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What do you buy your kids for Easter?

After discovering that Easter is second only to Christmas in gift-giving holidays, Tracy wonders if her Easter bunny isn’t delivering.

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One of my all-time fave pics of Anna, Easter 2010, after an egg hunt.

I just read an alarming stat: In terms of gift-giving, Easter is the second biggest holiday of the year, next to Christmas. Could this be true? According to Toys “R” Us spokesperson Victoria Spada, it is.
 
She told The Globe and Mail that two of the company’s largest spring flyers revolve around Easter. She is quoted in the story as saying, “In general, gift-giving is on the rise for all kinds of occasions, and the uptick in sales during Easter simply reflects that trend.”
 
At first I was taken aback, but when put in terms of “gift-giving holidays,” it’s not so surprising. After all, who’s showering kids with presents for Halloween or Canada Day? Not you, right? At least, not yet.
 
What I did find interesting was the concept that gift-giving is on the rise for “all kinds of occasions.” Why do you think that is? Are parents just looking for reasons to buy stuff for their kids? Are retailers pushing consumers in that direction by, for example, featuring one of their biggest flyers of the year around Easter, or filling huge front-of-store sections with all things Easter (yes, I’m talking to you, Walmart)? It seems like every little calendar observance has a retail angle now. On the other hand, the timing of Easter is so convenient for purchasing: Spring has sprung and what better excuse to buy your kids things they’ll need for the summer — new skipping ropes, clothes, roller blades or, ahem, bikes — than to call them Easter gifts?
 
Skipping ropes and books are things I remember getting in my basket, or a new pair of shoes (which I now recognize as my parents cleverly disguising an essential purchase as a gift), but nothing more elaborate than that. I am a chocoholic, so as long as that essential was covered, I was happy.
 
We don’t overdo it for Easter here. I generally look in my secret closet of stashed on-sale items and pick out something (which I haven’t done yet, so I have my fingers crossed that there’s something suitable in there). We spend Easter at my parents’ place with my sister and her kids, so we have to coordinate what we’re giving so no one feels shafted, which helps to keep us both in line. Anna and Avery will each get something to play with, along with a book; I’m quite excited to give Anna Charlotte’s Web. I can’t wait to read it with her. But, like their mom, my kids will just be thrilled for a basket that includes chocolate treats, and the requisite Easter egg hunt.
 
What do you give your kids for Easter, and do you use it as an excuse to pick up things you’d have to buy anyway? Are you spending more as your kids get older?