Social Distancing has changed much about our daily routines over the last several weeks. I hope that you have found some beauty in a simplified lifestyle and are starting to see a rhythm in this new, temporary normal. However, this has disrupted many celebrations scheduled for this spring. One of the biggest is Easter. This may upset your Easter traditions, and some of you might be facing your first holiday without an extended family celebration. As someone who has faced this struggle living several states away from my family, I’d like to offer some hope and tips for making your holiday special this year.

Growing up, Easter was always the same. Clad in our Easter apparel—of which there was a lot of pink floral—we’d go to church, sing “Christ the Lord is Risen Today,” and then go back to my grandma’s house for dinner. We ate ham, cheesy potatoes, and desserts until we were stuffed and fell asleep on the couch. It was delicious but not extravagant; the most wonderful thing was simply being together (and the cheesy potatoes).

After college, I settled four states away from home, which meant that eventually, I’d spend some holidays without my family. That was never part of my plan and became a tough pill to swallow without causing bitterness (and several pity parties) over the years. Although sometimes it still stings, I eventually found a way to celebrate with peace and joy. I want to offer some tips to help you through the disappointment of a disrupted holiday so you can enjoy a special day!

First, deal with your heart.

Disrupted traditions and loss of connection are valid to grieve, but we don’t want to become bitter. If I’m feeling sad, I cry if I need to. I get all the emotion out to the Lord in prayer instead of suppressing it and being crabby because it’s lurking beneath the surface of my heart. 

Then I turn to gratitude. I thank God for my husband, children, a home, food on our table. I thank God for the many wonderful holidays I have had with my extended family. I thank God that I’m living in the era of technology, which allows me to connect with family, and I contrast that with the pioneers who went west with no guarantee they’d even see their families again.

Positioning my heart away from entitlement and toward gratitude helps set off my holiday with the proper perspective.

Next, make a plan.

When planning, it’s important to consider what level of energy you have to bring to this holiday. For some holidays, I have been motivated to cook elaborate meals, but on others, I want to go as easy as possible so I can spend time playing with the kids. Some holidays, I want to get dressed up, and others we stay in our jammies all day. Being honest about what feels right for this holiday without any “shoulds” or “have tos” will give you the freedom to enjoy however this new holiday looks.

Ideas for meal planning. 

  • Traditional favorites
  • New recipes
  • Each family member makes a different dish
  • Stimulate the economy by ordering take out!

If you choose to cook, I recommend prepping as much as possible earlier in the week so that you can spend less time in the kitchen on Sunday. I also discovered a few ways to cheat parts of a home-cooked meal by buying a few things already done. Bob Evans has packages of mashed potatoes that you can just stick in the microwave. Shhh!

Plan a few fun activities. Not too much, just enough to make the day feel a little out of the ordinary. We all need ways to make our days a little special right now.

  • Traditional activities like Easter egg hunts, dying Easter eggs
  • Board games, cards
  • Crafts
  • Minute to Win It Games
  • Costume contest
  • Talent Show
  • Puzzles

Soak in the significance.

Most importantly, I’ve found that when the excitement and comfort of traditions are stripped away, I ponder the true meaning of the holiday. Other than thinking about the resurrection at church Sunday morning, growing up, I mostly just enjoyed a good meal and hanging out at Grandma’s. Without that, I’ve come to honor holidays as a catalyst for worship and gratitude, instead of simply enjoying tradition. “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” is no longer a formality to pass through on my way to cheesy potatoes, but an anthem overflowing from a grateful heart throughout the entire day.

While Easter may look different for you this year, I pray it will be one of the sweetest ones you’ve ever experienced. May you experience the hope of his resurrection more powerfully than ever. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!