How to Celebrate Easter as a Christian Family with Pizazz

“Mooooom! When is Easter again?” “Oooh, good question buddy, I have to check the calendar . . . “ Easter. As pivotal as the day is, it has a way of sneaking up on our family. First, unlike Christmas, Easter has no firm date. Secondly, March through April all three of our kids have birthdays. I’m betting we’re not the only ones dealing with this glossing over Easter struggle?! How to celebrate Easter as a Christian family with more intention but less stress? Let me pass on a couple tips!

Resurrection Sunday AND the weeks before . . .

Over the years, we’ve built the following activities to make Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection more than a one-day event. Christmas easily involves a full month of celebratory activities anticipating Jesus’ birth: Advent readings, household decorating and baking, giving to the less fortunate, gift giving and countless special events or parties. Then comes Easter. The red-headed step child of holiday celebrating?! No. Grr. I wanted a season of intentionality for our kids. Sure, Jesus’ death is somber but his resurrection and sacrifice gives reason to party and have some hands-on on fun!!

Enjoy! Resist the temptation to do “all the things” and start with one new tradition. Each year you can consider adding a new celebratory moment 😁😘

Visionary and Playful Easter Traditions for Your Family

1. Decorate your house EARLY with meaningful, visual reminders.

40 days before Easter—the beginning of Lent—can be a great time to provide eye candy that awakens curiosity. At minimum, take some items and display them where your family naturally gathers: dinner table or family. Don’t worry about decorating the whole house. Baby steps! The point is for objects to be seen everyday and nurture interest and wonder. You’ll find my own Easter Easter Décor Ideas for your Dining Table at the end of this post 🙂

PROTIP: Do your kids love Legos or strobe lights? Create full-dining table “Freedom Dioramas” celebrating God as our Rescuer.

Building the Empty Tomb Garden every year can be great for young kids, but as your children grow, spark new discussion and excitement around God’s grace. Encourage your kids to brainstorm other stories that celebrate His restoring power and go all in with one during the Lenten Season. Your visual could be:

  • Noah and the Ark–think LOTS of animal, big boat, rainbow etc.
  • Joseph forgiving his lost brothers–
  • The Red Sea parting (peppered with a couple cameos of Star Wars figures to stir up the imagination. lol!)
  • Rahab being rescued from the City of Jericho and a surrounding battle scene.

Last year, we bought 12′ blue and green tool fabric along with brown burlap to give our Red Sea a more 3D look. Our kids loved stashing characters between the “waves” and finding the perfect backyard rocks for Moses and the Hebrews to traverse across to the Promised Land.

2. Prepare one or two movie nights . . .

Allow your family to slow down and soak in the gift of Jesus’ death and resurrection before Sunday morning. I created a movie guide with discussion questions this year with flicks to fit toddler to high school attention spans. Enjoy! The guide includes a couple less traditional movie recommendations to challenge older kids from giving rote responses.

3. Scope out local passion plays or Easter concerts

The former band geek and thespian in me can’t help but mention this! I’ll admit some passion plays are better than others but it can be a great way to make this historical event come to life in a fresh way. ***If you have older kids, consider giving them a internet search challenge to find the best, oldest and largest Passion Plays in your region or your country depending on your travel wishes. America’s #1 Attended Outdoor Drama is located in Arkansas and Canada has a well-known outdoor passion play in Alberta. Outdoor Passion Plays aren’t always Easter time-frame sensitive. Outdoor performances happen during summer tourist seasons so plan ahead!

As for indoor retellings . . . We’ve attended The Thorn, which begins with an impressive visual narration (cue aerial acts and dramatic dance) of Creation and the Fall of Adam and Eve along some light-hearted moments peppered throughout the recount of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. It is now also available for live streaming.

4. Read together about the events of the last weeks of Jesus’ life in your Bible or an Easter devotional

The month before Easter, gather daily or weekly to recall Jesus’ life story while your kids stuff their cheeks with breakfast cereal (everyone is quiet😘😁) after dinner or as a bedtime story. Below are reading recommendations spanning toddler to high school student.

Read: Atomic Habits by James Clear! I’d love to say we’re amazing and super regular about family devotion time, but Clear’s advising about “habit stacking” has helped us gain momentum by. . .

  • Make the Habit Easy to Execute–in this case, put your devotional book in the place where you want to gather as a family and where your book won’t be moved IE. Imagine never again “Hey Honey!! Where’s that book we were going to read with the kids??!!
  • Connect your devotion time to an action you already regularly do together without fail such as eating breakfast, dropping kids off at school, blasting off to sports practice, watching Monday night football?? Then agree to adding the new devotion time to your set-action for example: “When I sit down to eat breakfast I will read our five-minute devotion before I sip my coffee” or “I will leave the house 10 minutes earlier for school drop-off so I can read our devotional in the school parking lot.”

My favorite Easter Devotions, Storybooks & resources

The Easter Storybook: 40 Bible Stories Showing Who Jesus by Laurie Richie

These are vivid one-page spotlights on events in Jesus’ life. Having lived in Israel, I love how most of the readings coherently add short insights about 4-6 BC Jewish culture that contemporary Christian families may not know. AKA “Ah-ha!” moments. I also appreciate the refreshingly vibrant illustrations and expressive character faces. Yes, Jesus had his somber moments, but he and his disciples also had personality!

