The Easter Bunny is coming, and Americans are likely gearing up to spend around his arrival. The National Retail Federation hasn’t yet released its forecast for Easter spending in 2023; but, if history holds, consumers will be dishing out a small fortune. In 2022, consumers spent an average of $170 on Easter gifts and celebrations.
One beloved Easter celebration that can rack up a huge bill is Easter brunch. Many restaurants offer it; and, knowing that people are willing to fork over some serious cash, they typically don’t hold back on mark-ups.
How much you’ll spend on an Easter brunch outing will depend on where you live and which establishment you go to, but you can expect to pay at least what you would spend on a typical brunch. For a family of four, that can really add up.
DIY Easter Brunch at Home
Who needs a restaurant? You can do an Easter brunch on your own at home.
“Many grocery stores will likely have traditional brunch items on sale in the lead-up to Easter, which will make it cheaper to DIY your brunch rather than dining out for the holiday,” said Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with DealNews.com. “You’ll be able to create your own menu and have exactly what you want.”
To make an at-home brunch more fun and special, Ramhold suggests considering something like a waffle or omelet bar for everyone to choose their own toppings or fillings.
You’ll almost certainly see more faces and try more foods by hosting a potluck brunch.
And you’ll keep costs down.
“Hosting a potluck-style gathering with friends and family as an inexpensive substitute for a pricey Easter luncheon,” said Kevin Turner, the founder and CEO of grillingmaster.com. “You may use Easter-themed decor, such as bright tablecloths or Easter egg centerpieces, to spruce up the atmosphere.”
Some museums might be closed for the holiday, but many should be going about business as usual. This could be a great opportunity to get the family together for an educational mission that also can be a good time.
“Many people may be doing other things that day,” Ramhold said, “so it could mean dealing with fewer people in general compared to going [to a museum] another day, which will give you more time to enjoy exhibits and family time.”
Just as the museums might be less crowded on Easter Sunday, so too might the movie theaters. A matinee showing should be considered as an alternative to a pricey brunch.
“Plan ahead and try to snag your tickets in advance so that you aren’t trying to figure out which movie to see on the day of,” Ramhold said, “and be sure to have a meal before you head to the theater so you can skip the concessions and save. If you want to enjoy treats while you’re there, consider picking up theater boxes of candy from stores like Target and then purchase a drink at the theater.”
Movie Day at Home
Even cheaper than going out to the movies is doing a viewing at home.
“Watch an old favorite or even consider renting one on a streaming service to watch something you haven’t seen before,” Ramhold said.
You can make the atmosphere more exciting by adding popcorn and candy to the mix.
“Consider having mini bottles of special drinks to have your own concession stand, then pile in front of the screen to enjoy an afternoon with the family,” Ramhold said. “If you have young kids, consider making tickets for them to hand over as they come into the living room to make it more immersive.”
Picnic in the Park
If you opt for a DIY brunch and the weather is nice, take it on the road for an outdoor experience that might be more memorable.
“Pack a picnic basket with favorite breakfast items and head to a local park for an outdoor brunch,” said Sarah Connelly, a finance expert at Cashfloat. “Enjoy the fresh air and the outdoor scenery with your friends and family while keeping costs down.”
Arts & Crafts Day
Get into the spirit of the day by spending time crafting Easter decorations together as a family.
“Use items you already have at home such as construction paper, glue, scissors and markers to create unique decorations for the holiday,” said Shaun Martin, a real estate professional and home design enthusiast with We Buy Houses In Denver. “And don’t forget to have the kids create cards or drawings for their family members and friends.”
Easter Egg Hunt
You can take this one indoors if you wish; but, if the weather permits, outdoors will likely be the most fun.
“One of my children’s fondest childhood memories is the neighborhood Easter egg hunt/block party we did every year,” said Gigi Lehman, editor of Living on the Cheap.
Opt for plastic eggs instead of real ones (you’ll save a lot of money and a lot of mess); and, rather than filling them with something, assign prizes to certain colors.
“This way you can skip having to refill them multiple times and you can just pick prizes that make more sense for your family than just a lot of mini candies — though there’s nothing wrong with that either,” Ramhold said. “Then you can hide the eggs as often as you want and have other family members seek them out. You can even take turns hiding so that everyone gets a chance to hunt them down.”
An Extra Special Easter Egg Hunt
If you don’t want to bother hunting plastic eggs, consider decorating egg-shaped treats instead.
“For example, make egg-shaped biscuits, brownies or cookies and then decorate or fill as you wish,” Ramhold said. “Arrange decorations and fillings on the table and let everyone construct their own to enjoy. Even if you’re entertaining an older crowd, you can make this more interesting by including toppings and fillings that might be more unique — things like spicy pepper jelly or strawberry balsamic glazes, for example.”
Family Video Call
“Remember the family video calls that became a staple of the pandemic?” Lehman said. “Maybe it’s time to bring them back and make far-flung family and friends feel like a part of the holiday celebration.”
The cost of this activity? Totally free.
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 10 Affordable Alternatives to Expensive Easter Brunch