Spring into Action with Exciting Easter Celebrations

Has Spring worked its magic on you yet? It sure has lifted my spirits. This is the time of the year I feel most optimistic and confident. How about you?

Anyway, with Easter less than 2 weeks away, how is your family getting geared for this Spring holiday? Of course, you’ll probably be sending your friends and family free Easter Ecards or free Easter Printable cards at home. Besides that,

However you celebrate, we at gotfreecards send you our warmest wishes on the occasion of Easter. May this Spring holiday bring you renewed hope and enthusiasm and may it be a season of wonderful new beginnings.

Speaking of beginnings, did you know how the customs and traditions surrounding Easter started? The story of the Easter Bunny is an interesting one and it actually had less to do with the holiday and more to do with the time of the year – Spring is mating and procreation season for most animals and the rabbit(hare) represents fertility. Easter got its name from the festival celebrated in honor of the Pagan Goddess of Fertility, Eastre!

Many colorful stories and traditions are associated with this Christian holiday, which also coincides with Spring break for many in America.

So wherever you are and no matter how you celebrate, here’s wishing you a Happy Easter and a wonderful, beautiful, joyful spring.

Now, it’s your turn to send your loved ones the same wish with free Easter Ecards or free Easter Printable Ecards.

Spread smiles, love… and Spring cheer!

How to Have an Exciting Easter Every Year

OK. I’m done with winter. I am READY for it to make an exit. It’s been a pretty long and harsh few months and I can’t wait for warmer weather. Which, hopefully shouldn’t be too far away, considering Easter is around the corner. (April 4) So, have you thought about how to celebrate?

OK. I’m done with winter. I am READY for it to make an exit. It’s been a pretty long and harsh few months and I can’t wait for warmer weather. Which, hopefully shouldn’t be too far away, considering Easter is around the corner. (April 4) So, have you thought about how to celebrate?

No. I don’t mean how much you’ll spend on each Easter basket, or new clothes and hats, or on travel or whether you’ll tell your kids the story of the Easter bunny. But – how will you actually celebrate this wonderful time of the year? After all, the onset of spring is one of nature’s most spectacular displays. It’s not only pleasant on the eyes and a great time to venture outdoors after months of bitter weather, but it’s also symbolic. To many, spring also represent new beginnings of a different kind.

Now, my family doesn’t really celebrate Easter. But, in my online travels I stumbled upon some really cool Easter activities, crafts and games that I just couldn’t help paying attention to.

I know that the usual Easter egg hunt is fascinating in itself, at least for little ones.  But sometimes, for us adults, doing the same things over and over again every year tends to get monotonous. Planning the same menu, cooking the same meals, the same shopping trips, the same gifts, the same holidays – sometimes you need to break away a little from tradition to value tradition. What do you think?

If you feel the same way and are game for some exciting new stuff to try this Easter, why not try to make up some your own traditions? After all – most of the customs and traditions associated with Easter and other holidays, including Christmas, revolve around the idea of making it appealing and fun for kids. Santa Claus, stockings, Easter bunny, basketful of treats…it’s all about getting the kids excited and to encourage their participation in the holiday.

So, what if you were to create new traditions based on your child’s individual personality or taste?

From making your own Easter basket or Easter bunny from an old sock (http://familyfun.go.com/easter/easter-bunny-crafts-recipes-printables/sock-hop-841022/), to paper crafts, to coming up with Easter games that the entire family could play- did you know that there are countless ways to personalize Easter? Or for that matter any holiday.

Age-old traditions are important and have their place.
However, sometimes, making up little traditions helps to keep the enthusiasm alive.

For example,
* Instead of sticking to the same menu, this year, why not experiment with a new dish to replace one of the usual items. Find a new recipe that you and your child could try out together.
* Or, instead of going for conventional Easter baskets and bunnies, why not spend a couple of afternoons making them from things readily available around your home. (http://familyfun.go.com/easter/easter-crafts/easter-baskets/bunny-basket-665124/). You could use the opportunity to talk about recycling and the environment, or simply have a good time ‘making’ something with your kids. It doesn’t matter how well the crafts turn out, as long as you both had a good time and keep the spirit of tradition alive.
* You could come up with an Easter game(http://www.garvick.com/annual/easter/easter-games.htm) and make it a tradition to play the game every year after Easter lunch.  Or even come up with a new game every year.
* Or take a walk around your neighborhood and identify the different kinds of plants and trees, paying attention to the ones that already show signs of life.
* You could read up on the different ways in which spring is welcomed and celebrated around the world(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/03/25/spring-holidays-around-th_n_178955.html)and maybe add a few global customs to your Easter celebrations.
With just a little thought and effort, you can turn Easter and every holiday in the year into an exciting learning opportunity for everyone and a family bonding experience. Who knows, your kids may even grow up boasting to their friends that their mom’s holiday traditions were the coolest!

Oh! And don’t forget to add sending free Easter ecards and giving each other free Printable Easter cards to your list of new holiday traditions. That’s something you can do regardless of how you celebrate Easter!!

