Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Easter Bunny's thunder

Our local supermarket prepares for commercial success on Valentine's Day.
I do like the tulips, though...

Valentine's Day has just been taken to a new level. In my world, anyway.

I hail from a country where this particular day is targeted at couples. The only people who bother to exchange cards, flowers, chocolates (or whatever else they've been suckered into buying) are teenagers and adults. At least, that's been my experience of it.

And in Australia, it's not something for children, but over the years, I've seen - from American TV shows - that the children here exchange cards at school, so that wasn't a new concept. I'll be prepared to get out the glitter and glue for the Faery when she's at school next year.

However, in recent weeks, I've seen increasing attempts by advertisers and stores to get parents to part with their bucks for Valentine gifts for their offspring. That is a new concept to me.

Do I sound cynical about the day and its meaning? I probably am. J and I haven't participated in this ritual since we were teenagers ourselves. Neither of us really buys into the rampant consumer side of things.

If we want to show tokens of love and appreciation to one another, we'll do it when we feel the need. Surprises are a lovely thing. Flowers or chocolates because it's February 14th? I actually think that giving because it's expected makes it less special. I prefer surprises.

Lashes of pink, love hearts, and chocolate:
The 4-year-old Faery is sold on the idea

The amusing thing about this abundance of Valentine's Day displays is that very little attention has been given to Easter yet. In Australia, the chocolate Easter eggs would be rolled out into the shops, oh, maybe a week or two after Christmas? By February, entire supermarket aisles are devoted to the Easter Bunny. This has always seemed like overkill to me. Here? I've only seen one tiny display for Easter merchandise so far.

So this year, I'm having fun observing the varieties of Valentine's choccies on display, even if I don't really desire them for myself. Valentine's Day is stealing some of the Easter Bunny's thunder, just as Halloween steals a little of Santa's in America. The thought makes me grin.

There are a few things I'll miss about Aussie Easters while we're in the US, though. In terms of work, it's just a regular week and weekend here. We arrived just before Easter last year, and J began his exciting new job immediately. I was expecting that he wouldn't have to work on Good Friday and Easter Monday. I was desperately hopeful, because we'd only been here a week and had that newly arrived daze about us. A couple of days off would have been very helpful. No such luck though, and somewhat disappointing.

The other thing I'll miss? Warm hot cross buns, with melted butter seeping in. Actually, any hot cross buns will do. I didn't see any last year, and don't even know if people eat them here. I suspect not, and have a sad feeling it's a tradition that Australia inherited from Britain.

Hot cross buns are my favourite thing about Easter - even more so than the chocolate. Coming from a chocoholic like me, that's saying something. So please, if any American readers know of somewhere I could get my hands on a dozen - or two - speak up and let me know!

I suppose I could get off my butt and attempt to bake some, but I'm not entirely confident that emulating Nigella Lawson or Martha Stewart would be successful... but it could be fun.

My other option is to be on my best behaviour and write a nice note to the Easter Bunny. He might bring me some buns, right?... oh, wait... that's how Santa operates...



  1. No hot crossies??? And here they were, pushing the tinsel off the shelves here on January 2! Sacrilege!

    You can tell the Americans that in Australia, Valentine's Day is a day of mourning for a party of schoolgirls in white dresses who wandered off after lunch at the Hanging Rock and were never seen again. It is considered bad taste to exchange cards, chocolates or flowers however compasses and GPS units are a useful and always appreciated present.

  2. Ah... Picnic at Hanging Rock. Now there are some memories! Sitting in my Year Ten English classroom. Studying the book. Watching the film, and subsequently being called Miranda by the Chinese girls in my class, for the rest of the year (apparently I looked like her in the film).

    I'd also seen the film as a child, and was somewhat spooked when - on a visit to Victoria as a 12-year-old - taken to Hanging Rock by my relatives, who lived not far away. I was convinced something mysterious was going to happen. Such a haunting score to the film.

  3. You know, you do look like Miranda. My grandmother used to pay me that compliment too but to be fair, she was blinded by love.

    I hope you enjoyed your first US Valentine's Day.

  4. Yes, what is with Valentines for your kids?? I don't know about it. Is it the day of love, just plain love? Because yeah, I always thought it was a romantic love thang.

    Saw some cute as shit Valentiney stuff people had made for their kids on various blogs....and it did cross my mind to start a new tradition here.... Why must I make more work (and expense)for myself?

  5. There is some very cute as shit around. Slackarse mumma that I am, I didn't think to send stuff to our little friends in Portland, but yesterday the Faery and Miss Pie received the cutest little cards from their friends up north, along with some adorable stitched, felt love-heart hair clips that were handmade for them - I was so touched!

  6. WOW - that's a whole lot of Valentine's Day overkill right there!!!! Craziness. And yeah VD should be left for the lovers...i'm not a fan of it for the kids.

    OMG at no HOT CROSS BUNS!!! NOoooooooooo. They are my fave thing about Easter too....all buttery and toasted *drool*.

  7. Don't make me drool! I'm really hoping I can get my hands on some this year...