This article was previously published on ldsmag.com. It has been republished here, with permission.
"Did the Easter Bunny come to your house today?" the young boy asked me right before our neighborhood Easter egg hunt some years ago. "He came to our house today. He always comes to our house the day before Easter."
The little boy's statement made me think of something I had never thought before. If Easter is about Christ, would it not be a good idea to schedule the Easter Bunny's visit a day early?
Hmmm. I had many friends who didn't believe in doing the Easter Bunny thing at all because of the distraction from the spiritual side of Easter.
When I first became a parent, I weighed my options heavily - bunny or no bunny. I had been raised waking up on Easter Sunday to a basket full of fun surprises. We decorated eggs and talked about the real meaning of Easter Sunday, but the Easter Bunny was a highlight of the day, for sure.
I remember trying to smuggle candy into church, all the adults trying to remind us that Easter wasn't really about eggs and bunnies - that Easter was about the Savior and his great love for us. And I loved that story, but I also loved the Easter Bunny.
As I planned the first few Easter Sundays as a young mother, I remember wondering if I should choose to emphasize the Easter Bunny or if I should just choose to omit the secular tradition altogether and keep the special holiday focused only on the Savior.
I decided that I would make the day about the Savior, talking mostly about his gifts to us, but that my family would do the cultural things like dye eggs. I deliberately downplayed the bunny but kept him around.
Not until my oldest child was 4 years old did I consider the idea of having a separate Easter Bunny day from Easter Sunday.
This idea seemed perfect to me. I immediately told my family that the Easter Bunny would be visiting on Saturday instead of Sunday. Following the Easter surprises Saturday morning, we'd have a whole day dedicated to family fun, leaving Easter Sunday as a day set apart to fill with love for our Savior, with gratitude for his Easter gifts to us - the great Atonement and resurrection.
Never was there a Peck family Easter like that first Easter Sunday we dedicated only to the Savior. We played and hunted eggs the day before, meeting with friends on Saturday and honoring Sunday as a sacred day.
Sure, we still have Easter dinner and visit grandparents on Easter Sunday, but there's a whole new tone to the special day.
As an alternative way to find balance between the sacred and secular, try this new tradition this year. If it works for your family like it did for ours, you'll have great new Easter memories awaiting you.