This Easter, how will you be celebrating? As I see adverts for giant luxury chocolate eggs and Instagram photos of beautifully decorated homes, the pressure can build to feel like I’m doing enough.
But the truth is that, like any holiday or festival, Easter doesn’t need to be expensive to feel special. Now, I’m not saying you can’t have an egg hunt if that’s what you want, but here are some ideas for how to celebrate Easter that go beyond chocolate eggs, to mark the weekend without having to throw away your budget.
Gather friends & family
The Easter story in the Bible begins with a meal (the Last Supper) and ends in celebration (of Jesus returning to life), so it’s a great time to bring some people together over food.
Choose food that fits your budget
Traditional meals on Easter Sunday include roast lamb in the UK, or ham in the USA. But there’s no rule that says you can’t serve up something completely different. Choose a meal that suits your budget. And if you’ve got a big group coming, make it a bring-and-share so everyone provides one dish and no one has to pay for a banquet!
2. Invent your own traditions
Families and friendship groups often have favourite ways of celebrating together, and these can be as profound or silly as you like. In my family, we always have Christmas pudding on Easter Sunday. My mum makes two puddings at Christmas and sets one aside for Easter. They keep forever, you know. (Fun fact, a 100 year old fruitcake was discovered in Antarctica, left behind by explorers.)
It’s the shared nature of these traditions that makes them special. Whether it’s going for a walk before church, hiding chocolate round the house, or sharing your hopes for the rest of the year ahead, you can mark the occasion in any number of simple ways.
All big days in the calendar come with a pressure to buy more stuff, give gifts and generally spend money. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
One way to save money on your Easter celebration is to see if there’s anything you can make yourself, with materials or ingredients you’ve got at home.
So here are three DIY Easter activities you could have a go at (they’re child-friendly too, if you want to get kids involved).
3. Dye and decorate eggs
Colourful eggs have been a part of Easter celebrations for centuries, and all you need to make them are some eggs, vinegar, water and a bit of food colouring.
Start by hard-boiling your eggs (did I mention you can eat the eggs after you’re done with this craft?) and then let them cool down.
Fill a large bowl with enough cold water to cover the eggs. Then add a teaspoon of vinegar and about 20 drops of food colouring.
Now you can either put the eggs straight in the mix, or you can make patterns on them by covering them with elastic bands or tape first.
They’ll need to soak for about 5 minutes before you take them out and let them dry. The longer you leave them, the darker the colour will be.
4. Make your own hot cross buns
Are you keen on the different hot cross bun flavours in the shops each year, or do you stand staunchly in defence of the classic hot cross bun? Personally, I’m a fan of the apple and cinnamon, but draw the line at chocolate orange. And don’t even get me started on Marmite flavour ones.
Now it’s worth saying that hot cross buns aren’t that expensive, especially when you compare them to the cost of the ingredients you’d need to make your own. So this recipe probably won’t save you any money if you normally buy them from the supermarket. However, if you’ve already got the ingredients in your kitchen cupboard and want a low-cost activity, maybe something to do with the kids over the Easter holidays in place of day trips and screen time, then you can’t beat the delicious smell of freshly baked hot cross buns.
There are plenty of recipes available online, including this one from Bake Off hero Mary Berry.
5. Make your own Easter decorations
There’s no rule that says you have to decorate for Easter, and you certainly shouldn’t feel like you have to spend a lot of money preparing for it.
If you do want to spruce up your living space, one of my favourite budget-friendly decorations is an Easter tree. No, I’m not talking about bringing the Christmas tree out of the garage (although why not?) but rather something a bit more like this:
Start by going out and collecting a few fallen sticks or small branches. Arrange them in a sturdy container – something like a vase or a large jar works well – to resemble a tree. Now it’s time to decorate! Raid the recycling bin for some cardboard and cut out several egg shapes. Make a hole in the top of each one and thread some ribbon or string through to make a loop you can use to hang your egg from the tree. Then decorate your egg decorations using whatever you have – paint, ribbons, glitter, felt pens. Have fun with it!
Make space for the spiritual importance of Easter
Of course, if you go back far enough, Easter looked quite different. It’s a celebration of the single most important event described in the Bible: the death and resurrection of Jesus. For me, it feels much easier to shake off the pressure to spend loads on gifts and extras when I remember that this was always a celebration of God’s love, new life, and hope.
Many churches have ways of celebrating Easter, from special prayers and sunrise services, to processions in the streets and ringing church bells. There’s a richness in the variety of ways the occasion is marked around the world.
There are also ways you can make some space to reflect on the spiritual significance of this day personally. Here are a few ideas:
6. Look back on Lent
If you observed Lent in some way, take a moment to ask yourself how it went. If you gave something up, how did you find that? Don’t miss the opportunity to note down anything you’ve learned from the experience, and to consider if there’s anything you want to continue with beyond the end of Lent.
Here’s a prayer you could use this Easter:
Thank you God for all that you’ve done for me. Today, I choose to remember your example of sacrificial love and hope in the face of darkness. May I carry that love and hope with me this Easter. Amen.
8. Reflect on the Easter story
You could read the account of Jesus’ death and resurrection as told in the Bible. The story may be familiar, but ask yourself if anything new strikes you as you read it this time.
Remember, you can celebrate Easter this year in a meaningful and memorable way, without having to spend lots of money. Find what works for your budget and stick with that. And have a great Easter!
Want help getting started on putting together a spending budget? Follow the steps in our free guide or find out if there’s a CAP Money Course running near you.