Holidays · Traditions

Holy Week 2018: How We Celebrated a Christ-centered Easter

Here’s the recap of our first year doing a whole week of Christ-centered Easter activities — it’s been lovely and I wanted to share some memories and also give you an idea of how some of the activities looked!

As I mentioned before, we had our cards on display all week and they mostly guided my personal scripture study, as well as helping to illustrate stories and just keep a reminder of Christ in our home all week. I loved having them up (in fact, I have yet to take them down because the plague descended upon the whole family as soon as our guests left…) and it was sweet how Adelina recognized scenes and liked looking at the pictures.

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Palm Sunday ended up being a little busy because we had church all morning and were invited to dinner that evening! So we took a little time during the afternoon to watch the Bible video of Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem and discuss what happened that day, and then ended up doing our Palm Sunday activity on Monday.

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As we were cutting and gluing (OK, I did most of the cutting, ha!) we discussed what the word “Hosannah” means and how excited people were to finally see Jesus. I read our daughter the story of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem from the illustrated New Testament Stories book too.

As a side note, what worked well for us in making these palm leaves was to cut out a long stem from a cereal box (we glued together two pieces for sturdiness and so we wouldn’t see the cereal box stuff, ha) and then cutting green construction paper to glue on. See my super professional guide below… HA.

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Basically cut a sheet in half lengthwise, then make a shape that gets thinner at the top (the rough outline of your palm leaf) and zig zag cut down the side to get your individual spiky leaves. Then glue them on starting a third of the way from your base! You could get fancy and do both sides if you want, but we were happy with our results. We actually ended up displaying ours on the wall in the dining room!

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We also watched Jesus Cleanses the Temple later that day and talked about holy places. My goal of attending the temple monthly this past year has given our kids (OK, mostly our eldest!) a little bit of a frame of reference for what the temple is — it’s that special place mom (and dad too usually!) goes and we travel to go there, and they know it’s important and sacred.

On Tuesday for FHE (my husband has late meetings every other Monday, so we adapted!) we planned to “egg” someone’s home usingthis lovely idea and printable, but we ended up doing it Wednesday, just me and Adelina. She thought it was great fun, and we were nearly foiled when I dropped some of the eggs and one cracked! But we made it and it was a blast.

My husband’s parents arrived Tuesday evening and that was exciting because Adelina had been counting down the days until they came for Easter with a paper chain, but of course they didn’t just arrive on Easter so it was a fun surprise for the kids 🙂

On Wednesday, we dyed eggs!

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We tried our best to get a good, deep red for that first one — in Eastern Orthodox countries it’s tradition to make the first egg red to represent the blood of Christ. We talked briefly about that and then I just let her have fun mixing and dipping. Egg-dying is a lot of fun for this girl, and she got to do it with Omi too!

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Then on Thursday we cleaned the house together (sort of, ha!) in preparation for our sort-of-Passover dinner. Really it was just a sort of Jerusalem-style meal (someday I’d love to do a true Passover but I think I’ll wait until our kids can actually understand), the important element being the flatbread since just before we watched a bible video on the Last Supper. (Also tzatziki sauce sounded really good so I made that to go with. It was a really yummy meal actually!)

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We also lit candles, just like they would’ve had in Christ’s day. Adelina loved helping carry them very carefully to the table as I lit them.

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And Jonas would point at them and I’d bring one before him, and he’d go “ooooh!” each time, it was so cute. He was mesmerized! He also helped blow them out, with his sweet little blowing lips ❤

On Friday we opened our Resurrection Eggs (here are similar ones), which tell the story of Easter through little objects. I wish I had remembered to take a picture! It was interesting. I’ve been a little nervous to discuss crucifixion with our three-year-old… for obvious reasons. Talking about death and resurrection is intense enough without having to describe a barbaric form of ancient torture. She already had a fascination with a painting of Christ being laid in the tomb, and especially the visible wound in his side… I didn’t want to traumatize her either! How much do we really say other than “Jesus died, bad people killed Him and put Him on the cross?”

Well, not much more than that, in our case. We had watched a lot of bible videos as part of our Holy Week but I decided against watching the death of Christ one because honestly, it’s just too much. So opening up the eggs and telling the story with little objects actually worked quite nicely. One of them has a piece of red cloth, like the robe the soldiers made for Jesus, another has a nail — I didn’t go into great detail other than “they put this in his hands” and let her feel the point — then we moved on. But in pictures of His resurrection he clearly shows and tells people to touch the wounds in his hands, so we talked more about that — how He was wounded for us and remembers us always because we are “graven in the palm of [His] hands.” It was enough and she wanted to “play the egg game” more times throughout the weekend too…

I think we managed to find the balance between telling the story of Easter without too much gory detail, and she showed some sadness at the death and pain of Christ, but we always followed it with the joy and excitement of the Resurrection and I think she understood on some small level.

