Keeping a Holy Lent :: Symbolic Easter Baskets for Catholic Children

After seeing Melody’s plans and all of the amazing Catholic gift ideas for Easter from Catholic Deals this morning, I was reminded that since Laetare Sunday has passed that I better get a move on gathering the gifts for my children’s Easter Baskets!

At our house, the Easter Bunny does not pass.

That’s right— I am one of those “mean moms”.

Actually, instead of chocolate bunnies and baby chicks, our family chooses to focus on the real reason for the holiday by bringing to the forefront our beautiful Catholic faith through rich traditions and stunning symbolism. There is candy to be sure, but there are always tokens that help to represent the magnitude of Christ’s love for us and to help deepen the faith of our children.

…:::The Easter Basket:::..

Today (Holy Saturday) is traditionally a day of abstinence in addition to being a day of fasting, until the Vigil Mass, when the Lenten Fast ends…..In some churches today, priests will bless Easter baskets containing the foods eaten tomorrow…. ~Fisheaters

In the past, my children have always had their own individual baskets. When I pulled them out at the beginning of Lent this year, I discovered that they both have seen better days. Since they are in need of replacing, I think this year just might be the year that we implement a family Easter Basket. Since most of the items they receive each year really are for all members of the family, I think it will be a new treasured tradition.

I have my eye on this lovely white willow basket with a lavender liner. I like how the white of the willow, much like the white we will see at Mass, helps to symbolize the rejoicing of the Resurrection of the Lord, and the lavender liner signifies the ending of our penance, sacrifice and preparation for our glorious King. I may also opt to have “Alleluia” embroidered on the lining in violet since it will be reappearing in the Liturgy today!

After the children discover the contents of the basket on Easter morning, we will then fill it with the traditional Easter Meal foods to bring along to Mass for a special blessing from our priest.

…:::Easter Candle:::..

The Paschal Candle representing the Light of Christ (Lumen Christi) is the centerpiece of the table today and, like the Paschal Candle at church, is relit each day (such as at dinner and during family prayer) until the Feast of the Ascension in 40 days when the Light of the World leaves us to ascend to His Father. The candle should be large and white, and should be surrounded with flowers and the symbols of Easter. ~Fisheaters

The addition of this Paschal Candle Kit to the Easter Basket will help to simplify the creation of our own family Paschal candle. All of the supplies will be gathered together in one kit making it easy for the children to help assist. This “Light of Christ” will look beautiful as the centerpiece of our dinning table for Easter dinner. It will also serve as the centerpiece of our family devotions throughout the fifty days of the Easter season. After crafting the candle, we will then bring it along to the Easter morning mass so that we can light it from the blessed fire of the new parish Paschal Candle.

…:::Easter Picture Books and Bibles:::..

When my daughter was three, my husband and I gifted her with her first Bible on Easter morning. My son is now three and my husband and I would like to continue this tradition.  So, this year he will receive a copy of  New Catholic Picture Bible for his very own.

In addition, since this was the first year that our family has kept Lent with a Lenten Book Basket, I have chosen a few new titles for the family Easter Basket to help build up our book collection.  It is my hope over the next couple of years to eventually have enough titles to completely fill our Lenten Book Basket for the entire 40 days of Lent.

I’ll also add a new Garden of the Good Shepard calendar. This way, each of the children will have their own and can add the stickers throughout the 50 days of Easter.

…:::Religious Medals and Scapluas:::..

A sacramental is a sacred sign that signifies effects obtained through the Church’s intercession. Sacramentals drive away evil spirit, and when piously used, remit venial sin and prepare the soul for grace. ~Fisheaters

My daughter has been wearing the same Our Lady of Guadalupe Scapular that she received at our homeschool group’s feast day celebration two years ago. It has been repaired by her own hand a couple of times now and has recently begun to fray in a few places.

She and brother both could use a new scapula and I think that this Five Way Scapular would be perfect for the family Easter Basket and could be toted along for blessing after the Easter morning mass.


Also, my daughter lost her crucifix a couple of weeks ago when the chain broke while playing outside. This delicate crucifix necklace will be a fine replacement and make a great addition to the Easter Basket.

…:::Easter Toys:::..

Although we usually reserve giving toys for birthdays and Christmas, since sister will be receiving a new crucifix necklace, I think these Beginners Bible Easter Story Flannelboard Figures will be welcomed by my son. He really enjoys watching the Holy Heroes gang illustrate the Bible stories with the felt vignettes, so I just know that he will have a lovely time with this little toy. Not to mention that it will be a wonderful teaching aid for learning the Easter Story!

…:::Easter Candy:::..

Our children have always received a chocolate cross to help remind them of the occurrences of Good Friday and a chocolate lamb to symbolize the joy of Easter morning. After seeing Charlotte’s wonderful handmade candies for her children last year and the accompanied booklet she crafted explaining their symbolism, I have been inspired to try to do the same for my own children this year.

Instead of using religious candy molds this year though, I will be purchasing ready made candies since Dad will be gone for all of Holy Week this year and I just don’t see how I can manage creating them all without his help!

