressive one from Saalfeld, Germany.

German pensioner Volker Kraft uses a step ladder as he decorates an apple tree with Easter eggs in the garden of his summerhouse, in the eastern German town of Saalfeld. Each year since 1965 Volker and his wife Christa spend up to two weeks decorating the tree with their collection of 10,000 colorful hand-painted Easter eggs in time for Easter celebrations. (Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)

Yeah, we’re not that ambitious, but it’s fun to look at. No one around here loves hard boiled eggs (especially after they’ve sat in the dirt half the day) so we blow out eggs, dye them and keep them year after year.

We’ve purchased, the confetti eggs at the store, but I’m not gonna lie. Those usually cause fights.

On Sunday morning, we have the beloved candy hunt. Unwrapped candy and Lindt chocolate in the house, Kit Kats, Reeses and Twix outside. Why buy anything else?

After the hunt, Communist Bunny comes out and evens up the haul. They fight the most over the Lindt carrots.

Then the trading begins– Mary bargains pretty fiercely, but in the end, she gives everything away.

Dinner is always something healthy, with popovers to remind us of the empty tomb and chocolate covered bunny cake just for fun.

Perfect Popovers (makes 24– trust me, that’s barely enough)

9 tablespoons melted butter, divided

6 eggs

3 cups milk, warmed for 30 seconds on the stove (should be lukewarm to warm)

3 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon kosher salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Using a pastry brush, coat 24 muffin cups with 3 tablespoons of the melted butter and put the tin in the oven for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the eggs in a blender until light yellow. Add the warmed milk and blend. Add the flour, salt and remaining melted butter, and blend until smooth. Pour the batter into the warmed muffin tin and return it to the oven to bake until golden, about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve warm.

In the evening, we play Kubb in the backyard. It’s a Swedish block throwing game that we pull out every Easter and it stays out for the rest of the summer. You can find a set on Amazon. I don’t know why it’s our Easter game– it’s wild and fun, yet civilized enough for a Sunday night.

May your Easter be filled with love and light and laughter with the people you love.

all my lambs gathered home

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It was Ben’s idea,

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to hang our Easter lights in the front yard rather than the back,

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to greet my sister’s family as they drove in from San Diego Saturday night.

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And so, we began our holiday at sunset, speaking of the light and hope of Christ entering the world on Easter morning.

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The moment when they stepped from the car and my children rushed forward might have been a good photo, but my arms were busy hugging people big and small.

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Welcome beautiful ones.

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I’d known for several days Easter morning would require careful planning. We needed to feed our two families, get ready for church at 11 a.m., hold an Easter egg hunt and prepare food for friends stopping by after Ben’s talk about his mission in church. And most importantly (for me)– accomplish all this without impatience or snapping at anyone.

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Someone did scold Mary for walking across the counter, but at least it wasn’t me. And isn’t she cute?

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Our last Easter hunt together was in 2001, before half these kids were born.

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John was still collecting jellybeans when Mary and Zoe set up the Easter candy trading post.

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sorting the loot

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creating the leaning tower of Peeps

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At church, Ben spoke beautifully on the healing power of the atonement. After, we filled the house with friends and food and laughter.

So much food. Unbelievable amounts of pasta and fruit, salads and rolls and tiramisu. All the Italian missionaries helped with cooking tips and organization. We were so grateful and humbled by the many many friends who came by all through the day and into the evening.

Days like these give us a glimpse of heaven– our favorite people gathered round, abundance and laughter, hugs and cheek kisses offered freely, love so tangible you want to bottle it, box it, store it in your heart for a cloudy day.

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When the Linkous’ arrived at dusk Ben said, “Someone run to the car and grab me a baby.”

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We are baby obsessed at our house.

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crazy flag parade

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Lizzy the Bunny Killer

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the day came full circle as we lit the lanterns once again, spoke of Christ

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and held tightly to Hope

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almost everyone home + Easter + General Conference = the best weekend of the year

General Conference always feels like one of the signposts of the year and of my kids’ lives. We always talk about where we were last conference six months ago, or last year. We track how many conferences until our missionary comes home, we look at old photos and see how everyone has grown.

This year, not only did Conference and Easter fall on the same weekend, but we were lucky enough to have Stefan, Heather, Hans and Lizzy here every minute and Ben and Sammie most of the time. We were only missing Xander and he’s exactly where he needs to be. Spring Break fell the same weekend, so our neighborhood cleared out and we wandered the empty streets feeling like the only people in the world.

EASTER CONFERENCE 2018 from Michelle Lehnardt on Vimeo.