Why I Don't Have an Easter Dress This Year

The first Easter I was married, I cried (and threw a bit of a hissy fit) because my husband of three months said we didn't have enough money for an Easter dress.

So, I called his mother.

I got two dresses that first wedded year.

And so when I randomly say on Twitter:

I am married to the best man I know.

about 13 hours ago via TweetDeck

Now, you know why.

For me, Easter has always held an air of excitement. And it hasn't always been about Jesus (see above). Our world has pushed Him out of His own Resurrection Day and I've followed along. Stores are stuffed with Easter Apparel, chocolate bunnies and pastel junk.

What will my kids wear on Easter Sunday?? What will I wear??

Um, who cares? (Can I say that? Yes, because clearly, I've cared too much in the past). I don't have a problem with a pretty coordinating outfit, but if that is our ONLY preparation for the Holy Day, then we've become just like the world.

The world has taken Christ out of Easter and made it an overblown holiday about a bunny and new clothes.

I was watching a video with my 3 year old this week about The Easter Story. When they showed Jesus in the Garden of Gethsamne, praying, alone with his closest friends, snoring in the background, I cried.

But I saw myself in the slumbering disciples. Yawning away the significance of the day, consumed with myself in His moment.

I don't want to be asleep anymore. When He shows me the poor, I want to be alert. When He moves me with compassion for the lost, I want to jump.

I'm awake and it feels good.

This year, I have no idea what I'm wearing on Easter (and if you do, I'm truly happy for you. My kids are wearing clothes I bought off season last year. I'm just wrestling with myself here and you're getting to read it) and I'm completely fine with it.

I'm rebelling to the way I've lived. I'm opposing my own love of the world and all it's stuff.

I'm preparing my heart for Him.

[*Y'all know this isn't really about a dress, right? It's just about me caring too much about a dress and a lot of other unimportant things. Africa is helping me see differently, more clearly.]

(disclaimer: there WILL be Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs. . . because I'm not that holy)

How are you preparing for Easter?


Muthering Heights said...

I actually posted this week about how I'm not doing anything this year except preparing my heart, and my children's hearts for the significance of the day!!!

We will dye eggs {we will start doing Resurrection Eggs next year}, but other than that, we're not making a traditional "fuss." Just learning about Jesus.

Lara said...

Along similar lines, I really don't want to do Easter baskets. My kids have enough stuff, I won't let them eat loads of candy, and don't we have enough holidays with gifts? Can't this one be kept sacred?

With regard to clothing, my little girl is wearing a beautiful hand me down smocked dress and my boy is wearing khakis and an oxford. I found a sweater vest for him for $7 and a hat that coordinates for her for $3 at Children's Place. I think it's okay to dress children nicely for Easter, but I am not about to spend a lot of time and energy on it.

Kristen said...

I'll have to go read that -Muthering Heights :)

I agree,'s not about the clothes. I LOVE for my kids to look cute. For me, it's a heart matter. I just have gotten sucked into the hype in the past.

The G Fam said...

I totally relate. My mother would make my sister and I matching (usually '80's floral print) Easter dresses every year. It can be hard to switch our focus when frilly dresses, fuzzy bunnies and chocolate eggs are throwing our gaze elsewhere. Our pastor mentioned something the other day that has stuck with me this week-'Broken, so that I am whole.' This is an opportunity to celebrate our wholeness because of a His great sacrifice.

Kaela said...

I've lurked long enough. I had this same realization today staring at my baby's closet. "What will we wear?" and then I heard, "who cares?". It's so easy to want to keep up with the Jones', right? Thanks for this post! Lord, make my wants eternal and not material - this is my daily prayer.

mer@lifeat7000feet said...

I don't know if I've ever commented on your blog before, but I want to tell you that I LOVE seeing how Africa has stretched and shaped your heart.

We do buy our kids "Easter clothes" but it's kinda preposterous because 95% of the time we wear jeans to church (our church is super casual). It feels different and special to dress up on Easter.