Celebrate a Greener Easter


If you have been thinking about going green, now is as good a time as any. What could possibly be more fun and fulfilling than planning an eco-friendly Easter with your friends and family!

 Simple changes in your normal Easter routine will go a long way in conserving the earth. Remember to involve your kids in the process and discuss with them the importance of your efforts.

  1.  Recycle Easter baskets. Use previous years’ baskets. Or save up and use the baskets that you get fruit arrangements or bouquets in. Be creative. Remember the bath kit you received as a gift? Wouldn’t the container make a wonderful Easter basket? How about that straw hat you bought years ago? Invert it, add a fabric handle and you have an Easter basket that’s one of its kind! And if you do buy new Easter baskets this year, remember to save them for the following years! 
  2. Fill ‘em with eco-friendly goodies. Choose healthier Easter treats and preferably those wrapped in earth-friendly material. You could choose organic or fair trade chocolates or other options such as jelly beans, or even crunchy carrot bites or gummy beans. Eliminate the use of plastic wherever you can. Why buy plastic grass when you can make a far cooler and eco-friendlier variety with paper, scrap or cloth? Also pay attention to the packaging. Come up with fun projects you can do with your kids. For example, you could recycle their art work or other paper and make gift wraps out of them. They will be thrilled to see their art work put to creative use.
  3. Buy local.  Whenever possible, buy produce that is grown locally. When you go shopping for the Easter meal this year, why not stop by the farmer’s market? You may end up spending a little extra, but don’t you think it’s a price worth paying? Besides, you’ll probably meet friendlier faces and even feel healthier at the end of the day!

 This Easter, why not start or renew earth-friendly traditions that will breathe new life into our planet? Do you have tips for an eco-friendly Easter? Please share them with us.

And don’t forget to send free, eco-friendly Easter Ecards to your family and friends.

Easter in America


Easter is one of small handful of religious holidays—the other notable one being Christmas—that is celebrated by most Americans.  Though Easter itself is a specifically Christian celebration, religious and non-religious Americans celebrate the day in fairly equal numbers.

Long before Jesus Christ, according to the Christian Bible, died for mankind’s sins and then rose from the grave on the day we now know as Easter, most societies already had a holiday in place that fell at roughly the same time as Easter does today, and which rivals Easter in terms of popularity.  This is because along with being the purported time that Jesus rose from the grave, the period after the first new moon of the vernal equinox has long been associated as a period of new beginning. 

      After a long and rough winter period, people who based their livelihoods on the environment around them—whether they be farmers or more simple hunter / gatherers—looked forward to the beginning of Spring, as it symbolized the start of another fruitful season of harvest and warm, pleasant weather, for many months to come.

      For this reason Easter in America has turned into a multi-faceted celebration.  Most American Christians begin the day by attending a church service.  The Easter service, commemorating one of Christianity’s most joyous days, is understandably more festive than other services of the year.  There tends to be more singing, less sermonizing, and an overall feeling of good will and cheer in the atmosphere.

From there, revelers return to their homes and, owing to the more secular, spring-related aspects of the Easter celebration, a great meal is prepared and enjoyed by all.  This may seem like a fairly standard part of religious holidays, but with Easter, the roots of the feast part of the celebration have a much more practical, specific reason: years ago, non-Christians who were celebrating the spring season, were so confident in the fruitful harvests to come that they would prepare lavish meals, inviting all their neighbors and family members who could make the journey: the message seemed to be, “we’re soon going to have so many new resources, that we can afford to make such a great meal today.”

Another aspect of the American version of Easter celebrations is the leaving of Easter baskets.  Like Santa Claus and the gifts he leaves underneath the Christmas Tree, the Easter Bunny is said to travel to the homes of children around the world, leaving baskets of candy for them on the night before Easter.  And the gift giving does not always end as the children grow up.  Again, like Christmas, where children receive toys when they are younger, and more “useful” gifts as they grow older, children go from receiving candy baskets on Easter morning, to receiving baskets that are a mixture of snacks and various, but useful, small gifts.  Many American young people even receive Easter baskets after they leave their childhood homes, and travel away to college, receiving care packages of various essentials and knickknacks around the time of the Easter holiday. 

      It may seem strange that such a decisively-religious holiday would be so widely celebrated in America, and in such a wide variety of ways.  But the way Americans celebrate Easter is actually rather symbolic of the country and its history as a whole: America has long been known as a melting pot of different cultures and customs, and so it only makes sense that its marking of the Easter holiday is such a mash-up of different celebratory styles.

What do you spend on an Easter basket?


Do you keep track of how much you spend on Easter basket goodies, gifts and clothes?

Will you be making a conscious effort to cut back this year?

