By Patricia Lee Hall, Fairfax Family Fun
No, it’s not the same, and we won’t pretend that it is. Easter is a religious holiday that celebrates deep faith and renewal, but it’s also a fun time for kids. This week, many families, even those traveling for spring break, would have been celebrating Easter in multiple ways: attending church services, preparing Easter baskets, and enjoying fun activities. But the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic (and subsequently, the Virginia governor’s stay-at-home order) put an end to all those plans. Still, thanks to traditional activities, virtual events, and special offers, you still can celebrate Easter during the coronavirus crisis and yes, have fun doing so.
This week children everywhere would have been enjoying Easter egg hunts, egg rolls, and other special events. In Northern Virginia, they would have had opportunities to attend huge egg hunts, other large festivals, and unique events such as a helicopter egg drop. Some would even have been able to attend the Easter egg roll at the White House. While you can’t replicate those events in person, here are some ways you can make the most of this difficult time.
1. Keep it simple
Easter, like Christmas, becomes increasingly commercialized each year. But at the heart of it, it’s a humble holiday whose basic traditions have endured. Simple activities like dyeing eggs, making a nice brunch at home, and doing a backyard Easter egg hunt never go out of style. This year, more families are spending time together, so use those extra hours also to create some simple but beautiful crafts, decorate cookies, or find other ways to be creative.
2. Take your egg hunt up a notch
All you need for an egg hunt is a backyard (lacking one, just use the inside of your home!). If you think a basic egg hunt is not enough, kick it up a notch or two by making it extra fun or challenging. Many stores have plastic eggs in fun shapes, including animals, rockets, cars, and popular characters. For older kids, combine an egg hunt with a scavenger hunt to make it more challenging. Or make the activity a nighttime egg hunt with glow in the dark eggs (you can make your own by inserting glow-stick bracelets in regular eggs.)
3. Buy an egg hunt, support a farm
Can’t stuff eggs without the kids watching now that everyone is home together all the time? Order an egg hunt to-go from Great Country Farms in Bluemont, Virginia. This way you save the work and support a local business. Each bucket ($10) comes with more than two dozen eggs already filled with candies (chocolates, fruit chews, and more) and small toys. There are tickets in some of them which may help you win a prize, and each bucket comes with a free pass to the farm for a later visit to the play area. You also can order tasty cider donuts, produce, and more, including gifts, from the farm’s online shop.
4. Give a special gift from a local toy store
If you don’t make your own Easter basket for your kids, there are many options at stores such as Walmart, Target, Walgreens, and CVS, all of which are delivering items (including Easter gifts). If you like the idea of a ready-made basket — but you want something unique, more useful, and which supports a local business — check out the gift packages from Doodlehopper. This local toy store in Falls Church has made it easy for parents to treat their kids to more than candy. The store carefully selects its gift bundles, serving various ages and interests, to provide children with a long-lasting gift. Packages vary in price and include puzzles, plush toys, craft items, science experiments, books, and more.
5. Decorate a dessert together
What’s the best part of dessert? Usually, the eating part. But sometimes, the decorating can be even more fun. Cake Time lets you enjoy the decorating without having to do all the work of preparing and making a cake or cookies. This local business in Chantilly (which had opened just weeks before the stay-at-home order) ordinarily would function as a decorate-it-yourself cake studio and bakery, offering classes, parties, and special events. You can still enjoy its offerings as you celebrate Easter during the coronavirus crisis thanks to its pivoting temporarily to a DIY model. Cake Time now brings the party to you, delivering the cake or cookies, plus all the decorating materials you need and instructions.
6. Splurge on a meal
Treat yourself to a nice meal that you don’t have to cook yourself or which requires clean-up after. An Easter meal this year represents not just a (limited) family gathering, but an opportunity to support local restaurants, many of which are hit especially hard from all the “social distancing” restrictions. From simpler options to fancy packages, many Northern Virginia restaurants are offering Easter deals.
7. Walk among the tulip fields
The Burnside Farms spring festival won’t be the same this year, but you still can enjoy the beauty of the tulips and other flowers. By popular demand, the farm in Nokesville has found a way to allow an extremely limited number of visitors, by appointment, to come walk along the flowers for fresh air and exercise. While you’re there you can of course take some beautiful photos and buy some fresh-picked flowers. Spots, by appointment with advanced reservation, are available for Easter Sunday.
8. Attend a virtual service
Some churches have done as many organizations and business have done and moved their services online, temporarily. This includes some large, famous churches, such as National Cathedral in Washington, DC. The Cathedral and the Episcopal Diocese of Washington are hosting an Easter Sunday service online that is open to all. You will join others around the world as you hear good messages and music from the beautiful landmark that also is the world’s sixth-largest Cathedral.
9. See the Easter Bunny in Vienna, Fairfax, and Falls Church
Don’t worry kids… the Easter Bunny can still get out and about while practicing social distancing. He is an “essential worker” during Easter so he’s allowed to go out for a bit! On Saturday, April 11, 2020, the Bunny will have a drive-by tour along Maple Avenue in Vienna starting at 10 am. The bunny — along with Mrs. Bunny! — also makes his way through Falls Church on Saturday. From 10 am to noon, Falls Church residents can watch from porches or lawns as Mr. and Mrs. Bunny are escorted through the City’s residential streets by Falls Church Recreation and Parks staff and City Police. Police sirens will let neighbors know the bunny is near.
Easter Sunday, April 12, Fairfax City Parks and Recreation will give some city residents the chance to see the Bunny (along with friends from the City of Fairfax Police Department and City of Fairfax Fire Department) from your own home. This is a “Spring Wave Parade” where kids can wave at the Bunny from their window, door, front patio or yard! If your house is not on the route you can see the Bunny as he leaves as long as you watch from safely inside your car at the parking lot at Fairfax High School at 10 am.
10. Attend a virtual egg hunt
Morven Park had to cancel its Easter in the Park event… so it’s bringing the event to cyberspace! On Saturday, April 11, 10 am to noon, you can attend the Virtual Easter in the Park. “Meet” on Facebook to enjoy almost all of the planned activities virtually. The page will have instructions and handouts.
11. Show gratitude
Perhaps no other moment in recent history than the current crisis has better served as a reminder for us to take stock in what we have and show thanks. And we sure have many people to thank these days, including first responders, healthcare workers, and teachers. This Easter, take the time to show these people and all others how you value them. You and your kids can use these free coloring pages from Oriental Trading Company to show their gratitude. Draw, write a special message, and send the page on to brighten someone’s day! There are pages for all kinds of professions, including those we may have previously taken for granted but which play a critical role these days, including truckers, delivery drivers, and store clerks and stocker.
Top image: stock photo, purchased
1, eggs: stock photo, purchased
2, glow eggs: P. Hall
3, egg bucket: P. Hall
4, Doodlehopper: used with permission
5, Cake Time: used with permission
6, dinner plate: stock photo, purchased
7, Easter Sunday: stock photo, purchased
8, bunny: stock photo, purchased
9, egg hunt: stock photo, purchased
10, Oriental Trading: used with permission