And as for Easter baskets, we do them, but for the last 10-12 years, the Easter bunny visits our house on Friday night. That way the kids can eat candy and play with whatever is in their basket all day Saturday, keeping Sunday free to focus on Jesus!

Jennifer said...

Ohhh.. so true! We decided this year that our daughter is wearing a dress we bought at the end of summer last year. We did have to buy a sweater to go over it and tights to go under it because it's still chilly here in the mornings.

We're doing an Easter basket, but it has a Veggie Tales movie, a Gigi God's Princess devotional book, and one pack of Peeps (her favorite). Friday we'll dye eggs and watch the Easter video from Tommy Nelson's Jesus series. Then it's church and a celebration of Jesus on Sunday.

I've struggled with being too BUSY this time of year. I've intentionally slowed down over the past couple of days so that I won't be frazzled on Sunday. That's no way to start a celebration day!

Melissa said...

I love this post. And I couldn't agree more. My kiddos will be dressed to the nines (thanks Nana) but hubby and I will dust off last year's Easter clothes and be happy about it. Yes, this is a wonderful day of celebration and joy but it is sacred none the less...not so much about an egg hiding bunny. My kiddos are little so I'm trying to teach them that early. We have been reading the book What is Easter by Michelle Medlock Adams but I'm going to lifeway tomorrow to look for a dvd on Easter for little ones. If you have a suggestion I would love to hear it.
Thanks again for this post!

Grateful for Grace said...

This is my favorite week of the year and Sunday, my favorite day!

This is what we do because ... well... because:

Robin said...

Thank you for this post. I'll be wearing jeans and a t-shirt on Easter Sunday this year because I'll be taking care of the one year olds in the nursery. Our family will attend the Easter service on Saturday night and I'm not going to worry about what we will all be wearing. I'm much more concerned about the condition of our hearts.

Blossom said...

I love reading your blog. It's perfect (in a messed up sorta way..uh, no offense!).
Have a wonderful weekend! and Easter ;)

Hillary @ The Other Mama said...

So very true. And I haven't the slightest clue what my oldest son, my husband and my big ole pregnant self are wearing. My little guy has an outfit that I bought for him LAST year at a consignment sale and I'm delaying potty training him until he wears it. 'Cause THAT'S what Easter's all about.
And some Reese's eggs. :)

Rena said...

This Easter dress thing has been gnawing at me. I wanted one. Would've loved one. Would've love a new dress. Period. But if I'm realistic, we just don't need to spend the money on one. Okay--we don't really HAVE the money for one.
The little one has one. Well, hopefully it will arrive tomorrow morning. I ordered one I found on another blog. GREAT deal. I'm thankful.
Big Mama asked about the Easter dress recently as well. Tonight, you really hit home. Sure, within itself it isn't wrong. Yet, I find myself asking the same questions you have. And what I want more than anything else is more of Him. If I don't grasp the reality of what this weekend is all about, well, then I'm much like those mannequins in the Old Navy commercials--bright and frilly, yet without life and stiff.
Farewell pomp and fluff! I've had enough of you. I do believe I'm joining you and rebelling against my Easter dress.

Rena said...

I will have a side of chocolate as well, though. ; )

TDM Wendy said...

Until reading this post I didn't know adults were even supposed to have Easter Dresses. Dead serious. I've seen kids all decked out . . . but I guess I never noticed the women. Shows you just how fashion savvy I am. Maybe it's because I am from California??? Or maybe I am just totally fashion backwards... or both.

Brandy said...

That was an awesome post. Its funny because this is the first year in a very long time that I have even had a passing thought about wanting an 'Easter' outfit. I have felt a bit discombobulated with trying to figure out just how to celebrate this year. Some really good friends that we usually have a Passover Seder with are out of town this year. We did the Resurrection Eggs with our kids together last year, but I guess this year we will just be me, my husband and son. And that's ok.

Very nice post.

Stacey said...

chalk another one up to the "what I don't want to get caught up in" club...(in fact I love the comments you make about materialism taking over Jesus' special day) i enjoyed easter baskets and dresses as a kid, but have not yet felt compelled to do the same for my own kids. but, I don't know what to replace it with. to just ignore the distractions is not enough. it seems to me that there should be more preparation than only watching a video ... So, how else can one "prepare" for Easter?

