OPINION: Easter crackers have gone on sale at Kmart.
I’m taking it as a sign that retailers are trying to turn Easter into another Christmas, and it’s not the only ominous sign I’ve seen in the past week.
Easter was always the most low-key of widely observed celebrations. Even the poorest families could take part at the cost of a few dollars.READ MORE: * Easter egg trees are the new festive trend taking over Instagram * The rise of the home-made Easter egg Unlike Christmas, and birthdays, Easter never felt like a pressure event in a household, and I’d like to see it stay that way. The first sign I ran across was in The Warehouse on Sunday.
It wasn’t the array of chocolate eggs that bothered me. It was the display of “Easter gifts”.
Easter gifts? Is that a thing now?
I thought Easter was about families’ biannual trip to church, walks on the beach, and a chocolate egg for each child. I Googled “Easter gift”, and yes, Easter gifts are now a thing, or at least some retailers would like them to be. Sign two was in Bed, Bath and Table just across the road from work in the Auckland suburb of Ponsonby. There, I was surprised to find Easter decorations for the home.
These were bunny-themed decorations reminiscent of Christmas decorations.
Some looked like they needed to be hung on Easter trees.
Apparently, what some people are now doing is creating Easter twig trees to hang their Easter decorations from.
But if you’re not crafty, you could always buy an Easter tree. Kmart is selling them, alongside its crackers.
There’s even one retailer selling Easter wreaths for $29 each.
In the United Kingdom Easter crackers are growing in popularity, as The Guardian noted last month.
It seems they are getting popular here too.
I was lucky when I went to Kmart in the Westfield St Lukes mall in search of Easter crackers on Wednesday.
They had sold out, all except two packs in the window display.
A helpful staff member fished them out for me. A couple of ladies had overhead our intentions, and shadowed us to the window display.
They swooped in and snaffled one of the two packs, leaving me with the last one in the store.
It was ridiculous to be buying Easter crackers, we agreed. None of the three of us liked the idea of Easter becoming another Christmas.
And yet there are forces at work that want it to be.
Among the many marketing-hype emails I get sent daily are several inviting me to see what Easter decorative “trends” I might like to mimic.
And downstairs from the office, Countdown has a display of Easter cards, which I’m choosing to see as another sign that Easter is the new Christmas.
I dislike the retail trend of trying to turn low-key celebrations into shopping events.
The cost of living in New Zealand is already high compared to incomes, and families don’t need social pressure to spend up on mini-Christmases every few months.
Easter is great the way it is.
Moderate extra chocolate consumption never made Easter feel as irreligiously excessive as Christmas.
There are always choices to make at Easter, such as whether to source Fairtrade chocolate eggs so that for one day at least, you can be sure there’s no slave or child labour that’s gone into growing the cocoa your children are eating.
This year our household is not buying Cadbury’s, which has decided to mothball its Dunedin factory.
We have young children in our house and like to make our own Easter eggs.
We used to buy a block of Fairtrade Cadbury dairy milk to melt and pour into our moulds.
This year we’ve decided to go with a block of Whittaker’s Fairtrade Creamy Milk.