Friday, April 06, 2007

Bunnies and Eggs?

It’s Easter again.

It’s a great holiday, but I don’t think it was really thought out very well.

I don’t mean the true meaning of Easter, the death and resurrection of Christ. The significance is the truest basis of Christianity.

I mean from the children’s perspective, the Easter Bunny concept seems to be pretty quickly tossed together.

A bunny with a whicker basket passes out decorated eggs to small children, often hiding them to be found.

Yes, bunnies are cute. And yes, the decorated eggs can be very pretty. But where do the bunnies get the eggs? As a parent of a six and four year old, you got to know the answers to this kind of stuff. You got to be “prepared”.

The modern day Santa Clause stems from a poem written in the 19th century about an elf in sled that flies carrying both the elf and a bottomless bag of Christmas presents. The sled is pulled by 8 tiny reindeer – each carefully named. They land on the roof of housetops and the elf slides down the chimney and deposit the presents under the tree and stuffs stockings hung by the fireplace. He lives on the North Pole, with his wife and a team of elves who labor all year to make the toys. The story is narrated by the author who witnessed the event, quite surprised it could happen at all.

Brilliant.

Had it not been for the ad firm that held the Coca Cola account in the early 20th century, this quaint poem would likely have remained a small part of Christmas. Instead, after completely re-designing Santa’s suit, face, beard, magic sack, and plastering the images at every Coca-Cola retailer, the entire western free market knew and loved Santa Clause and his whole mystique.

Christmas carols were replaced by more modern songs about Santa, and a new reindeer called Rudolph.

The whole mystique now had a life of its own and grew to inspire shopping frenzies that in many years saved retailers from failure. The western economies grew exponentially.

But the Easter Bunny, well, that seems like a poor imitation of the same theme. The elf is replaced by a bunny, the bottomless bag by a wicker basket. And toys by …. eggs?

I think the Easter Bunny was conceived during an international candy convention held in the thirties in Atlantic City.

One night, a group of candy executives from Nestle, Hershey, Cadbury, and some of the other notable corporations of the day were sitting in a bar, having drinks, and sharing their woes.

“We can’t move any product during the spring.” One confessed.

“I know!” agreed another, “there’s no interest!”

“We need another Halloween, in the spring” piped up a third. “Everyone loves Halloween”.

“Nah – the spring ain’t spooky. Everything’s green. What we need’s another Christmas!”

Everyone agreed around the table as the barmaid brought the next round.

The Cadbury exec piped up. “St. Paddy’s is in March. We could play on the leprechaun and pot of gold idea!”

“Hmmm”, thought the table, “Interesting.”

“It won’t fly”, said the Hershey exec. “Too Irish. Chocolate potatoes wouldn’t sell, and the parents too drunk to participate.”

Right … right, hmmmm”, said the table.

“Well, there’s Easter”, said another Hershey exec. “I always wondered why Easter was so overshadowed by Christmas?”

Yet another round arrived at the table, and the glasses were raised in the air “To Easter”, and the mugs sloshed together spilling beer all over the table. The barmaid shrieked from the pinch to her bum as she wiped up the mess.

“Easter … hmmmm…”, thought the table.

The thinner Nestles exec passed out in his chair.

“Easter is spring.” Said one.

“Spring is green like St. Paddy’s!” said the Cadbury fellow.

“Oh drop the leprechaun thinking, geesh!”

“Spring makes me think of bunnies” said the pasty thin Nestles exec who woke up seconds earlier, and his head slammed back down to the table.

“Bunnies? Hmmm …” thought the table.

“I learned that eggs represent life.” said another.

“Where’d ya learn that, Sid?”

“uhhh .. I guess it was Sunday school”.

"So we got bunnies and eggs. Sounds great!” said the head Hershey exec.

“Bernie, you and Larry start working on how this fits together! We need spring Candy sales!”, he continued. “Screw this up like you did those Fourth-of-July fire-cracker-candy-canes and it’ll be your ass!”

“This’ll make Christmas and Halloween sales look chincey!” chimed a third, raising his near empty mug in salute, and still sloshing beer on the fellow beside him”

“Bunnies and Eggs!” they all cheered.

“Now let’s go find some girls!” and the brainstorming session was over.

So now we have a bunny that delivers eggs to children. There is no explanation as to how he gets in the house, or why the bunny leaves chocolate bunnies to be eaten. The eggs are usually never eaten, who wants eggs when you get a basket full of candy?

And I don’t even want to get started on the purple green and pink colored strands that line the Easter basket. That stuff is usually found in the crevices of the house the next New Year ’s Day!

As for Bernie and Larry, their success in getting people to buy into the bunny and egg thing was so impressive that they next introduced florists to St. Valentines day.

And the rest, so they say, is history.


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