Dear Crabby, When Did Easter Get So Expensive?

Dear Crabby,

Last Sunday I was looking at the ad circulars in the newspaper and holy cow – I couldn’t believe all the things they are trying to hock for Easter – especially the baskets for kids. When did the holiday get so crazy… and expensive?

E.B. O’Hare


Dear Mr. O’Hare,

Have you heard of people celebrating half birthdays? Well, that’s what Easter has become – the half birthday of Christmas. I even have a niece who goes overboard on Easter because her kid has a birthday close to Christmas. Look. Based on all the commercials I see plus the ad circulars that clutter my Sunday paper, most kids are doing just fine in the toys and gifts department. What I find interesting are how two holidays supposedly centered around religion have become so commercial. Now I don’t have a problem with the Easter Bunny (or Santa Claus for that matter). No, what gets me in the production of it all.

Back in my day, Easter meant going to church. My mom might have a new dress and my dad would sport a new button-down shirt on occasion. Pretty sure my sisters had Easter bonnets and us boys (begrudgingly) wore a tie to please mom. Unless something catastrophic happened, our baskets stayed the same every year. There was no theme or personalization. Just a plain basket – I don’t even remember if we had of that plastic (or was it cellophane?) Easter grass. There was usually some sort of candy (that we weren’t allowed to take to church), maybe a small treat, and of course the dyed Easter eggs we collected from our hunt. Pretty simple and straightforward. Fast forward to today and let’s just say I’m glad I don’t have to keep up with the Joneses when it comes to Easter. First, let’s talk about dragging your darling offspring to a mall in order to wait in what is sure to be a long line. You know every parent in that line is secretly praying said child does not scream or cry once he/she is face-to-face with the Easter Bunny. And it’s not just about getting a picture anymore. Nope. Now you have to pick which photo package you want. At Great Lakes Crossing Outlets, the Bunnyville photo packages start at a mere $26.99. What is this, Olan Mills? Once you’ve captured the moment, it’s time to stuff your basket.

Dear Crabby sits infront of his laptop

Dear Crabby Gives Advice

If you aren’t a DIYer Easter basket filler – have no fear. Companies have gotten wise and have colossal themed baskets that come already assembled! There are baskets for little tykes, gourmet foodies, chocolate connoisseurs, sports fanatics, and more. Of course, the presentation doesn’t come cheap, so expect to pay anywhere from $25 to well over $100 dollars for five minutes of frenzied excitement from the recipient. Even if you love hunting and pecking for just the right stuffers, it’s gone so far beyond candy it isn’t even funny. Today’s Easter basket needs toys, books, DVDs, CDs, jewelry, bubbles, stickers and so on. You name it and stores are hawking it to go into the Easter basket. Mark my words. In eight months, retailers will swap out ‘basket’ for ‘stocking’ in all their ads.

If you are all about the candy like I am, did you know Easter is the second best-selling candy holiday in America after Halloween? I read that more than 16 billion jelly beans are made in the U.S. each year for Easter. I’ll admit I’m a bit of a jelly bean snob. For my money, Jelly Belly is the best. And don’t even think about trying to sneak any of those nasty licorice jelly beans into my basket. Blech. As for the top-selling non-chocolate candy? Those sugary sweet marshmallow Peeps, who according to the folks who make them, Just Born, have a shelf life of two years. And people used to worry about the red dye in M&Ms.

So, there you have it. Over the years Easter has morphed into pre-Christmas without most of us batting an eye. As for me I’m keeping it simple and enjoying a good meal with Mrs. Crabby. Then on Monday I’ll head out to Target or Meijer and buy my jelly beans half off.

Enjoy the holiday!
Dear Crabby

About Dear Crabby

Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at

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