‘Twas the Morning of Easter by Glenys Nellist

A picture book written in the same style as the classic poem “Twas the Night before Christmas”. Illustrations are done in a more modern liturgical fashion. If you’re a classical literature fan, this is your book!

The Jesus Storybook Bible

Author Sally Llyod-Jones provides a fresh tone and approach to explaining ideas like “sin” and “redemption”. While she re-tells short Bible stories, she weaves in repeated phrases like “God’s great rescue plan” to help kids see the overarching theme of God’s fierce love, righteousness and longing to bring his lost kids home. The chapter titles of Easter events help paint the picture:

  • Washed with Tears
  • The Servant King
  • A dark night in the garden
  • The sun stops shinning
  • God’s wonderful surprise
  • Going home

The Children’s Bible Books

While this series is no longer being printed consider acquiring them through Thriftbooks. Why? The detailed cartoon scenes will hold the interest of your preschooler and any closet fans of Where’s Waldo? (cough, cough) Each book has an animal narrator who coaches the reader with fun questions or actions for your kids to do as the story unfolds. For example, when Peter walks on water with Jesus, the narrator states “Climb out of your bed or off a chair like Peter climbed out of the boat. Now make a sound like a HUGE wind.” Additionally, each book has one 3-page-fold-out illustration highlighting a special section of the chosen Bible Story.

The Read with Me Bible

Illustrator Dennis Jones provide fresh cartoon work to the Easter story along NIrV text. Ideal for Pre-K heavy families, most of the Easter related stories are brief: 2 pages with short text. The Easter events are covered over about 40 pages:

  • Jesus Enters Jerusalem
  • Mary Pour Perfume
  • Jesus Washes the Disciples Feet
  • The Lord’s Supper
  • Jesus Prays in Gethsemane
  • Jesus is Arrested
  • Jesus Goes to Pilate
  • I Don’t Know Him (Peter’s denial)
  • Jesus Dies
  • Jesus is Buried
  • The Tomb is Empty
  • Jesus Appears to His Disciples
  • Jesus Goes up to Heaven

Cold-Case Christianity for Kids: Investigate Jesus with a Real Detective by J. Warner Wallace and Susie Wallace

This can be a great book for older elementary and middle school kids who are dealing with questions about validity of Jesus and his resurrection. Readers are junior detectives walking through eye witness accounts and analyze evidence. The comic-book-like illustrations peppered throughout the chapters also help readers stay engaged.

In the end, He has risen indeed-you can succeed!

Oh Easter how we love thee! Let me count the ways or recheck the days . . . or the eggs??! Hopefully the ideas discussed above and the chart below give you fresh ways to celebrate Easter as a Christian family. Cultivating anticipation for Easter’s story through home décor, movie parties, theatrical performances, family crafts and readings refresh THE cornerstone event of our faith.

And as always . . . I’ll be continually revising this resource with additional ideas and links to rock star bloggers who have stellar Easter celebration tips worth sharing.

Feel free to reach out and say hi. Share an Easter Tradition or two! The K Trail Community isn’t meant to add more to your to-do list. I’m creating a “Parenting Backpack” for you to pick and choose ideas for fun ways to parent, nurture faith and breath in God’s grace a little deeper!

Till next time . . . Tchuess!!

Easter Décor Ideas for your Dining Table

Palm Branches for Palm SundayJohn 12:13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!”
Red Sash hanging over a prominent doorMatthew 26:17+ Jesus celebrating Passover with his disciples
History of Passover from Old Testament Scriptures
Crown of thorns and oversized nailsJohn 19:2, Matthew 27:29
And after twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they knelt down before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”
Purple Cloth and DiceLuke 23:34 Jesus kept saying, “Father, forgive them, because they don’t know what they’re doing.” Then they divided his clothes among them by throwing dice.
Lamb Figurine or Stuffed AnimalJesus as our final Passover Lamb: “Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new batch, just as you are, still unleavened. For Christ our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed.” 1 Corinthians 5:7
Water Pitcher and Hand TowelJesus washing the feet the the disciples John 13:17
Garden Tomb in Flower Pot SaucerMaking this Garden Tomb with our kids for the past four years has really been a fav. We go on a rock hunt in our backyard for the small rocks to cover the hill side. The prized “BIG ONE”, is the rock that will cover the tomb entrance. Some years we plant grass seed on the hilltop, other years we use fake moss from Hobby Lobby. TheFrugalHomemaker has a How-to-build-a-garden-tomb guide.
Passover and/or Communion ElementsThis can be as simple as displaying a glass of wine and bread or presenting the Passover Seder plate with the traditional elements such as parsley, a shank bone, horseradish, charoset. If you’ve never celebrated Passover, consider this guide as a reference without feeling you have to do it all.
Perfume JarLuke 7:36-50
The Woman who Anointed Jesus from Bible has some great insights into the story about the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume

Again, apply what resonates with you and your current family’s stage and bandwidth. Celebrating Easter CAN be a great SEASON rather than just a one-day event. The earth shook when He died AND when He rose from the dead (See Matthew 27:51-53 and Matthew 28:1-2)! So liberally celebrate this status altering event as Christian family!

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