Nicole @Team Pipkin said...

You know, I totally agree. Its not about the clothes you wear. I was totally stressing about buying a dress (even though I was looking for a good deal) but gave up. I'm not a "dressy kind of gal". so I'll wear whatever I find that morning to put on for church. My MIL sent my daughter an Easter dress so I only had to buy her tights. Not only will we be celebrating Jesus but its also my birthday. We will be staying home this year.

the J in PJs Til Noon said...

Mmmmm. Peanut Butter Eggs. I cannot resist them. I don't even try anymore.
No new dress for me either. But I'm ok with it.
Good post. Putting the focus where it belongs, it's easy to get distracted.

Cheri said...

We used to go to a church where everyone dressed up for everything. It was sickening. We moved and we now attend a very casual church. We will all be wearing jeans to our service on Saturday night.

And I'm guessing Jesus won't care what we wear.

* Nancy * said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

I've been thinking about Easter a lot this year, I have a three year old boy, and I am contemplating what traditions I want my child to grow up with.
Our focus in our home will be Jesus. We may do some egg decorating for fun too. :)

Lizzie Ann said...

Excelent post! It made me re-think what this holiday means to me! I have nominated you for the "Beautiful Blogger" award. Check out my blog for the award.

jenlar3 said...

I agree with all the comments about Jesus not caring what we wear, it is a heart issue, etc... But, I also remember in the OT when God gave directions for the various temples to be built that He directed the Israelites to use gold and other expensive, beautiful furnishings. When sacrifices were made, only the best animals were to be sacrificed, and the best parts of the animals were offered to God. I know those are all OT examples, but I notice that God expects (demands?) the best from us. I think it is important to find a balance. Yes, we do need to make sure it is our Hearts we have prepared properly for Him, but I think it is okay to give Him the best of what we have in way of clothing, cleanliness, etc. And I think it is good for our children to learn that.

Some years ago when I studied the Proverbs 31 woman, an author I was reading at the time said that if Prov. 31 woman could talk about her appearance 1 out of 25 verses(double check the numbers, this is just how I have remembered and internalized the lesson) then it must be okay for US to pay attention to our appearance 1/25 hours (not necessarily all at once). Basically, keep things in perspective. I just now wondered how many verses talk about feeding her family, clothing her family, etc

Anyway, heart first, give your best to God within the balance of your life. Happy Easter...He is Risen!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm so dang proud of you.

Your Frugal Friend, Niki said...

Since our kiddo is 5 and still in preschool we try to strike it somewhere in the middle. Yes, the "bunny" does come. But the basket is rather simple now, although I am ashamed to admit we went overboard for his first easter. We got overexcited.

Now that he is old enough to understand we have brought Jesus into the picture (when he was about 3). We attend church regularly, take him to children's church events the week before Easter. We read books and really discuss what Jesus must have been feeling.

We will dye eggs and make the empty tomb cookies this weekend.

We will make an effort to look our best at church but all our duds were bought second-hand and are simply bought for spring in general so they can be worn again (khakis and polos and such).


Myra said...

Kristen, this post has touched my heart in an incredible way. The world has done to Christmas the same thing it has done to Easter - pushed Christ out of His own birth and His own resurrection.

I grew up in a Pastor's home where we were "weird" and didn't celebrate Easter with all of the hoopla that the world puts into it. We celebrated Resurrection Sunday.

Looking back, I'm SO appreciative of the training and "weirdness" that my parents instilled in me.

It's so much more about worship and heart preparation/adoration than new clothes and candy.

Thanks for sharing!

HappyGirl said...

I'm so relieved the read this blog post and other comments. I was walking around the store the other day, shopping for food, and passed the Easter dresses. I hadn't even thought about what to wear, for me or my children! I kind of felt bad about it, until I read all of this.

Our church is outward focused, so we've been doing a lot of things to reach the community. I have barely thought about Easter dinner.

