Country MagazineWhen my mother, Catherine, spoke of grandchildren and customs, she always said: “Be careful of what you start because then you have to continue.”
She was probably thinking about Easter bags.
It began the first Easter after the birth of my oldest son, her first grandchild. He was about 5 months old and way too young for an Easter basket full of jelly beans, chocolate and other sugary candies. Instead, she bought food, clothing, diapers and other items that we needed for the baby.
When she spread out all that booty on the floor, it wouldn’t fit into one Easter basket. So she had to use a brown paper bag from the local supermarket.
But there was a problem. The bag didn’t look anything like an Easter basket. Sure, it held many items, but it looked more like she’d just come back from grocery shopping. Where was the Easter theme?
She turned to my father for help because he could draw. He drew Easter characters on the bag, and they both filled them in with bright colors. Covered in decorations, the bag looked like an Easter basket. (Don’t miss these myths and legends on Easter traditions.)
This tradition continued through nine grandchildren. For almost 20 years after my father, Andrew, died, Mom made the bags herself. Each grandchild received one until the age of 12. Then, after 12, he or she usually got an Easter card with a little cash.
Country MagazineThose grandchildren now range in age from 12 to 40 years old, and some still have their last Easter bag. When my wife and I had our first grandchild in 2008, we revived the tradition. To date, we have six grandchildren, and Mom lived to meet all of them.
Truthfully, neither my wife nor I can draw, so we glue clip art we find online or window decals to the bags. We shop for what the kids like and for what the parents approve. The bags overflow with goodies, toys and books.
The biggest problem in this age of plastic bags is finding paper bags without any lettering on them. It takes time and patience, but we manage to do it.
Our grandchildren anticipate diving into their bags. They love them so much that we’ve started a similar tradition for Halloween.
As Mom said, we should have been careful of what we started.