Apparently Chocolate free easter is not only a thing, but very trendy! Even in the provincial pulpits of Plymouth people are talking about giving up the sugar, not just for Lent, but for the whole celebration!
The National Trust have announced they are no longer partnering with Cadbury's and want to remove the link between an 'unhealthy association' with Easter and focus more on the outdoors. Of course for people with special dietary requirements a sugar-free easter has long been a necessary reality and my comments here are not aimed at that group at all.
However the pressure being placed on the rest of us to 'conform' to the trend of not celebrating Easter with the traditional chocolate has got me on my proverbial soapbox this week!
Mainly...because of this:
Nearly all these chocolate free easter novelties I found suggested online (cough cough Pinterest I'm looking at you) seem to feature lots of these 'pound-shop-tat' items.
I just cannot understand how people who abandon chocolate for health reasons then plunk for something as unethical as the mass-produced single-use plastic toys as an alternative. You know the stuff I mean...typically comes out of a party bag, a Happy Meal or a Kinder Egg and is typically barely entertaining, easily broken, imported plastic stuff which blights my life a parent. You can also guarantee that whenever it goes near a bin the said child will re-discover un-dying love for this item, meaning it cannot be allowed to be binned during waking hours!
Parking the eco-argument for a moment (which is BIG bit of parking!) the idea of going out and buying more of that stuff and willingly giving it to my son makes me shudder! We need to find a middle-ground here between health and ethics.
Due to the premise of an egg hunt having lots of 'little' items then a big' loot' at the end there are loads of durable chocolate-free options to choose from. Such as lego pieces or small sets of lego leading to a bigger item at the end. Perhaps items of clothing or accessories for a doll at the end. Or make it experience led by having the kids collect items for a family 'experience' at the end - collecting buckets, spades and flip flops before heading for a beach trip or wellies, magnifying glasses and jars before heading out in the woods for a mini-beast hunt.
These ideas may sound much more wholesome but either require a lot more money, or a lot more work, or both. The former are also a lot more materialistic and I'm wary of turning Easter in to another gift giving festival. Just like the gift advent calendars we can now get at Christmas, these non-chocolate versions cost considerably more than their unhealthy counterparts which can often be picked up for just £1 or £2. The latter seem to me the start of the slippery slope which puts a lot of emotional pressure on parents to 'perform' like we have at Christmas. I absolutely do not want to see the equivalent of the rewarding, but often daily grind of Elf on the Shelf coming to easter!
So because we don't have the time and/or the money for a meaningful sugar-free alternative but feel the 'no-chocolate for Easter' pressure we resort to the plastic tat as described above. It just seems to me that this isn't progress from the humble chocolate quest; this isn't making lives better.
The simple truth is that chocolate and sweets are relatively cheap, plentiful and adored by children (and this adult!). Yes they are unhealthy, but this is a special celebration once a year. Easter isn't a habit, it is a break from the constraints of normality. The joy IS breaking the rules and having a little more of what we know we shouldn't.
The exception proves the rule; because your kids know this isn't allowed so it is even more enjoyable; so just relax and let us enjoy it!
Do you agree with me? Do you want to make the case for 'chocolate-free easter'? Let me know in the comments!