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Spring Awakening: Bunnies, baskets, babies, and divinely inspired dolls—including the pope—define Easter.
Kathy Smith-Fitzpatrick’s lovely “Sunday Best” is available through Paradise Galleries.
From Paradise Galleries Easter line is the aptly named “Baskets and Bunnies” by Jannie de Lange.
How can you resist this Paradise Galleries charmer? Priced under , “Hippity Hop” is sure to please kids (and grown-ups) everywhere!
Barbie’s 2013 spring incarnation is “Easter Sweetie.” The doll (priced under ) is a great alternative to too many candies, marshmallows, and candied marshmallows!
Target has a lot of exclusive ideas for fun and festive baskets: this year, there is an engaging array of Chelsea and her little pals.
Only at Target—the so-called Easter Mini LaLaLoopsy. The “Lucky Lil’ Bug” is emblematic of spring awakenings.
Madame Alexander shows off the colors and the couture responsible for an “Egg-cellent Easter.”
“Wendy’s Easter Egg Hunt” depicts a gentle and refined young lady.
Titus Tomescu has been translating the miracles and the life of Jesus into doll form for much more than a decade. Ashton-Drake has showcased his work in breathtaking fashion.
Known for their exemplary portrait details, Ashton-Drake has unveiled their tribute figure of Pope Francis.
Kathy Smith-Fitzpatrick’s lovely “Sunday Best” is available through Paradise Galleries.
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I imagine it’s a sign of the times that even the Easter Bunny has grown more health-conscious. The altruistic rabbit isn’t as fretful and haranguing as New York’s Mayor Bloomberg, but there is definitely an emphasis on “goods” rather than “goodies” this holiday season.
    

Of course, the spring egg hunt wouldn’t be complete without some bits of chocolate or pastel-hued Peeps hidden inside the plastic orbs. But more and more parents, church organizes, and community leaders who are helping E.B. (aka the Easter Bunny) pull together a basket of treats know that the caloric content of the ingredients is shrinking, the sugar doses are diminishing, and more trinkets and toys are being added to the mix.
    

In my kids’ school celebration, there are erasers, stickers, SillyBandz, and little trinkets curled inside the plastic eggs. At the church Easter hunt, it’s pretty much the same offerings, but sometimes Hershey Kisses and little M&M’s are tucked inside the faux eggs.
    

At home, where E.B. is always expected to be more personal with his selections, there is one chocolate rabbit (under 5 ounces of solid milk-chocolate decadence) and one DVD and one toy du jour (could be a tiny finger puppet, a yoyo, a mini doll, an action figure). It’s whatever E.B.’s human accomplice was able to find while the children were distracted five feet away in the book aisle. (Thank goodness for the Diary of the Wimpy Kid and the Percy Jackson series. Those titles have entertained my children while I’ve thrown random-impulse buys into my shopping cart on more than one occasion!)
    

Since dental hygiene has finally made a dent in the bunny’s brain, there are magazine articles, TV demonstrations, and radio tips advising concerned parents and grandparents to spice up the gift baskets with merchandise other than fatty foods and sweet  confections.
    

Dolls are a great way to decorate an Easter presentation, or be the whole Easter present itself. Depending upon the cost, or your own deep versus shallow pockets, a doll can either be added to the basket to serve as an ornate centerpiece or can be given along with a solo boxed bunny candy as the entire gift. Either way, the designs and styles available are truly fantastic.
    

On the very affordable side, there is an under $10 delight at Paradise Galleries (http://www.paradisegalleries.com/).The “Hippity Hop” plush Easter doll is approximately $9.99 and is really a holiday bargain. You’d be one smart bunny to pick this critter up and place it plop in the middle of a decorative Easter basket. Also, on the site, are dolls affordably priced under $40, which can either be a gift to a child (or yourself) or the star of a very unique holiday centerpiece/dining-room decoration.
    

Mattel also has dolls that are inexpensive—able to be swooped up and added to a basket as a cute, non-edible surprise. Target has some exclusive Mattel dolls, which measure under 4 inches and are made for Easter shopping, but these diminutive darlings are “htf”—hard to find!
    

Amid all the odes to Peter Cottontail and E.B., there is the spiritual, religious component of Easter. Many times, the fun aspect tends to overshadow why the event has special, meaningful significance. The divine nature of Easter can be celebrated with Ashton-Drake’s perennially popular Titus Tomescu interpretations of Jesus Christ. (http://www.ashtondrake.com/category/8352_religious.html?shopbytheme&religious) With the blockbuster ratings for the History Channel’s “The Bible” epic, there are apparently a large number of viewers who are seeking faith-based entertainment and faith-centric programming. During much of the calendar year, secular attractions and non-spiritual pastimes seem to dominate the headlines and the airwaves. Always, as Easter (or Christmas in the winter) happens upon us, news editors and TV programmers discover the power of faith. The folks at Ashton-Drake have been loyal to the Tomescu depictions of Christ year-round, for decades now.
    

Earlier in the month, the world was seemingly captivated by the rituals and the pomp-and-circumstance surrounding the election of the new pope. All eyes and cameras were focused on the Vatican. The selected pontiff appears to be a genuinely humble man from South America—multilingual, bright, and compassionate, he debuted to news coverage that went beyond television and print. His installation was trumpeted on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and every other arm of the brand-new social media.
    

Pope Francis, who has named himself in honor of the beloved, self-effacing St. Francis of Assisi, has a reputation as being truly down-to-earth. Prior to his move to Rome, he lived in a rental apartment, cooked his own meals, and rode the city buses. He eschewed the trappings that his status as a cardinal could have afforded him.
    

Now that he is the head of the Catholic Church, his unexpected, unselfish ways continue: he arrived at the hotel where he had been staying to pick up his own luggage and to settle his own bill. Likewise, he called back home to cancel his weekly newspaper subscription.
    

Seeing such everyday, average behavior from an overnight superstar is jarring. So, I wonder how Pope Francis would react to learning that Ashton-Drake is unveiling his likeness in doll form. The portrait figure meticulously captures his physical appearance, and the costuming is painstaking in every detail. But what would Pope Francis think of it?
    

I think, based upon all the accounts I’ve been reading, he’d be positively shocked, embarrassed, surprised, flattered . . . and delighted. He seems to be blessed with a great sense of humor and a keen wit. The “Pope Francis Portrait Figure” is priced at $129.99. If a portion of those proceeds was donated to a charity near and dear to the pontiff’s heart, I’d say that the doll was downright heaven-sent.

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Beautiful array of dolls. And it's nice that you showed the religious part of the holiday. That message gets lost in all the easter eggs and the bunnies. Nice post.
Hilary , March 26, 2013

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