Eco-Friendly Living, Family

A sustainable Easter tradition (for “those” parents)

A sustainable Easter tradition by Sweet Madeleine

I sometimes struggle with the fact that I am, undeniably, ‘that’ parent. The one that is all, No plastic! No sugar! No electronics!

I stand behind these crazy beliefs 100%, but I also sometimes worry that all of that taken together might be shouting No fun, either! from an outsiders perspective.

On one hand, it kind of drives me nuts that plastic toys, refined sugar, and television have become synonymous with childhood – to the extent that you seem like some sort of villainous shrew if you dare deny them to your children – but on the other hand, they’re kids!

Whatever crazy business I have going on in my home, when Olive is at a birthday party or a playdate or a friends’ house, she gets to make her own choices. When in Rome, right? Eat cake! Take home your goody bag full of dollar store stuff! Watch movies! There are bigger things to worry about in life, and these things aren’t wrong, we’ve just decided that they’re not right for us. Making these sorts of arcane, arbitrary decisions is just one of the many joys of parenthood.

Nonetheless, when I was thinking about Easter a few weeks ago I was a bit flummoxed about how to celebrate with Olive. We’re not religious so emphasising the Christian aspect of the holiday didn’t jive. I didn’t want to buy a bunch of plastic eggs for her to find, but I also didn’t want to overload her with cheap chocolate, either. What’s a buzzkill parent to do?

I just sort of hit a wall, and then suddenly it was Easter weekend and I hadn’t resolved anything. I figured maybe we’d just skip it – go for a walk, have a nice breakfast – Easter? What’s Easter? Look! A puppy!

WELL. Thank god for family. My mom came to visit this weekend, as did my little sister and her boyfriend. They conspired with my sister-in-law to make Easter really special for Olive while still indulging the hippie preferences of her crazy mom.

I am sharing this with you because this is the best idea ever: They bought twenty-four little solid wood eggs and brought out a whole bag of paints and paintbrushes. Then, Saturday night we stayed up late clustered around our kitchen table each painting 4 little eggs, as well as a wooden box for them to be kept in.

A sustainable Easter tradition by Sweet Madeleine

Seeing the painting process each person chose to take was like a little personality test. Lizzie took hours to create intricate designs with all of Olive’s favourite things – birds, fish, etc. while her boyfriend made little people.

My sister-in-law Kate created whimsical designs with clouds and lions, and my mom supplied us with her trademark polka dots.

As for me, I couldn’t resist getting all design-y, and I made a colour dipped egg, a robin’s egg and one that looked just like an Olive – pimento and all.

A sustainable Easter tradition by Sweet Madeleine

We waited until my brother got home from rock climbing on Sunday afternoon, and then hid the eggs in really easy-to-find spots around the living room. We brought Olive upstairs and gave her a basket, and she caught on to the game really quickly- letting out a maniacal laugh each time she spotted a new egg. She had so much fun that we hid them again and did it twice.

A sustainable Easter tradition by Sweet Madeleine

I just can’t express how much I love this idea, and I am so, SO glad that my mom thought of it because I never would have (I’m really not creative with this sort of stuff.)

It’s fun, colourful, and kid-friendly. Best of all, it trades plastic and cheap chocolates for something handmade that will hold meaning for our family years to come, and be added to each year. We’ll always remember who made each egg and as Olive gets older she can decorate her own to add to the collection.


A sustainable Easter tradition by Sweet Madeleine

(I also went to the farmer’s market to get her a little bunny made of really good chocolate. I’m not a total monster!)

Hope you guys had a fabulous weekend whether you went to church, had an old-school egg hunt with those big eggs filled with goodies, or ate yourself into a delicious chocolate coma.

Happy Easter!

A sustainable Easter tradition by Sweet Madeleine

Edited to add: a few people have been asking where we got the eggs. My mom found them at an Etsy shop called Snuggly Monkey but I was thinking that smooth oval pebbles could work, too!

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  • Reply Carolyn April 21, 2014 at 12:31 AM

    Flippin love this idea!!!

  • Reply Lindsay April 21, 2014 at 3:33 AM

    Totally stealing this idea for next year!

