The Holiday Candy Invasion; Plus, Non-Candy Easter Egg Fillers

easter eggs

St. Patrick’s Day was this past weekend and, as with Valentine’s Day, social media was buzzing with “What are you getting for your kids?”  Uh, first of all, I didn’t realize that a non-Irish woman was obligated to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day (kind of like a Frenchwoman celebrating America’s Thanksgiving…).  Second of all, everyone seemed to feel the need to celebrate the holiday with gobs of candy and junk food.  With the notable exception of a rainbow made of cut fruit displayed on a plate, everyone seemed to think this “green” holiday called for chocolate candy coins, Rolos, and Skittles.

I’m not the only one to notice this phenomenon.  Kristen Howerton’s blog post about bringing the holidays down a notch touched such a nerve it’s gone viral on social media sites.  But it’s not just the hyped-up occasions.  As I wrote in “The Polarizing Effect of Pinterest”, everyone’s lives and values are different so women need to stop comparing themselves and their priorities to others.  Frankly, “Haters are gonna hate.”  Just because the only way I observed St. Patrick’s Day was in the wearing of green doesn’t mean I’m resentful of moms that made leprechaun treasure hunts for their kids.  That’s great!  I don’t think any of those moms would criticize you for not creating a game or leaving a pot of toys and candy on the table, so your frustration and berating are self-inflicted.  No, it’s not just the amount of hoopla these “small” holidays get, but how the emphasis has become “Let’s Eat Candy!!!” for all of them.  In “Why is Everyone Always Giving My Kids Junk Food?”, the author laments:

People other than their parents giving children junk food shouldn’t be considered “normal,” and until that attitude changes, I guess I’ll just have to keep pointing out how crazy our new normal has become.

Instead of candy, try filling your kids’ Easter eggs with these fun fillers (please observe that many may present a choking hazard for children under 3):

  • Little bottles of bubbles (like they pass out at weddings)
  • Little green army men
  • Little plastic animals (often available at dollar stores; I got the ones in the photo at Goodwill)
  • Silly bandz
  • Legos
  • Stickers
  • Fortune cookie fortunes (write them out on little slips of paper)
  • Crayon rings
  • Friendship bracelets, rings, necklaces
  • Hair clips or accessories
  • Socks
  • Magnets (alphabet, numbers, or just fun ones)
  • Temporary tattoos
  • Micro Machine-type cars
  • Puzzle pieces (then they have to assemble the puzzle at the end)
  • Charmkins, Squinkies, Littlest Pet Shop type toys
  • Jacks game
  • Animal grow capsules (those things that expand in water)
  • Rubber poppers (my kids love these)
  • Marbles or tumbled rocks
  • Bookmarks
  • Chunky beads with a string
  • Sample sizes of makeup, like tiny lipstick tubes
  • Mini nail polish–like Bon Bon
  • Whistles and noisemakers
  • Sticky hands
  • Silly putty
  • Healthy snacks like raisins, popcorn, craisins, nuts, seeds, etc. (wait until just before the egg hunt to fill them)

Whether you decide to observe a holiday or not is entirely up to you.  Don’t feel pressured by what you see on social media sites or by what other parents may be doing.  Ultimately, what will make kids happiest is spending time with you.  You could always eliminate the toys and candy altogether and pick a craft, activity, or game to do as a family instead.  Make that your tradition instead.  You don’t want your children to associate “holiday” with “sugar.”  The happy memories are about being together.

2 Responses to “The Holiday Candy Invasion; Plus, Non-Candy Easter Egg Fillers”

  1. leisy miller says:

    I’m glad that you recognize that the non holiday celebraters don’t need to judge the over the top ones and vice versa. I don’t understand the need to tell people to tone it down! if people want to celebrate like crazy- LET them! I do agree that sugar doesn’t need to be forced at our children and it shouldn’t be handed out in excess at school/church,etc.- but in people’s own homes they can do as they please!!

  2. Jill says:

    I love this post. I am also frustrated with how many pieces of candy our kids seem to acquire! It’s EVERYWHERE!

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