Living with intentionality is a bit of a thing in our house. My husband and I decided a long time ago that focusing on the outcomes we were trying to achieve, was going to be an important part of our day to day life (more on that in another post). But you know – the spirit is willing and all for that. Life can just take over and pretty soon you have forgot all about the really good intentioned things you planned. So, Jeff and I use a few holidays on the calendar to remind us to check in on the goals. Easter is one of them.
Here we are at Easter. This beautiful time of year and perfect occasion to reflect on what really matters; to think about God’s sacrifice and redemption. And to make sure we are living the best life, according to what we are hoping to achieve.
One of the things high on our list, is having close relationships with our children. That is our end goal. We have found, one of the most impactful ways to do that, is to date each our children solo. After parenting for over 20 years I would list this as my #1 piece of parenting advice. No matter the age, no matter the stage, no matter the cost, make time for dating your child. It pays huge dividends.
The overarching theme for our family this year, is #livingwithless. To spend less on our household so that we may pay off our debt. To look at the things we own and decide if they belong in our life. To view purchases through the lens of both points. As such, our Easter plans have to fit within that framework, as well as the framework of intentionally dating our children and the fun tradition that this has become.
Therefore, the one on one dates have to be free or cheap. The contents of the baskets have to be things that fit into the budget and won’t get tossed out in our examination process as we go through the house. No dollar store crap allowed. I have a drawer full of sidewalk chalk, skipping ropes and bubbles that no one uses. What is the pull to buy them year after year? I digress…
At Christmas, we place adorable little Santa gift card holders on the tree with everyone’s name embroidered on them. My mom’s cousin Margaret made them for us and they have become the centre of a favourite tradition. On Christmas Eve $25 is left in each one. The child gets to pick the parent and the date and it has to fit within the $50 +/- price range. It gives such a sweet glimpse into what they value and what makes them tick, while also teaching them the valuable lesson of making a choice with money.
At Easter, we reverse the parent and child partnership and the date comes on a scroll in their Easter basket. These dates range in price. We have done everything from geocaching and visiting the animal shelter to pet kittens, to pottery to axe throwing. It depends on what we can afford, and this year the dates are coming with a real low-price tag! #livingwithless means we don’t want to sink a lot of money into Easter or we are essentially forsaking our goal of trying to pay off our consumer debt. But we also don’t want to sacrifice our tradition and our special time with our children.
So we get creative…
We also have another layer to our tradition. Austin, our eldest, is 20. He isn’t into Easter egg hunts (actually he really never was, he always preferred sleeping to hunting) and he has a significant other. We want to recognize that all stages of life come with some changes and be accepting of them. We love and welcome the beautiful addition to our tradition. Instead of a one on one date with Austin, we plan and pay for a date for him and his girlfriend. We all embark on our dates at the same time and then meet up together at the end for ice cream sundaes at our place, where we share the highlights of the day’s adventures.
While the baskets will have less stuff, it will be more meaningful stuff.
What children really want is the costliest of all things – time. So we will make time. We will make memories. And we will share them with you!
Happy Easter from our family to yours.