Sounds like Easter bunny gifts rival Santa's

I overheard a conversation between people at work the other day.  First of all, let me explain. It's not like I set out to be the office snoop. It's just that in the quasi-cubicle world in which I spend much of my time, overhearing conversations is pretty much an everyday occurrence.

I guess if they didn't want me to hear, they would not stand right over my shoulder at the time. But I digress.

The topic of conversation this time was a comparing of notes as to what each had purchased for their kids for "Easter presents."

Now, I've been under the understanding that if one were buying presents for their kids for Easter, generally speaking they should fit into the traditional Easter basket.

At least that's how it was that my son picked up a tape or DVD of a movie or two, maybe some music or video games through the years. Even then, I was a little surprised that more than chocolate bunnies and jellybeans were going into the plastic grass of the basket.

But, I was told that little presents were the norm for the day, as well.

I was OK with that on a couple of fronts. One, it was just a small present. And two, it was for my kid and, I don't know about the rest of you, but nothing was too good for my kid.

But what I was hearing the other day went a little beyond that. We — and by we, of course, I mean the people that were talking within my hearing range — were talking a larger scale. They were things that would give Santa a bad back if he were carrying them at Christmas.

So I guess my question is: When did Easter become a major gift-giving day? Or is it just for these people? Are your kids and grandkids getting big gifts this Easter, or just enough candy to keep them buzzing all the way to the dentist office?

To use a phrase I swore I would never use, but "back in my day" I don't recall major gift-giving. I was happy with a basket of candy and high hopes that one of them would be those hollow milk chocolate bunnies. The goodies in the basket were further supplemented by a stash of 40 days worth of self-control. We usually gave up candy for Lent when I was a kid, so we'd save up all that we would have eaten and went nuts on Easter morning. But there weren't any bikes or TVs or electronic gizmos in the basket.

I may have to catch the Easter Bunny in the act this year and ask him if he has seen a trend of carrying a heavier burden with him of late.

As long as I'm on the topic of Easter, I guess I'm a little surprised that it's reaching larger holiday status, as well. I had two people at work ask if we were getting Monday off for the Easter holiday (sadly, I had to tell them no). Generally speaking, Easter is one of the ultimate days on the Christian calendar, but I hadn't really seen it working into mainstream holidays much before. But, I guess Christmas started off the same way and look where it's gone.

And it's not like it's not without its traditional observations. Our family, particularly on my wife's side, has its rituals. A big meal (part of all good holidays), hiding Easter eggs for the young ones to hunt and more. But unless you're telling me that after rising from the dead Jesus celebrated by going out and flying a kite, not all can be tied right back to the origin of the day.

But, if it brings families together, if it brightens the faces of the youngest among us, if it gives up all pause to reflect on the origins and if it gets the "Christmas/Easter" church-goers to make their semi-annual appearance, then I'm all for it.

I'll be the guy in the corner with a Coke in one hand and a Dr. Pepper in the other after giving up pop for Lent, and eating the chocolate ears off any bunny I can snag away from little kids.

Russ Batenhorst

Don't expect to detect a common topic or theme in Russ Batenhorst's weekly column in the Hastings Tribune. Usually it's whatever slice-of-life observation pops into his head just in time to make the deadline for it to appear each Friday.

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