Even if you can’t travel to sit down at the same table for Easter dinner as a family, you can still celebrate “together.” 

By Karla Walsh
April 03, 2020
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While this “new normal” will never feel all that normal, if you have the time and resources to do so, it’s healthy and helpful to keep traditions alive, even throughout the coronavirus pandemic. We turned to social media to see how our readers are celebrating Easter dinner this year. “Easter always signals the start of spring for my family,” says J.Q. Louise, a BH&G reader from Boston, Massachusetts. “From Easter baskets to egg hunts to pastel goodies, it’s filled with fun memories throughout my childhood.”

Plus the rebirth and fresh start the holiday represents could not be more timely or relevant, as we adjust to this new season of life. “Easter ushers in the time when the garden starts to come to life and the trees are blooming. My herbs start to poke through the soil, and it signals a new season of cooking outdoors,” says Alice Knisley-Matthias of Staten Island, New York.

Credit: Peter Krumhardt

So whether you’re celebrating Easter morning with a visit from a bunny (who’s keeping a safe social distance) to help bring smiles to your kids’ faces or are enjoying an Easter brunch capped off with a half-bag of jelly beans during solo isolation (hey, it is a holiday!), our readers share some creative ways to cap off your Easter in a safe yet special style.

Livestream the Family to Dine Together, Rather than Sharing a Table

Whether you start with a virtual happy hour or hop right into Easter dinner, a call feels even more connected when you can see the people on the other end of the line. Try Zoom, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, or Skype to invite your friends and family to your virtual Easter dinner table.

That’s what Louise and her siblings plan to do, as the family will dine “alone together” via a group video chat.

“As this is the first major holiday we’ll be spending in isolation, it reminds me how difficult of a situation the world is in, and how grateful I am to live in Boston with my husband and to have the rest of my family just a phone call or video chat away,” Louise says. 

Or Even Better, Video Chat as You Cook and Bake, Too 

Why not extend the call to your prep time, too?

“Now that I’m an adult, a big focus of Easter is all the fun goodies I help my Mom make to celebrate the holiday. Since we can’t be together due to the pandemic (my parents live about an hour south) we plan to Facetime while we make our baked goodies separately,” Louise says.

While you might not be able to bump hips or fight over who gets to lick the batter-coated beaters, you can still master your Easter dinner menu as a team. From chopping ingredients to add to your Easter ham recipe to mixing the batter for an Easter cake, it’s all far more fun when you have a sous chef along for the ride. So set up a tripod (such as Joby’s Griptight One GorillaPod Stand, $24.99, Target) or stream through your computer and enjoy the prep time together via video chat as well.

Get Creative with Recipe Substitutions

Supermarket runs are rare and stressful these days (although these safety and sanity tips can help), so feel free to improvise to make Easter dinner recipes your own. No nutmeg? Try cinnamon. Short on eggs for baking? Mix a tablespoon of ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of water. 

Keep these ingredient substitutions handy if you’re in need of more guidance, and rather than feeling chained to a particular menu, roast the veggies you have tucked away in your freezer, toss in whatever fresh herbs are popping up in your herb garden, and add a protein and your favorite homemade bread. Boom: Easter dinner, done.

Or Skip Cooking Altogether

“Although I love to host and serve my family, I am looking forward to the slowness of the day," says Erin Huiatt from Grimes, Iowa. "We have been embracing a lot of that lately in our house with my husband, 8 year old, and 5 year old, and it will be nice to extend it through Easter Day." 

In honor of that, Huiatt plans to outsource the cooking and order an Easter family meal for curbside carry-out to support one of her favorite small, local businesses.

Host a Snack Dinner

If you’re not in the mood for a full lamb or ham feast, skip the savory and head straight to the sweet course with a DIY Easter dessert board. Round up your favorite crackers, fruits, chocolates, nuts, and candies, and just like an Easter egg hunt, use Easter dinner as an opportunity to put out some goodies that may be hiding in your cabinets.

Set the Table 

Even if your Easter dinner will be a small affair, dig out your favorite Easter decor and place settings, and dress up the table anyway. We were inspired by the legendary magazine editor Marian McEvoy, who has already set her Easter lunch table. Since you may need to set fewer settings than normal, take advantage of the extra space on the table to infuse even more color. Flowers are a lovely way to bring a taste of the outside in. (Just stick to faux if anyone struggles with seasonal allergies.) Try a simple yet classy eucalyptus table runner or fill empty spaces with clear vases filled with small, pastel-hued floral bouquets or stacks of decorated Easter eggs across the center of the table. Snag the flowers from your garden or order a no-contact delivery from a local florist. 

Attend a Virtual Service

In light of social distancing measures, many churches are broadcasting their Easter services via Facebook Live or other digital streaming services. 

“We’re planning to watch a live broadcast of mass on our computers,” Huiatt says.

You can also join a global audience to tune in as Pope Francis commemorates Holy Week from the Vatican. (Video timing and service TBD.)

Celebrate in Good Spirit(s)

Don’t forget to mix up a party drink (wine, cocktail, mocktail, anything goes) to perk up your Easter dinner.

“There is a sadness that this year’s Easter celebrations will not be the same as years past, but this will pass," Huiatt says. "Next year we’ll probably be back to hustling around cooking meals and hosting families."

Raise a glass and say a toast in honor of all you’re grateful for. Then tuck into bed and rest well, knowing you kept traditions alive while creating new memories throughout this not-so-normal time.


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