Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Easter Bunny deliveries with a difference.....

The only egg hunt I can remember from my days growing up in England, was the one from the Charlie Brown and Snoopy show.

British Easter Eggs
Easter morning, we would wake up and find that our British bunny had dropped off a plethora of Cadbury's (and sometimes Mars, or Nestle) Chocolate Eggs - like nothing I've ever seen on an HEB or Walmart shelf! These were eggs, not far off the size of an American football, encased in a hard plastic moulding, and packaged inside a bright coloured, kid-tastic shiny box.

The chocolate factory manufactures a different Easter egg (every year) for each chocolate bar (or candy bar as they're known on this side of the pond) - and sometimes as many as three Easter Eggs - all different sizes - per chocolate bar! These boxed hollow eggs are BIG business back home!

Typically you might find two (or three if you're lucky) candy bars enticingly displayed beside a gloriously shiny foil covered hollow chocolate egg. These alluring boxes would take up the entire first shopping aisle in the supermarket, and from Valentines to Easter, us kids would trawl up and down the aisle trying to decide which Egg we wanted the most.

I was always lucky enough to score maybe five (or more) of these boxes each Easter, and if I managed to hold out long enough (or my brothers didn't tap in to my hoard), I would savour them all spring long, dipping into the last of my stash around my birthday in June.

Our first Easter in Texas was a bitter disappointment for me - purely on a chocolate level. I hunted high and low for one of these boxed eggs, and the only thing to come close was a chocolate bunny wrapped in a shiny foil wrapper (no fun and unnecessary box to speak of). But 'close' (as they say) was no cigar, and the waxy chocolate I found inside didn't hold a torch to the divinity of a Cadbury's Buttons egg.

Thank god my Mum started mailing over a stash of Milky Bars (for the kids of course) to soften the nasty American chocolate blow. Admittedly, in the absence of Cadbury's, it didn't take Momma too long to acquire a taste for Hershey's Dark chocolate - after all, us chocoholic beggars can't be choosers. Sadly - after four years of training my taste buds - Hersheys is still no match (and never will be) for the coco delights that come out of Birmingham, England.

But I soon found out that, in America, Easter isn't about the chocolate (and no, I'm not referring to the resurrection of Christ) - It's about the candy of course (more commonly known to us Brits as sweeties, spice, or confectionery)!

Instead of large over-packaged chocolate eggs lining the shelves, here there are baskets and baskets of candies, and little plastic eggs, and Easter toys, blocking the entranceway to every Grocery store.

I'd seen these plastic eggs before - back home - as my twin brother used to collect them at the seaside. He'd get them out of a slot machine - each one having a little toy to construct inside. I remember him storing his booty on the windowsill of our Aunt and Uncles caravan.

The American bunny likes to put candy (or toys, coins and trinkets if she's on a diet diet) in these eggs and hide them around the back garden early Easter morning. Local organizations will ask the busy bunny to hide hundreds of these treasures in a Church field, or playground for the local community kids to collect throughout the Easter 'Holiday' season.

Good Friday egg hunt
Once our first boy was big enough to walk and carry a basket (last Easter) he participated in a few toddler hunts - the word 'hunt' is a bit of a stretch ! It's more like gathering apples scattered in an orchard. This year, however, he's well on his way to turning three, so the bunny 'upped the anty' a wee bit, and plastic eggs were hidden and balanced inside and around his play-scape.

I can't take full credit for that stroke of genius - We had an Easter-experienced Momma and her brood over for Good Friday festivities, where the 'bunny' did a mock-up egg hunt, and this novice Momma paid attention! We also dyed hard-boiled white eggs from the store - and the kids (and Mommy) had our first go at wax scribbling on the eggs, then dunking them in dye - what a fun tradition!

I've been taking notes from my Texan sister-in-law for years on how to handle the 'Holidays' for kids, and finally I can put some of these skills into practice! There had been some debate in my mind about whether or not to adopt the American ways, or stick with what traditions I can remember from growing up. Silly Momma..... Surely I can gleam the bits I like best from both sides of the pond! Besides when it comes to Easter in Yorkshire, we didn't do anything but eat chocolate!

Baskets from the Texan Easter Bunny

On Easter morning, the Yankee bunny - working this area of Texas - left a basket of small toys (with some Kinder Hippo's from Granny Bunny), a little like a Christmas stocking, for each wee one. It was dark when our eldest came scurrying out of his room to check the basket he'd set out the previous evening, and the carrot he'd left for Mr Bunny had vanished without a trace!

Our eldest boy looking
 for eggs, Easter morning
After the kids had exhausted rooting through their baskets, Mommy let them munch away on a Kinder Hippo each - which took the best part of an hour for our eldest who loves to savour candy. Then as soon as there was sufficient light, we all headed outside (empty baskets in little hands) in search for the bunnies hidden treasures...

I'd purchased a bumper bag of plastic eggs from Target, with lots of fun fillers (to pass on to the bunny of course) - but in the end we didn't need any of them! The eggs that our eldest collected at two local hunts were enough to feed the five thousand, and me - ever the conscientious (and thrifty) Mommy - would only let the boys reap a single spice reward after each egg hunt before speedily stowing the teeth rotting goods away. Only to bring the same pre-loaded eggs out again, for our own Easter egg hunt.

I'm sure we'll only get away with that trick for another year or so!

Oh, but this year Cadbury's Mini eggs, and Cream eggs were everywhere! No big bulky over packaged shiny boxed eggs, but still, Cadbury's! Apparently the Cadbury's Creme eggs HAVE been around on this side of the pond for eons (how my choccie driven eyes have never clocked any on the shelves before now is beyond me!). If the little cream filled eggs made it over here, why haven't the rest (or at least the best) of Cadbury's collection made the journey?

I bought my bumper bag of Cadbury's Mini eggs with honorable intentions (truly I did) - that wasn't me with my eyes glazed over in target, uncontrollably salivating, while racing to the check out - but not a single Cadbury's Mini Egg made it into our Easter Bunny's hunt.

I don't feel so bad, Mommy needed her nightly choccie fix during our Downton Abbey catch-up marathon (I must have been the only Brit left on the planet who hadn't heard about that particular TV gem), and, after all, I was 'sharing' them with baby bump and Daddy, who miraculously managed to steal a couple when I wasn't looking.

The boys can't miss what they've never had and it would just be cruel to get them addicted to a crack candy delight we can rarely get our hands on this side of the pond - especially when they are already happily hooked on the local nasty candy!

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