This post is sponsored by Toadily Handmade Beeswax Candles. See the end of this post for a giveaway of their beautiful candles!
I can’t believe how quickly Lent is flying by. Does that mean I didn’t make it hard enough for myself? It’s possible. But that’s the great thing about Lent. You can always take note of how it’s going halfway through and ramp up the penitentialness (is that a word?) OR realize you bit off more than you can chew and give yourself some extra grace.
But what we all need to keep in mind is that we are preparing ourselves for Holy Week. And for those of us with young children in the house, it takes a little extra preparation to get your
ducks Easter eggs in a row.
So here’s some things to keep in mind:
Keep It Simple
Holy Week is kind of a big deal. So don’t load up your week with all sorts of obligations that can wait until the Easter octave is over. In fact, try to clear your schedule from non-Holy Week related things because someone will probably get the stomach flu. Hopefully not the stomach flu, but you know what I mean. Something unexpected is going to come your way during Holy Week because that’s life. Leave some margins, people!
Take a Look at the Calendar
Grab your church bulletin or click on over to your parish’s web site. See what’s going on and what your family can participate in.
Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday are the only two days of obligation, but there’s so much wonderfulness happening during Holy Week that you’d hate to miss! Going straight from Palm Sunday to Easter and skipping Good Friday really doesn’t do justice to the weight and wonder of the season.
So, consider what’s doable for your family this year and write it down. But down freak out if this is not the year to do all the things. Sometimes with new babies or difficult toddler bedtimes, Holy Thursday and Good Friday services aren’t going to happen. Or maybe Stations of the Cross is impossible to handle solo and your spouse has to work whenever it’s being offered. Jesus understands. Just figure out what can happen for your family this year.
Here’s what your parish may be offering during Holy Week…
- Palm Sunday: Here’s hoping your church passes the palm branches out at the END of the Mass. Otherwise I will be praying that you all survive the inevitable palm branch whacking by toddlers.
- Penance Service: Many parishes offer a penance service during the last couple of weeks of Lent. This is a great opportunity to prepare yourself for Holy Week.
The Sacred Triduum:
- Holy Thursday: Mass of the Lord’s Supper
- Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion
- Mass of the Resurrection of the Lord (Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday or Mass on Easter Sunday)
If you have young children, you might not be making it to every service. That’s ok! But just start by figuring out when you’re getting to Easter Mass and work backwards. Think about work schedules and bedtimes and what you can make happen. There’s been years when we’ve ALL gone to church for Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil. Then there’s been years when Daniel’s gone to Holy Thursday while I put kids to bed and then we switch for Good Friday. Or we’ve taken the one kid that we think can handle sitting through it. Babies that can be kept happy with nursing aren’t what’s tricky for me during those long services, it’s the 15 month-2.5 year olds that are the challenge. Get ready to be flexible!
The Case for the Vigil Mass
We might be a little insane, but we love taking our kids to the Easter Vigil. Yes, it’s long. Yes, it’s late. But for some reason, our kids are awed into good behavior by being dressed to the nines, going to Mass as it’s getting dark, and the BOWL OF FIRE at the beginning of the service. (Does your parish do the bowl of fire? So cool.) Daniel and I also hate missing the Easter Vigil Mass. We were received into the Church at age 25 during the Vigil Mass, so it’s just so special.
Traditions for the Home
First off, don’t try to do all of these. We certainly won’t be tackling this whole list! But here’s some ideas for observing Holy Week with your family.
- Read aloud about Palm Sunday, the Last Supper, the Passion, and the Resurrection. You can read straight from the Bible or read picture books or from story book Bibles. I love Tomie dePaola’s Book of Bible Stories because the illustrations are wonderful and it’s not paraphrased, it’s really Scripture. We also like reading some of these picture books during Holy Week.
- Prepare your home with spring cleaning as you prepare your heart for Easter.
- Observe Spy Wednesday. Some families hide 30 pieces of “silver” in their home for their children to find to help remind them about when Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.
- Shut off the screens for the Triduum. Try no TV from Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday.
- Try a Seven Churches Visitation on Holy Thursday.
- Attend a Stations of the Cross at a local parish.
- Make Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday.
- Dye Easter Eggs on Holy Saturday so they’ll be ready for Easter Sunday.
- Celebrate with Easter baskets. (Here’s a few ideas for basket fillers for the kids.)
Start planning the menu so it’s one less thing to stress out about. Figure out who you’re having over. And what a great way to share your faith by inviting friends over to share Easter lunch (and you might as well invite them to Mass, too!).
This year we’re raising a pig so we can have Easter ham. So I guess we’ve been planning our Easter meal since the pigs were born in September. But we take our food pretty seriously around here! We also love to do asparagus for Easter and German Potato Salad, and then a gluten-free dessert of some kind. And friends and family usually bring over other scrumptious side dishes. What a joy to celebrate after a long Lent!
We’ve never done this, but I know my kids would love this Butter Lamb.
Consider how you’ll decorate. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated, but children love to have visual reminders of the Church seasons. Make your home look a little different during Eastertide than it did during Lent.
We take down all the purple cloth covering our crucifixes when we get back from the Vigil Mass and then use a lot of fresh flowers inside on Easter Sunday. We also love decorating with candles and now it’s a tradition to put these gorgeous Easter egg votives from Toadily Handmade Beeswax Candles in the kids Easter baskets and then we put them on the table to be beautiful during Eastertide.
And remember to keep the Eastertide celebrating going. Lent is 40 days, but Easter is 50!
Toadily Handmade Beeswax Candles, my favorite candle company, is offering a set of their 100% beeswax Easter Egg votives to a lucky Carrots reader. They are so lovely!
You can enter the giveaway three ways. You may enter once, twice, or do all three entries; however, be sure to leave a comment on this post for EACH entry. Otherwise, I will not know to count your additional entries. Entries from the U.S. only, please, due to shipping costs. Here are the guidelines:
1. Visit the Easter Egg votive page at Toadily Handmade and pin the image to one of your Pinterest boards (the “Pin it” share button is right under the Add to Cart button on the page) and leave a comment on this post saying you did.
2. Visit the Easter Egg votive page at Toadily Handmade and share on your Facebook timeline (the FB share button is right under the Add to Cart button on the page). Then leave a comment on this post saying you did.
3. Visit the Toadily Handmade website and tell us what your favorite product is in the comments of this post.
Giveaway ends Friday, March 11th at midnight EST and I will chose a winner with a random number generator.
Toadily Handmade Beeswax Candles is offering Carrots readers a discount code for 10% off their products! The code is Easter10 and will be good thru March 31st. All orders placed by March 19th will be shipped in time for Easter. So hop on over to their web site to pick out Easter basket fillers and gifts. They have gorgeous products!
This post is sponsored by Toadily Handmade Beeswax Candles. Giveaway products were provided by Toadily Handmade Beeswax Candles. All opinions are my own and I only share about products I love.