And I too, will be wearing jeans to church this weekend. Thank you, Jesus, for Your great sacrifice.

bridget {bake at 350} said...

Love this post, Kristen! I'll be dusting off some old duds as well...and I'm pretty sure we'll be at sunrise mass where it will be too dark to notice! ;)

I am relieved about the Reese's eggs. THOSE are mandatory!

Kristen said...

You guys *WARM MY HEART* I have the best readers ever:) I did want to say that I'm still doing baskets for my kids...they just have a couple of things they need (like a new Bible for one, etc). We're just keeping it on Him this year.

Abbie said...

Easter has changed for me as I have grown in my walk with Christ. I still enjoy coloring eggs(Mmm egg salad sandwiches.. ;p)and one must enjoy a little chocolate but I am really working at focusing on what this holiday really means. I hope to teach my children that its okay to enjoy some candy and eggs but its even more important to stop and reflect and meditate on that fact that Jesus dies for our sins so we can go to heaven. That is the meaning of Easter and I hope as a parent I can teach that to my kids as well as remind myself as well.

JLS said...

Great writing and I say AMEN!

I just love it when God allows us a good clear look at what is truly important. Being prepared for worship is one of them.

I enjoyed today's post. Thanks.


Melanie said...


I heard your heart in this post. I agree with everything you said... especially because I have been guilty of making Easter all about 'me'. I want to focus only on Christ and I long to see Him, hear Him, and really love Him.
Beautiful post.

God Bless you and your family! He continues to use you in a mighty way for Him. You are surrounded by prayers.

~ ~

Wander said...

I feel so different myself over the Easter dress/clothes importance. Years ago (not too many) I would've cried too had we not been able to afford new stuff. But I really don't have even a twinge of desire to focus on that.
My perspective is just not the same.

I want to be real with myself and God. His death & resurrection mean way more than some fancy new clothes!

I'm growing up....I think!

Leslie said...

I am so right there with you. While I think it is wonderful that people want to dress their best to celebrate, it shouldn't cause stress or hardship {I'm thinking about Christmas preparations as well}. Thx for reminding me what Easter is REALLY about.

JanMary said...

Never really had the "new Easter dress" thing here, but so true about the real meaning being lost.

Linked to this post on my latest blog post :)

Have a wonderful and meaningful Easter.

Mel said...

Again, one of your posts brought tears to my eyes and conviction to my heart.....I am guilty of the same thing every year...keep writing! I just started following the blog when you went to Kenya...and it broke my heart. I won't lie and say I have completely changed my life in a couple of weeks, but they eyes of my heart have been opened, and I find myself wanting some thing more.....more of Him....and less of me. Thank you. Seriously. Thank you.

Melanie York (from another THAT family)

Kristina Joy said...

I have been reading Journey to the Cross to my kids,


and have been reading The Passion of Jesus Christ by John Piper for myslef, and I made Ann Voskamp's Easter tree.


We also use the resurrection eggs.

I didn't buy myself an Easter dress either. I did buy my girls Easter dresses (on sale of course) at Target and this was only at the prompting of my husband who remembered my panic the day before Easter last year when I realized my girls had nothing that fit that would even pass for a spring dress, let alone an Easter dress!

Thanks for sharing! Right on!

Working Mom said...

My family will be clean and presentable but not in new clothes - neither Hubby or I got them as kids, and we've never done it with ours.

The EB will come and leave a path of eggs to the baskets - small, some chocolate, and usually a family movie or a book and some small game (most of which I have stockpiled).

Then we'll go to Mass. Easter is big this year in our town, because we have a very large Greek Orthodox community, so everyone will be in church. Then home for a bit of brunch, then to my parents for an afternoon of family and friends, eating and laughing. My favorite way to spend a Sunday!

Prudy said...

I did get a dress this year. Just something I felt like doing. But I have been trying to refocus my mind and heart on the sacrifice & redemption. Because you're right that is what it's about. I can look pretty on the outside but if my heart is all grunged up with unconfessed sin then I may as well have rolled around in a pig pen in my Easter dress.

jeana said...

