Easter is the most important feast of the Christian year— so important that the church sets aside a full fifty days to celebrate Jesus’ victory over sin and death. Not many of us are used to sustaining an “Easter spirit” of celebration all the way to Pentecost, though, so here are fifty easy suggestions.
Don’t try to do them all! Each week, just pick a few ideas that work for you and your family. You’ll be rejoicing long after the last jelly bean is gone.
1. Light a special candle during meals to recall the light of Christ.
2. Every day, read together from the Easter story: Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20-21.
3. Plan fun family activities—one for every week of Easter.
4. Put up a sign or banner that proclaims, “He is risen!”
5. Was anyone received into the church during your parish Easter Vigil? Invite them over.
6. Add an “alleluia” song, or three alleluias, to your grace before meals.
7. Put on an Easter play. Invite relatives and friends to a performance.
8. Make a poster of a life-giving cross. Add paper flowers and leaves to it throughout the Easter season—and even beyond.
9. Celebrate new life by doing something as a family to support unborn children and their parents.
10. Keep fresh flowers around.
11. Use the traditional Easter greeting and response: “Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!”
12. Visit a lonely neighbor or do some other family act of kindness to express thanks for the resurrection.
13. Talk about baptism. Tell stories of family members’ baptisms.
14. Plan a family outing to a river, lake, stream, or ocean.
15. Drape your crucifixes and crosses with a strip of white cloth.
16. Make cookies in the shapes of Easter symbols. Freeze some to serve throughout the season.
17. Learn how other cultures celebrate Easter. Try out some of their customs and foods.
18. Make greeting cards announcing the good news of the resurrection.
19. Use a special container for newly blessed water from church. Show your children or grandchildren how to use holy water.
20. Throw some water balloons!
21. Listen to Handel’s Messiah and other Easter music.
22. Read about the Emmaus disciples (Luke 24:13-35); take a family walk.
23. What about a short trip to an interesting shrine or church?
24. Pray for peace and justice in the Holy Land. Consider helping the Christians who live there.
25. Discuss what it means to be Christ’s witnesses (Luke 24:48) and how each person’s witness matters.
26. Wear more white, even gold! They’re the season’s special colors.
27. Pray the Liturgy of the Hours together in the morning or evening (www.universalis.com).
28. If your family likes to sing and play instruments, have people over for a musical Easter celebration.
29. Read about the disciples’ amazing catch of fish (John 21:1- 14). Then go fishing together.
30. Or imitate Peter, and go swimming (John 21:7).
31. Give thanks for God’s goodness by praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet on the Sunday after Easter (http://thedivinemercy. org/message/devotions/ praythechaplet.php).
32. Talk about how the disciples hid (John 20:19) until the Spirit’s coming at Pentecost. Follow up by playing hide and seek.
33. Plant some seeds.
34. Honor the risen Lord’s mother by learning about the flowers in “Mary gardens” (www.mgardens. org).
35. Read Luke 24:50-53 or Acts 1:6-11. Ask family members to imagine themselves present at Jesus’ ascension. How would they have felt about it?
36. Watch a movie with an Easter theme.
37. Talk about how Jesus is truly present in the consecrated host. Visit an adoration chapel to pray before the Blessed Sacrament.
38. On Ascension Thursday, choose a family intention. Make the nine days till Pentecost a novena to the Holy Spirit.
39. Add some Pentecost red (for fire) to your Easter decorations.
40. Read Acts 2, the Spirit’s coming at Pentecost. Read it in all the languages family members speak. (See the Bible translations at www.biblegateway.com/ languages.)
41. Decorate a cake with Pentecost flames and other symbols to celebrate the birthday of the church.
42. Talk about the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (see Isaiah 11 and 1 Corinthians 12; also the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1830-1831).
43. Make a Pentecost hanging or mobile that features a dove and tongues of fire.
44. Learn a prayer to the Holy Spirit to use in your family prayer time.
45. Play “Twenty Questions”: Have someone choose a Bible character or something from the Easter and Pentecost stories. The group gets twenty questions (yes or no answers only) to guess the right answer.
46. List the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23; Catechism, 1832) on separate slips of paper. Have each family member randomly select a fruit to cultivate.
47. Fly a kite to celebrate the wind of the Holy Spirit.
48. Place an icon or picture of the resurrection, ascension, or Pentecost in a place of honor.
49. Make Sunday meals festive during the Easter season.
50. Every Sunday is a mini-Easter celebrating the resurrection. Brainstorm ways to celebrate the Lord’s day all year.