This house is all about some seasonal decor. I’ve shared with you all our Halloween fun, and we have been working to create outdoor porch decor that fits each season. We even have a bit for Valentine’s and St. Patrick’s Day. The kids were eager to pull out Easter decorations after putting away all the green. Then they were disappointed by how little we actually have. Somewhere in my memory, we had multiple boxes of Easter fun to display. But in a time when I’m trying really hard to teach my kids the real reason behind holidays and celebrations, I find myself turned away even more by the thought of an egg-delivering bunny. Away to Pinterest I went for some inspiration, and I found some folks had created an Easter Garden. An idea was born.
When you search for Easter decorations on Pinterest, there’s a very strange mix of religious and bunny. The bunny decorations are cute, but as someone who is adamantly unhappy with that incorrect association, I couldn’t bring myself to add too much more to what we already have here in the house.
The religious ideas were meaningful, but there’s some fine line I can’t seem to describe between subtle and in-your-face Christian.
We have crosses and other Christian-based decorations in the house, but I don’t like to go overboard. At some point, that begins to feel fake. The Easter Garden, on the other hand, felt like a way we could do a few things at once. We could make a family craft, upcycle items in the house, and teach our children the very important story of Easter.
The materials we decided to use included absolutely nothing that we had to purchase. Everything was either in the house not being used, on the counter ready to be thrown away or recycled, or out in the yard.
First, I had the boys on a mission to find some sticks. We needed to make the crosses that Jesus and the thieves were on that fateful day. They loved going out on this mission, and they began asking questions right away.
Next, we gathered a couple of other items: a citronella candle that was broken, some black paint, a plastic plate that had been holding a plant, yarn, moss from the window garden I created, and a paper towel roll.
I cut the paper towel roll in to four pieces with the intention of creating a hill in the background. I painted the plate and the candle black. Then, we attached these items to the plate with hot glue.
Our crosses were simply made out of twigs and some yarn. I used purple yarn to symbolize the royalty of Jesus, and I used red yarn only to symbolize the blood and death of the day experienced by all three men on the crosses.
Putting it together
Next, we had to attach the crosses to the hill in the back. I used a hole punch to provide a spot for each of the center portions of the crosses. I still glued all around each hole to ensure that they’d stay straight up even if moved.
After we had the basic items placed, we began to add the moss. I was a little disheartened as we added the moss because I didn’t feel like we’d made the hill in the back big enough. Lots of times, I will have a vision for a craft only to find that it isn’t looking quite like I’d hoped. I forget, most of the time, that it’s the process and experience that really matters — especially when my goal is to create something with and for the kids. I had to put the garden to the side for the night to stop thinking about it.
I did peruse Pinterest again for a bit more inspiration and saw that many of the other Easter Gardens had used flowers and rocks to create more depth.
Rocks were easy to find as Diva had spread them throughout the house from a candle holder we had. I was happy to re-purpose those. The Flash helped me, and I was really proud of his little 4 year old hands working with (and never touching) the hot glue.
My mom had some wreaths she was dismantling, so we “borrowed” some of the flowers from those to add color. We even created a little flower crown to hang on the center cross to symbolize the crown of thorns and also the King.
In the end, I’m really proud of what we’ve created. The entire process allowed my kids and me to really talk about how much this season really is important to our faith and to understand more about what happened on the cross. I heard the conversations in preschool this morning, so I know they are learning in many different realms.
How do you teach the meanings of traditions and religious practices in your house?