You're absolutely right. I've been feeling the same way this year and made a post about how we're preparing our hearts. I love the part where you said youu imagined yourself sitting back and yawning...really makes you think! God Bless you this Easter.

Stephanie said...

We've never done new Easter clothes and I'd love to tell you that it's b/c I wanted to put the focus on Christ. But it's more b/c we can't afford it. Last year was the first year I really struggled with our focus. We started going through a book of Passion Hymns last year and we did it again this year. But this year we're all sick, bummer. Anyway, this is a great post and from the comments it's clear lots of folks feel the same way. Happy Easter.

Stephanie said...

We've never done new Easter clothes and I'd love to tell you that it's b/c I wanted to put the focus on Christ. But it's more b/c we can't afford it. Last year was the first year I really struggled with our focus. We started going through a book of Passion Hymns last year and we did it again this year. But this year we're all sick, bummer. Anyway, this is a great post and from the comments it's clear lots of folks feel the same way. Happy Easter.

Why Momma Loves the Maxi Dress said...

I went through this 'change' over 10 years ago now. I had had a new dress every Easter for my whole life. ANd my husband and I haven't been able to afford one since we were married. Lucky for him I am a sewer and thrift shopper. Lucky for me, that the Lord took my 'idols' early in our marriage!

Erin said...

Beautiful life, as in Easter services, it NEVER about the dress, but I think the dress is easier to deal with and so that is where we focus our attention.

Tim said...

You are so right Kristen. Thanks for that great reminder. We have never had a problem with what we wear on Easter, but there have been plenty of other things that this post hit home with. Thanks for being a blessing during the Africa trip and since.

Kristen said...

On how to prepare for Easter--

I think it's by examining your there sin..are there wrong motives...can you take up your cross and follow Him? To me, Easter is a time of reflection and remembrance. Remembering His great sacrifice for us and reflecting on what forgiveness offers you. It is also a call to action, to share Easter with others.

Cathy said...

I love this post.

Because I used to be one of those that HAD to have a new outfit and after having kids, HAD to buy them Easter outfits each year. Well, the last couple of years financial hardship itself has changed my way of thinking. I realized how worldly my thinking was. This year I probably could have scrounged up some money to buy new outfits, but we're trying to honor God in our finances by getting out of debt, tything, etc, so we've "sacrificed" the clothes that aren't really "needed" anyway.

I'm not saying it's not okay to have a new outfits, but our family has other responsibilities that come first right now and I'm okay with that. (most of the time. You know, until discontent rears it's ugly head in me:)) I have to say the kids don't know the difference and my attitude and focus is more where it should be.

Oh the idols I find in my own home when I'm not even looking for them...


Brenda Susan said...

Same here. When my boys were little I struggled with getting them & myself special "dress up" clothes for Easter Sunday, but that is history & I were normal clothes every sunday. Seems kind of silly now that I think of it through reading your post.

The one SPECIAL thing we are doing is eating MY cooking! Once a year!

Maria D. said...

I beg to differ. Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs ARE holy, because there is no way they could have come anywhere but from heaven. ;-) Have a wonderful Easter!

Cindy@Cutepinkstuff said...

I love this post for many reasons. It's a reminder of the true meaning of Easter. Not just a reminder, but a reminder TO ME! I've forgotten Gethsemane and remembered to buy goodies for our egg hunt. I like that you can put yourself out on a limb not worried about what bloggers will think/judge. Thanks for sharing your heart at a time when I needed it most!

Stacy said...

I love following your blog! Thanks for the little kick in the pants reminding us that God doesn't care about the inside, he cares about our HOLINESS. And, I hear you about the peanut butter eggs - I'm convinced they will be in heaven and they will be calorie free and delicious!!

Jennifer said...

I know exactly what I am wearing for Easter. A dress I have had for 4 years now. God doesn't care what we wear, he just wants to be in our hearts.

Anonymous said...

I'm liking that call to action part, as you've shown here and through the growth in your walk. You are, indeed, forever changed my friend.

Hold to that, and refuse the path of complacency that leads to where we once were and keeps us ignorant of His plan in us.