  • Reply Eryn Harding April 21, 2014 at 4:10 AM

    That is a FANTASTIC idea! We are ‘hippie’ parents and couldn’ figure out what to do either.

    Definitely doing this next year…or this year? He doesn’t know Easter has come and gone right? Haha 🙂

  • Reply Serene Criticism April 21, 2014 at 4:27 AM

    Saw this on your facebook and SO glad you wrote a longer post. I also blogged yesterday about my effort to hand down some tradition by hand painting wooden baskets for my family to match the wooden basket my grandmother gave me when I was very small. These items are meaningful because they are made with love and kept for many years, but also are (hippie bonus!) durable! Not plastic! I love the wooden egg idea and will be borrowing that idea for my girls now that they have wooden baskets 🙂

  • Reply Jenny Somerville April 21, 2014 at 7:25 AM

    Such a wonderful idea!! I’m totally stealing it for next year!! Happy Easter 🙂

  • Reply Vanessa April 21, 2014 at 8:15 AM

    Great idea! I’m definitely going to do this for next year when my daughter is older. She’s only 9 months right now, so we escaped with not having any eggs yesterday.

  • Reply KT April 21, 2014 at 8:16 AM

    If you eat eggs, then for next year you could add cascarones to your Easter projects! They are confetti filled egg shells, very fun for kids to help make. Just save some egg shells for a couple of weeks! And you can find beautiful natural plant dye ideas for coloring eggs. Easter could help your babe understand that spring is here, we like to hang a big branch from the ceiling over the table and decorate it, with blown colored eggs and tissue paper butterflies, etc. Good spring projects for littles and the branch decor just changes as the seasons change 🙂

  • Reply Edith the Merry April 21, 2014 at 10:28 AM

    This is BRILLIANT!! We had the exact same Easter conundrum… but now I am so excited about next year!

  • Reply Penny April 21, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    That is a lovely idea. We do a similar thing at Christmas. We have 10th mini Santa decorations that we put in random places around the house for our guests to find. Can’t wait for our little one to join in.
    Also, making Easter bonnets is something kids enjoy. Is that something you do in Canada or just an English thing?

  • Reply ERF Mama April 21, 2014 at 2:52 PM

    How wonderful!! I am SO buying such small eggs for next year! I’m desperatly trying to get rid of plastic (especially toys…omg) and go for more wood, but I find it really hard. 🙁 Do you know any good (and affordable) places to buy childrens toys of wood?

    I absolutely love the little egg shaped box as well, any idea where I can get something like that? 🙂

  • Reply knightlizard April 21, 2014 at 4:35 PM

    Very cool idea. Love the indoor keepsake option!

    We are totally “those” parents, too, right down to the when-in-Rome clause.

    We haven’t done much in previous years. This year, my dad’s fiancée had her granddaughter and my kids over the day before to decorate hard boiled eggs, so we hid them in the backyard for them to find. My son (2yrs) found just one and scorned the rest of the hunt in favor of peeling and eating it right away, including some of the shell, eew, and my daughter (4yrs) loved hunting and eventually found the other nine eggs.

  • Reply aneasyworld April 22, 2014 at 12:13 PM

    Oh, I LOVE it. We are total monsters and the mancub is totally choc free, so I thought i was being very generous with his little plastic eggs filled with treasures, but perhaps next year I will switch them for wooden ones to find and a big cardboard one stuffed with a few little gifts. Love it.

  • Reply AlisonB April 26, 2014 at 5:43 PM

    What size did you guys get? 2in or the smaller ones? I lOVE this. I will send a couple to relatives that are far away to paint and send back so we can think of them year after year even though they are not present.

  • Reply Creating An Eco-Friendly Easter – Sweet Madeleine March 9, 2015 at 8:44 AM

    […] my family saved me, and I wrote about the sustainable easter-egg tradition we came up with because I was so in love with it. It turns out you were too, and so many of you […]

  • Reply Boo - Sweet Madeleine November 2, 2015 at 12:40 AM

    […] our kids to have fun. So do I. It’s why we do it, right? But I can tell you, as someone who paints wooden eggs for her to find on Easter instead of chocolate, and says no gifts at her birthday party, and asks […]

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