 According to one survey, parents said they spend $15 on average on each Easter basket. Some parents feel that the things they buy end up cluttering the child’s room and they would rather not contribute to it. However, since they don’t want to break tradition or disappoint their kids, they end up spending on the same or similar Easter goodies year after year. Some parents do say they fill the Easter baskets with useful, quality gifts, but these usually tend to cost more, taking the price tag of each basket to upwards of $ 30. If you have two or more kids of your own and nieces and nephews, well, this adds up to a figure you may not be prepared to shell out, especially when times aren’t rosy. Plus, add the cost of new clothes, meals and travel, and Easter could become an expensive affair, much like Christmas. According to one study, Americans spent $14 billion on Easter in 2008. There are indications that the figure may decline this yearAnticipating this, retailers are marking down prices and offering greater discounts. So this means you may find better spring and summer bargains than previous years. Will that encourage you to spend more this spring and summer? Or will you stick to your budget and buy only what you originally planned?

 How much do you plan to spend on Easter baskets? Do you have any money saving tips? Share them with us!

 (One sure-shot tip to save time and money, is of course, to send free Easter ecards, instead of splurging on expensive greeting cards. Have you checked out our cheerful collection of Easter bunnies, beautiful eggs and Spring themes?) 

The Birth of the Easter Bunny


 So, how did the Easter Bunny get its name…and what does a bunny have to do with Easter eggs anyway?

Legend has it that the rabbit (actually, the hare) was a symbol associated with the ancient festival of the Pagans, celebrated in honor of the Goddess Eastre or Eostre. She was the Goddess of fertility and the festival marked the birth of new life. It  also coincided with the arrival of spring. Understandably, rabbits and hares, became associated with this Pagan festival owing to their fertility. Later, Christian missionaries, in the process of popularizing the Christian faith, adopted this Pagan symbol of fertility and incorporated it into the occasion representing the resurrection of Jesus which occurred around the same time of the year. The two festivals merged – Eastre became Easter, and the fertile rabbit became the Easter Bunny. The rabbit became a symbol of innocence and sacrifice, very similar to the lamb.

There are a few other stories that tie the loose ends of this unforgettable Easter character together.

In Germany, in the 1500s children were raised to believe that a bunny would bring them colorful eggs as gifts, if they behaved well. This tradition found its way to America in the 1700s. According to another legend, a group of kids once found colorfully decorated eggs hidden in the garden outside their home. Snuggled close to the eggs, as if in a nest, was a bunny, appearing as if it had laid the eggs. This image somehow found its way into folklore and thus paved the way for the now popular Easer Bunny. All these legends combined with the fact that giving decorated eggs as gifts was already a popular custom in Europe, gave rise to the Easter Bunny traditions we know today.

So there you have it. A bunny. A basket of colorful eggs. And a spring festival of fertility. All coming together to symbolize one of the most important occasions for followers of Christianity – the resurrection of Jesus. Easter 2009 is almost here.

How will you be celebrating? Will you be joining your family or do you live too far away? Are you taking your kids on an egg hunt? Or will you be celebrating the arrival of spring in your own unique way? Tell us!

No matter how you mark this occasion and regardless of whether you celebrate spring or life or Easter, there is sure to be something in our Free Easter Ecards section that will make you smile.

Wishing you a Happy Easter and a very joyful spring! Here’s to new beginnings…

Easter – Origins and Traditions

What I like the most about holidays is how they engage everyone in the family in activities of one kind or another. Take Easter, for example. It’s coming up in April and I know kids who are already excited about the Easter egg hunt, and the part where they get to color and decorate the eggs, about exchanging Easter gift baskets and visiting their cousins. But, it’s not just the kids who enjoy this holiday. It has a special significance for adults too. 

What is Easter?
Easter marks the Resurrection day of Jesus. It symbolizes a new life after death.

This is the essence of Easter Sunday, which falls on the first Sunday after the full moon following the first day of spring. It marks the end of Lent – the forty day period of preparation for the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and is a period of fasting and giving up sins. It ends on Easter Sunday, the day Jesus is believed to have come back to life.

Which brings us to the symbol most commonly associated with Easter

The Easter Eggs

Eggs represent life. And what better way to denote this renewal of life than with this universal symbol that people of all ages and cultures can relate to? There are several legends associated with Easter Eggs, the Easter Bunny and how they became embedded into this holiday.

According to one legend, Virgin Mary walked up to the soldiers at the Cross with eggs and while offering them the eggs, requested them to be kind. It is believed that after speaking to them, she began to cry. Her tears fell on the eggs which took on a brilliant splash of colors. This is probably how the tradition of coloring and decorating Easter Eggs began.

 Another famous story associated with the Easter Egg is that of the renowned goldsmith Faberge. He was commissioned by the Russian Czar to create a special Easter gift for the Empress Marie. His spectacular creation comprised of a Platinum shell egg which opened to reveal a golden one and inside the golden egg was placed a replica of the Imperial Crown. This first egg far exceeded the Czar’s expectations. In this way, the tradition of creating custom Easter Eggs as gifts for royalty began and was carried forward by several generations.

 Ornately decorated golden eggs were popular Easter gifts among royalty and affluent families of many countries for a long time. And the custom of gifting eggs, decorated with beautiful designs and colors continues to this day, signifying life, the birth of spring, hope and so much more.

 Where did the bunny come from?

But, what on earth does a bunny have to do with Easter? Or the eggs? How do you think the Easter Bunny was born? Leave your comments below. Our next post will have the answer.