Jenn @ Beautiful Calling said...

My little ones still get Easter clothing; mostly because they need a dressy spring outfit for church each Sunday anyway.

I haven't had a new Easter Dress in several years simply because I haven't truly needed one. (or I've been pregnant LOL).

We do have some chocolate but it isn't the focus. Easter makes we weep and rejoice at the same time!

love said...

oh, to live each day with the eternal perspective i had while in [and immediately back from] Africa.

you're right; it isn't about the dress, but how wonderfully it illustrates how easy it is for our focus to be worldly.

Addie said...

Great post..
we haven't done Easter Dresses or outifts for well over 10 years..
Keep the Season about Jesus!! Have a very happy Easter!

Anonymous said...

We completely agree at our house. I dont know when we stopped doing it, but it has been at least 10 years since we stopped buying the "Easter Finery". We have one large basket that I put a few treats in, and it is for the whole family. The whole day revolves around going to church and then visiting with thing and one thing only makes me feel like "it's not Easter unless...", and that is the congregation singing "Up from the Grave He Arose" (Low in the Grave He Lay)and my husband knows without asking I will be watching The 10 Commandments start to finish its not even up for discussion.
Have a wonderfully blessed Easter.

Amanda said...

AMEN sister!! I just heard today a commentary about the commercialization of Christmas... how we all hear about that and complain about it, yet Easter is the SAME way! Why do we not stand up and say LESS STUFF, MORE HIM?

LOVE this post!


Becca said...

amazing post. thank you for the perspective and putting into words exactly how i'm feeling this year. i have a 7 month old and it's funny how having children makes you think about your traditions growing up, why you did it and what you want to teach your own children.

The Summers said...

amen sista! I am with you to the T

Maggie said...

As I said at church last night we will still have Peeps :), but I have been so blessed by immersing myself in what He did for me this week. Our Seder Dinner on Thursday is a tradition we are excited about repeating every year.

Carrie said...

We usually do REsurrection Eggs to prepare our hearts for The glorious celebration....many years ago we started a gift tradition in our home...Resurrection baskets...usually we give some kind of a gift that has a symbolic meaning to hats for a crown of thorns, sunglasses for darkness from noon to three, towels-washing disciples feet, 30 dimes-betrayal money...etc
THis year, I thought about giving my children 30 silver dollars...each...only...but we have been hard hit by this economy, so we will not be having a basket this year...and that is fine...because the tomb is empty...the best gift EVER...
ps...we usually do the pb eggs and that symbolizes the sweetness of what Jesus did for us.... :-)

Kite Koop said...

Love it! I've never in my adult life had an Easter dress.

Alli Worthington said...

No new dress.

A few new pants for the boys from Goodwill. We shop there and discuss how it is a blessing we can shop there ans at the same time help people who are less fortunate with our purchases.

Easter baskets are always tied to the holiday. CDs with Bible Songs, new Bible, and a few craft items.

But don't get me wrong, I *am* saving for an iPad.

(Just keepin it real)


Kristen {RAGE against the MINIVAN} said...

I so get this. I definitely grew up with the mentally that the "new dress" was a huge part of Easter. I won't have one this year. The girls are wearing hand-me-downs, too. I wish I could say it was a no-brainer, but I wrestled!

Donna @ Way More Homemade said...

Kristen... you are precious. Mike and I talked this morning about how I didn't get the kids and I new outfits for Easter and that whereas I used to care, I just don't anymore. As my husband put it, "Jesus knows we can't afford new clothes right now and He really doesn't care." So true. It's a special day and I think that's how the new dress thing came to be, but like Christmas, we can easily loose sight of what it's all really about.

Our preparation for Easter begins on Palm Sunday with a special service at our church. Then at home, we begin the Easter Weekend on Thursday evening eating lamb as Christ and his disciples would have done for the Passover. We talk about and read the passover story from Exodus and the accounts of Jesus arrest and trials from the New Testament. Friday we read the account of his crucifixion. Easter Sunday (today) is the resurrection story, church, family egg hunts with candy, money and the Resurrection Eggs. Amen.