Here on the farm where I live, I enjoy watching baby calves kick up their heels and chase around the pasture. Our neighbor has newborn lambs who hunker down in straw on chilly days and venture into the sunshine on those warm days which offer such promise.
The wheat is waking up from its winter sleep: It seems almost to get greener from one day to the next. The trees begin to bud and show just a glimpse of the leafy shade that will protect us during the hot days of summer.
Spring is full of examples of new life. Easter is a celebration of new life in Christ.
It's easy to get caught up in the secular parts of Easter - the Easter bunny, the spiral ham, the malted milk eggs, the spring-hued jelly beans, the hollow chocolate rabbit with that satisfying crunch when you bite his ear!
But Easter eggs can be more than just another secular way to celebrate.
Easter eggs can serve as a symbol of the Resurrection of Christ. Just as the chick breaks the shell when it is hatched and begins its life, so Christ comes forth living from the apparently lifeless tomb.
When I was a child, we hard-boiled and decorated eggs for Easter. My sisters and I spent hours hiding the eggs. Once in awhile, we were given permission to hide them in the house, with special instructions that we must count the eggs and keep looking until we found every one. (It was a smelly mistake if one remained hidden past the Easter celebration!)
Many years ago, when my children were small, we began an Easter egg tree tradition. Even though my daughter is married and my son is off at college, I still enjoy the Easter egg tree to celebrate and decorate for Easter. And when they are home for Easter, they still look at the tree and remember the message of Easter eggs - and the fun we had adding to our collection.
Jill & Brent still got to hunt eggs. In fact, they enjoyed hiding and finding plastic eggs long after the Easter celebration itself was over.
For the Easter egg tree, we hollowed out eggs and then decorated them. We decorated new eggs each year and added them to the collection, which I store in empty egg cartons from year to year.
The first few years we did the Easter tree, we simply used a branch from the farmstead. I planted it in dirt and covered the container with bright spring wrapping paper.
Sometime later, I found two Easter trees on sale. I've used those for displaying our Easter egg collection since that time. To hang the eggs on the tree, I used hot glue to attach ribbon to the egg, then used the ribbon to hang over the tree branches. After several years, we had more eggs than we could display on the tree. So we scattered decorated eggs in baskets around the house.
Why not add a new tradition this year to your family's Easter celebration?
Here's what you will need for hollowing out the eggs:
- As many eggs as you want to decorate (realize that you will need extra. It is inevitable that during the process, you will break some eggs!)
- A large sewing needle or a small nail
- Mixing bowl
- Opt.: Baby nasal aspirator
Hold the egg over the bowl. Start by poking a small hole in each end of the egg with your needle or nail. Be sure to puncture the egg yolk with your needle. Enlarge the hole at one end; you can make additional small holes with your needle/nail and then enlarge the hole that way. Keep the hole as small as possible.
Blow gently through the small hole with the large hole facing down into your mixing bowl. If you have never blown out eggs before (or even if you have!), be prepared for the egg to break into the bowl and not all over you or your work area.
You will have to blow repeatedly. This project is not for the fainthearted!
If you have an aversion to blowing with your mouth, I'm told that Martha Stewart uses a baby aspirator to suck out the insides of the egg.
Some people suggest washing out the egg after blowing it, and before decorating. Others say you should just leave that little bit of egg residue to help reinforce the fragile eggs.
You can color the eggs with a kit purchased at a discount store or use food coloring from your kitchen cupboard. The color will be less intense with food coloring.
We decorated the eggs with many different methods. When Jill and Brent were little, the easiest method - and the one which created the most professional-looking eggs - was using plastic egg wraps. I haven't looked for them for several years, but I used to purchase them at Hallmark. I believe discount chain stores might have some as well.
With these, the design was on a plastic wrapper. You wrapped it around your hollowed-out egg and carefully dropped it in boiling water. The plastic shrunk around the egg, hugging it and creating a pretty design. (See photo below for an example.)
Another easy way for younger children to decorate eggs is to use stickers. I would get stickers at Christian bookstores and use stickers with Christian Easter symbols. That provides another opportunity to talk about the meaning of Easter with your children.
I would often purchase Easter egg decorating kits on clearance following the holiday. Then we would use that kit to decorate our blown-out Easter eggs the following year. That helped give us variety in our collection. (The one below was from a sparkle egg kit.)
If you want to use eggs for "place cards" and then allow your guests to take them home as favors, you can write on the egg using a crayon before coloring it. White crayons are the best for this.
You can also make Tie Dyed Easter Eggs.
(I think the one pictured below was from a kit, but here's a homemade version.) You will need:
- Food coloring
- Paper towels
- Plastic wrap
Wrap the egg in the paper towel and plastic wrap. The longer you keep the egg wrapped up, the brighter the colors will be.
Repeat until all your eggs are tie dyed. Every one will be different!
For Sponge-Painted Eggs, you will need:
- Small makeup sponge
- Acrylic paints in assorted colors
- White paper
- Aluminum foil
Pour a little paint onto a piece of foil. Dip the sponge into the paint, then dab the sponge onto white paper to see if the sponge carries too much or too little paint. Correct as needed.
Sponge-paint half of the egg. Let dry. Sponge-paint the other half of the egg; let dry.
Add layers of colors, if you like, in the same way.
Other ideas for decorations:
- Dip egg in dye mixture to which 1 tablespoon of oil has been added. The addition of the oil gives a marbled appearance.
- Use glitter pens.
- Glue decorations to dyed or undyed eggs. Examples are reinforcement rings, rickrack, yarn, sequins, etc.
- Instead of dyeing, color eggs with felt-tipped pens. You can look for egg stencils especially designed for this.
The possibilities for decoration are endless. These are just a few methods. There are many more to be found on internet sites, craft books or magazines. Or use your imagination!
If you come up with something fun, be sure and leave a comment so others can try it, too.
Even if you break a few eggs along the way, you can be creative with the remnants.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy, He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
I Peter 1:3