We also picked up some beautiful tulips because I wanted some more color and spring in our home! These were just perfect and made me happy every time I glanced over.

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Saturday was the “fun” Easter day, we did our egg hunt (don’t be fooled by the remaining snow — it’s finally gone now!! — it was actually quite warm and pleasant that morning, although my in-laws from much farther south weren’t convinced, ha!). Andrew’s parents had brought a fun surprise of their own too, a big bucket of fun beach/water toys. We’re nowhere close to heading out to Bear Lake but it’ll be so fun to have, and in the meantime the kids love using those toys in the bath!

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This year happened to be General Conference, so on Saturday after our egg hunt and some really yummy orange rolls that I forgot to get a shot of, we just relaxed and watched conference. And it was SO GOOD. The talks were amazing and the new changes to certain programs are SO exciting. Not to mention the announcement of an LDS Temple in Russia?!?! It’s thrilling! Russia has been a pretty tough place for missionary work, recently the government basically banned a lot of religious activities, but the members there are strong and I’m so happy for them that they’ll have the blessing of a temple in their own land ❤

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The kids had fun just playing in the living room and I tried to plan a few fun activities for them too. Adelina’s still a bit young but we had success with a few general conference activities and there are so many other cool ideas online!

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It helped that I had done some prep work, I cut out and laminated all the general authorities and auxiliary leaders from a former conference ensign so she could pick speakers out and stick them on these cards for each session, it was fun. (I kind of want to get my own laminator at home… ha) Of course there were still whiny moments and meltdowns — four sessions of two-hour conference talks is a lot for little kids, even if it’s just having to share their parents’ attention! — but we made it and I was able to get a lot out of this conference — especially in terms of what I needed to know and implement. I look forward to going back and studying my notes and those talks again!

On Sunday the kids woke up to me blasting the Hallelujah chorus, it was awesome! (Ok they were already awake and stirring, but I’m pretty sure it woke up Andrew, ha!) Have you seen this version? So cool that it was done with a real choir AND a virtual choir! And that chorus is just perfection, it never fails to hit right to the core.

We ate some yummy orange rolls and the kids got their Easter baskets (we repurposed the beach bucket for Jonas ha) that held some new Sunday clothes, a few treats and some little books/church activities. We also watched the resurrection bible video and a few other little clips while we were getting ready for conference. Adelina kept wanting more, and sure, she was probably just being a stalling toddler (ha!) but I know she felt some of the joy and gladness of the Savior’s resurrection too. I’m so grateful for the sweet spirit in our home throughout this beautiful week — a perfectly imperfect one.

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She insisted on putting on her new dress, even though we were just staying home to watch conference. She wasn’t so thrilled about taking a picture with me though, ha!

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She had fun helping make the “Resurrection Rolls” too — I cheated on this one: a tube of Cinnabon rolls from the grocery store and a bag of marshmallows and we were good to go. They turned out pretty good! I still prefer actual rolls though, but for a quick and easy breakfast roll these turned out not bad at all. Forgot to get a picture though…

Then we watched the rest of conference and my in-laws had to get going 😦 but my sisters and brother-in-law arrived in time for Easter dinner!

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(Rule #1 of group selfies: don’t be the one taking it, or your face will look weird. Also, being tall is an inconvenience in these circumstances… Ha, poor Andrew. Oh well!)

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My sisters being silly… anyway, there you have it: a beautiful end to a wonderful week, and I’m so grateful that this year I took (and had) time to really prepare and put some thought into how we celebrated this beautiful holiday.

This Holy Week we learned so much about Jesus Christ and His incomparable mission — and especially about His love and plan for us. I’m grateful for the quiet spaces I regained by leaving social media for Lent, they’ve given me so many opportunities I could’ve missed. (I’m also excited to have Instagram back, ha! I won’t pretend it wasn’t hard at times!)

Adelina was given a flower bulb in primary two weeks ago as part of a lesson. We put it in water and watched it grow during this last stretch of Easter preparations, and the second flower finished unfolding on Easter morning. I found it perfectly fitting 💛

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PS: you can find my Easter Week Guide and Timeline printable cards over here if you haven’t seen them yet! Feel free to share!

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