Gosh, how did it get to be almost Easter time again? Wasn't Christmas like, last week? Apparently the year has gotten away from me again!
Anyway, I'm not buying my girls chocolate Easter eggs this year. Shocking, isn't it? Well, not from my point of view. When I first started blogging about our simple living journey 2 1/2 years ago, one of the first blogs I came across was Eilleen's, at Consumption Rebellion. In some of her posts she talked about "blood chocolate", or the common use of child slave labour in the production of cocoa beans in many African nations and posted a couple of videos (here, here and here) which utterly horrified me and changed my view of chocolate forever.
These days, I can't in all good conscience give my children chocolate Easter eggs, knowing that someone else's children were cruelly exploited to produce them.
Although modern Easter is a mish-mash of Christian and pagan ideology, it's primarily supposed to be a holiday (holy-day) to ponder Jesus' act of dying on the cross to save Christians from their sins, and to celebrate his rise from the dead.
Does anyone else see the horrible irony of big multi-national chocolate companies promoting the sales of their products at Easter with advertising showing happy, healthy (and predominately white) children devouring the chocolate they make from cocoa beans using child slave labour on the other side of the world?
If you like your chocolate, there is good news however - there are several brands of chocolate (and Easter eggs) which are child-labour free; those with a FAIRTRADE symbol. You can find a list of Fairtrade chocolates at the World Vision Don't Trade Lives website (the PDF file is here).
Last week, the Fairtrade Association of Australia issued a press release saying that this year, two Australian companies are offering Fairtrade chocolate Easter Eggs: Chocolatier and Heritage Fine Chocolates. Yay! Not only are they child-labour free Easter eggs, they are Australian companies as well (so you'd be supporting local businesses). From the media release:
Where to buy Fairtrade Certified Easter Eggs and chocolate:
Chocolatier Fairtrade Easter Eggs are available from David Jones stores nationally, selected Woolworths and Safeway stores, a range of specialty stores, Chocolatier’s two Melbourne stores (North Ivanhoe and Hampton) and online at http://www.chocolatiershop.elocal.com.au/
Heritage Fine Chocolates have Fairtrade Certified Milk and Dark Chocolate Easter Eggs available in Melbourne from their store at the Prahran Market, 163 Commercial Rd, South Yarra QLD 3141.
Oxfam Shops are selling Easter hampers as well as their own and other brands of Fairtrade chocolate, in store and online at www.oxfamshop.org.au
The Trading Circle has fair trade Easter Eggs and pre-wrapped Easter chocolate packs available from their Melbourne shop at 261 Victoria Street, Abbotsford or contact Brigid Corcoran on (03) 9421 6874 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Plus look for the FAIRTRADE Label on chocolate at speciality stores, health food shops and major retailers nationwide including Coles, Target and IGA.
You can read more about chocolate and child labour here.
So, what ARE we doing for Easter this year?
As I said, I won't be buying my girls chocolate eggs, I'll leave that up to their doting grandparents. I have felt in previous years that they ended up with WAY too much chocolate anyway; I'd end up trying to hide most of it away and dole it out in small amounts for weeks on end (yep, I am that cruel ;-). I also hate the waste involved in all that individual wrapping which gets thrown away.
Last year I decided that both the girls and I love the Easter egg hunt too much to do away with it - it's the thrill of the chase and the delight in finding treasures isn't it? - so I started looking for alternatives to chocolate eggs . I love the American tradition of painting real (blown and emptied) chicken eggs, and it may be something we do in future, but for now I suspect many, many eggs would be broken and there would be tears aplenty! (Although my girls might be more mature about breakages than me ;-) Plus, I thought it would be nicer to be able to keep the eggs at the end for future use.
I know nothing about felting, so although I loved these felted eggs I kept looking around on the 'net. Then I found this pattern, and I made a few stuffed, patchwork eggs using material scraps. They turned out OK, although I am not a very good sewer (or stuffer!) so they were a bit wonky LOL, but my girls loved them. I LOVE this pattern for a fabric egg with a secret pocket just big enough to tuck in a little something for my girls, and I am hoping to get the time to make some this year.
Otherwise, we will just be using the wooden eggs* I asked my talented father-in-law to make for us, as I mentioned last year. He turned them on his lathe from scrap pieces of timber he had in his workshop. As usual, I love to leave things until the last minute, LOL, so am only just getting around to painting the eggs this week! I personally, quite like the raw timber look:
My girls, however, are more into "pretty", so I was busy yesterday applying an undercoat of paint to them all:
After I finish here, I hope to start doing some details, although they won't be anything spectacular! Unlike my crafty mother, I am not the least bit artistic, so my details will consist of spots and stripes LOL. When they are dry I will finish them with a couple of clear Bio wood varnish to seal them. If they look half decent I might post more pics when I am done :-)
(Oops, her nose needs a clean!)
* If you don't have a word-working friend or relative like me, you can buy wooden 'eggs' at craft suppliers or wood-working shops. You can also buy plastic and foam 'eggs' from craft suppliers (and plastic dummy eggs are available at poultry supplies stores) which are cheaper but personally, I'm not keen on these from an environmental point of view.
And, speaking of being blessed with talented relatives, my parents are downsizing homes in the next year or so, and my (multi-talented) Mum is rehoming many of her dolls and bears she has made over the years. Just in time for Easter, she passed on three little bunny dolls (one for each of my girls).
Aren't they adorable? Chocolate, or no chocolate, my girls aren't going to feel 'deprived' this year, that's for sure!