The first image that comes to mind is the ham (of all things). This wasn’t a newfangled fancy spiral sliced ham, they hadn’t been invented yet, this was a big slab of formed ham that came from a giant ham – shaped a bit like my aunt Josie, and tucked tightly inside a can (whose actual shape it took on) swimming in a gelatinous outer shell. The gelatin would be removed and dad would carefully score the meat in a crosshatch pattern and then carefully place whole cloves strategically about the ham and topped it with canned pineapple slices (Dole or Libby’s) and sprinkled with brown sugar.
The ham was such a significant centerpiece of the meal that I can’t actually recall much of the rest of the meal. I remember always having to get “dressed up”.
Coloring eggs – we used to get the PAAS kit with the little color pills that you dissolve in vinegar. There was the little wire, egg-balancing contraption that was used to lower the egg into the dye and then lift it out. While it always ended up that the solid colored eggs looked best, we always experimented by dipping parts of an egg into one color then dipping the other parts into another color. Most of the multi-colored eggs as I recall looked like crap but we didn’t think so back then.
Easter baskets – this was my mom’s specialty. She’d get all the supplies well in advance, the baskets, the green plastic grass, always a hollow chocolate bunny, and an assortment of other treats. Carefully, mom would arrange the baskets and then cover them in pastel colored cellophane and labeled each of the finished baskets with the name of its intended recipient.
Oh, those days.