Saturday, April 3, 2010
The Easter Santa
One of the things I remember so fondly from my childhood was the fabulous Easter baskets my mother would put together for us. Of course there was the functional basket stuffers of socks or underwear in pretty shades of pink, purple, and sea foam green (my mother is nothing if not functional-minded), and a few small items, toys, or miniature stuffed animals. There was a fair amount of candy in those baskets, and while I loved them, one thing that was always missing was a solid chocolate Easter bunny. A few times I received a hollow chocolate Easter bunny which I didn’t discover until I had taken my first bite expecting some thick chocolaty resistance, only to have snapped off the entire head and was staring down into his empty neck. I asked once why I never got a solid chocolate bunny and mom said something to the effect of, “Because you don’t need that much chocolate and it’s crappy chocolate anyway.” She may not have said crappy but she surely implied it. She isn’t just functional; she’s also a bonafide good-chocolate snob. As a kid I resented this. As an adult I totally agree.
I’m one of those moms who love holidays such as this (yes of course because it’s a very important religious holiday for Christians everywhere) because of all the fun things I get to do for the kids. I enjoy the Easter basket filler shopping trip, planning a fun breakfast after church, and of course, stocking up on chocolate. As a newer mom, I loaded my kid’s baskets with cute pencils, bunny shaped erasers that don’t really erase, playdoh, silly putty, army men, notepads, bouncy balls, bubbles and the like. The first place I would stop is the Dollar Store and what I couldn’t find there I purchased at Target. My small children were so thrilled with their baskets, oohing and ahhing at all the small, plastic, Made In China accoutrements, and had a whiz-bang time playing and opening and eating their way through them.
And then they got older. And so did I. I’m not sure what year it was, but I realized that the day after Easter no one gave a rats-ass about the cute little toys the Easter Bunny brought them. Those balls, card sets, notepads, and erasers ended up on my floor, under their desk, in the hutch drawers, their laundry baskets and wedged between the couch cushions. A few weeks later, tired of trying to corral them all back to the correct child-owner, I simply started trashing the stuff. I could have saved myself a lot of time simply putting $100.00 in the garbage and not looking back. You know what? They never missed it. They didn’t notice the stuff was gone and they’ve never asked me about a missing toy.
I stopped buying the cheap junk one year and started buying each kid a spring outfit. This served two purposes: it provided them something for their baskets, and inevitably I hadn’t done the seasonal clothing switch, so it gave them something to wear while the weather was nice. (There’s no secret that I have a huge streak of my mother’s functionality.) While the kids were fine with this and didn’t miss the small stuff, it set the stage for Easter to now feel a little like Christmas, with them expecting bigger presents every year. This year my son asked if there was a chance that the “Easter Bunny” (as said in his air quotes) could bring him a new DS game. “This isn’t Christmas,” I retorted. “You don’t get big presents.” I’m pretty sure that the Easter Bunny song doesn’t go, “Here comes Peter Cotton Tail/hopping down the bunny trail/giving out big presents on the way.”
Well, up the boy grew and now he’s in a 10-12 and those clothes are not cheap. T-shirts and shorts were on sale at Kohls for….$19.00 each. Which is $38.00 for one outfit. The toddler clothes were $6 bucks each for tops or bottoms, and feeling like I should keep things monetarily equal, I walked away with three Capri pants and three interchangeable shirts. My oldest daughter’s clothes were also on sale for $8 bucks each piece, so she is getting two capri’s and two tops. Well, you can’t have cute spring outfits and run around in your winter boots, so I also scored two pairs of flip-flops for my oldest girl and a pair of Dora sandals that light up just like my baby’s face did when she saw them. I now had to find my son a pair of shoes and he doesn’t wear flip flops. I know this because the ones I bought him last year are still in his closet and in fabulous shape. He wears tennis shoes everyday and he’s needed new shoes for some time now. The last time I “fixed” them I super glued the rubber soles back to the shoe part and now (months later) they’ve come undone again. That and his toes have broken through the end. I found a pair of skater-type shoes, black of course with double laces, on sale for…..$40.00.
Now I’ve just spent $80.00 on one outfit and a pair of shoes for my son to go in his Easter basket after telling him that Easter isn’t a time for big presents. While he does need these items, he will never make the connection that I’m using Easter as an opportunity to provide him things I was going to get him anyway, and he’ll now anticipate more and bigger gifts each year. I’m thinking that I could have gotten off easy by purchasing him his one requested DS game and he would have been hippity-hoppity happy. This is one of those times when my functionality has bitten me in the bunny-tail. Thanks mom. Oh, and I didn’t get them a solid chocolate bunny either. My kids don’t need that much chocolate.