With Passover here and Easter weekend at hand, there is a markedly different feel to the proceedings this spring.
Scratch plans to have the extended family over for a big meal. The Easter egg hunt in the local park is off. Forget about a parade.
And of course, leaving the home for non-essential purposes is discouraged.
Some politicians, however, have embraced the holiday spirit.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Quebec Premier Francois Legault both declared the Easter Bunny an essential-service worker, with Ford stating the figure is ”authorized to deliver Easter chocolate, candy and related treats to the children of Ontario.”
But parents who feel pressure to put on the annual treasure hunt — even though the Bunny can’t deliver treats in playgrounds, parks and recreational areas at this time — should ”cut themselves a bit of slack,” said Ramona Pringle, an associate media professor at Ryerson University.
“I think that there are ways to maintain normalcy despite the fact that nothing feels normal right now,” said Pringle. ”A lot of it is just re-shifting our dependence on the consumer side of our activities and the way that we celebrate these holidays.”
Pringle, whose areas of expertise include collaboration, creativity and digital culture, said it’s important to try to connect with family and friends online if possible.
She added the holidays offer a chance to get crafty or try some things in the kitchen, hopefully reducing panic that parents might feel about racing out to the store to get things like chocolate eggs.
“I think that there’s ways to really be creative that in some ways kids might enjoy even more.”
Pringle said using construction paper to make eggs and rainbows would be a fun activity, as would getting dressed up for a virtual holiday dinner with family.
COVID-19 circumstances have dictated that the holidays may not be perfect, which can be a tough reality for parents or hosts.
Marina Milyavskaya, an associate psychology professor at Carleton University, said an adjustment of expectations is what’s needed.
“It’s OK to set the bar lower given what’s going on,” she said. “And no matter what you do, it’s good enough.”
With stress and anxiety already higher than normal, Milyavskaya suggested keeping holiday events low-key.
“You don’t want people to burn out trying to maintain a high level,” she said from Ottawa. “It’s probably not feasible, not realistic, especially if you’re juggling kids at home and a job and whatever it is you’re trying to do.”
Despite social distancing edicts, the Easter Bunny and tooth fairy can still visit, said McMaster University marketing professor Marvin Ryder.
“We just have to do it in a way that is consistent with the new realities of the coronavirus,” Ryder said from Hamilton, Ont.
“But I think you have to seize onto these moments to just remind us that our humanity is still there.”
So instead of a traditional chocolate bunny, maybe see if there is cocoa and sugar in the cupboard to make something different. Perhaps Mom or Dad can come up with a new Easter morning surprise and get just as big a pop from the kiddies.
In other words, try to have some fun with it and see what happens.
“Grab on to those moments of humanity,” Ryder said. “This is a great one coming up.”
Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press