~ Cross

The cross is perhaps the best known of all Christian symbols. In the ancient Church the cross was usually depicted without the figure of Christ. It was adorned and decorated as a symbol of the victory Christ won through His suffering. For the ancient world it was a symbol of humiliation, but for Christians it was a symbol of victory and glory. In Christian art, the figure of the suffering Christ was added to the cross only in medieval times.*

These Large Chocolate Crosses  made from white chocolate feature a child at prayer in the center which I find fitting for this glorious feast day. And these Tile Cross Lollipops can be tied with a violet and white ribbon to pick up on the symbolic colors of the Easter season and Easter Basket itself.

~ Lamb

The Easter food of all Easter foods is, of course, lamb, in honor of the Paschal lambs slain by the Israelites and whose blood was painted over their doors so death would pass them by, all prefiguring the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world. ~Fisheaters

A symbol of Christ’s purity and innocence, this Chocolate Easter Lamb wrapped in foil with prominent religious Easter symbols is just perfect and will help to further tie in all of the symbolism we wish for our children to recognize.

And the addition of this five lamb set from Lindt will be welcomed, too. They will be just what we need for sharing!

~ Bells

Bells are another lovely symbol for the day as they are said to have gone to Rome on Maundy Thursday only to have started returning home at last evening’s Easter Vigil to ring joyfully. (In France and Belgium, it is these bells, not the Easter bunny, that bring the Easter eggs.) ~Fisheaters

The addition of these White Chocolate Bell Lollipops, although they can not ring, will serve as a beautiful and tasty reminder of the joy that fills this Easter Sunday.

~ Butterfly

Butterflies, too, are an apt symbol of the day’s meaning. Beginning life as lowly humble caterpillars, they “entomb” themselves in cocoons only to emerge with jewel-colored wings and the ability to soar. What better symbol of the Resurrection — except maybe for eggs, which had always been symbols of Spring and were items of wonderment to all — an inanimate object out of which comes life. For Christians, they became the perfect symbol of the tomb Christ conquered, and Jews used them on their Passover, too, as the Haggadot specifically calls for it as a symbol of rebirth. ~Fisheaters

These BACI Butterfly Chocolates  are sure to please my Nutella loving son. The hazelnuts wrapped in chocolate were a favorite treat from our trip to Italy some years ago and their butterfly box will be a wonderful display of the Easter symbol.

~ Holy Eucharist

Jesus called Himself the “Bread of Life.” Following His command, in faith we take and eat this Bread, His Body, and become one with Him. ~Fisheaters

Receiving Holy Eucharist today at the Easter Mass is a welcomed event since it’s absence from Good Friday. Neither one of my children are old enough to receive the Body and Blood of our Lord just yet. (Our daughter will be making the Sacrament of First Communion in May!) Since the Body and Blood of Christ is such an important aspect of our faith, especially on this great feast, these White Chocolate Holy Communion Lollipops will serve as a gentle reminder to the children.

~ Sun

Another Easter folk custom — one known all over Europe — is that of watching the sun “dance” in joy for the risen Lord on Easter morning. The sun, already a symbol of Christ, is especially a symbol of Him as it rises and pierces the dawn on Easter Sunday. ~Fisheaters

The children will be able to let the sun dance around in their mouths with these Sun Drops Chocolate Candies . I love that they are made with real all natural ingredients and natural food colorings. Hopefully we will also be able to catch a glimpse of the Easter morning sun dance in joy for our Lord!

~ Eggs

Another level of symbolism is that the egg represents birth, the Creation, the elements, and the world itself, with the shell representing the firmament, the vault of the sky where the fiery stars lie; the thin membrane symbolizing air; the white symbolizing the waters; and the yolk representing earth. Painted red, eggs are a demonstration that the salvation and re-birth of the world comes through Christ’s Blood and Resurrection. ~Fisheaters

We will of course dye our own Easter Eggs on Holy Saturday in order to play a few rounds of La Toquette, (a treasured family tradition), but along with replacing the beans in the sacrifice jar with jelly beans this year, I think adding this Chocolate Easter Egg Box would be a sweet treat for the Easter Basket.


…::::::::::::…

What will be waiting for your children this year in their Easter Baskets? Do you have a favored family tradition or special treat? Please share! I’d love to hear about it!

(PSST! Don’t forget to enter the FREE GIVEAWAY for a chance to win a copy of Journey’s End Game. It would make a great addition to an Easter Basket!)

5 responses to “Keeping a Holy Lent :: Symbolic Easter Baskets for Catholic Children

  1. Thanks for this wonderful post full of ideas! I will be putting a few into practice this year. I love the idea of symbolism in the Easter Basket!

  2. Holly, your desire to share and teach your children about the beautiful treasure of our faith is quite inspirational! I am sitting here thanking God for your devotion to marriage and motherhood. Thank you for these wonderful ideas! I have four precious children and we have been preparing our hearts for Easter this year with a delightful out of print reflection book and “the Jelly Bean prayer”. I have selected a small gift for each of them which they will receive along with their jar of jelly beans on Easter morning. I hope to have a Christian seder meal on Holy Thursday with some other families as the Holy Thursday service is just too late for our youngest ones. Have many other ideas I need to sort out before Holy week. Thank you for your inspiration as I feel newly convicted!!! :)
    Blessings!
    Ruth

    • Ruth, Thank you for your kind words! I hope all of the sharing from our family will bless you on your own journey in faith with your children. I pray you have a blessed Holy Week and a joyful Easter!

  3. Great post! I love all the ideas and also appreciate the link. :) God bless!

  4. Pingback: Gardening Catholic Easter Gifts For Children

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