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My favorite worship time of the year is sunrise service on Easter morning. I love worshipping the Creator in his creation, even if it means getting up early and bundling up in very un-Easterly mittens and jackets.

My least favorite part of Easter is the commercialism. At the risk of sounding like an Easter Grinch, I feel myself cringing at all the merchandising, advertising, and displays that start filling the stores after Valentine’s Day. Advertisers spend more money in the weeks leading up to Easter ($90 million) than they do on Halloween ($61 million), and U.S. consumers purchase more than 17 million egg coloring and dye kits.

Here’s one way to celebrate Easter naturally, without taking away the fun: make your own natural dyes instead of using store-bought ones. The ingredients are easy to find, offer a wider range of colors, and are better for your children and the environment. Tumeric (yellow), beets (pink), and coffee grinds (warm brown) make a nice trio; if you are feeling more adventurous, try some of the ingredients in the chart below.

Instructions: Bring eggs to a boil in water with a small amount of vinegar and one of the natural dyes listed in the following chart. Let simmer for at least fifteen minutes and you’ll have a rainbow of colors. Remember to make only as many hard-boiled eggs as your family can eat. If you make too many, share egg salad with a friend or neighbor.

Lavender                                  Purple grape juice
Blue                                          Red cabbage
Green                                       Spinache
Yellow                                     Carrot tops, orange or lemon peels
Orange                                     Yellow onion skins
Pink                                          Beets or cranberries
Red                                           Red onion skins

Adapted from Go Green, Save Green: a simple guide to saving time, money, and God’s green earth (Nancy Sleeth, Tyndale 2009).

Nancy Sleeth serves as the Program Director for Blessed Earth and is the author of Go Green, Save Green: A Simple guide to saving time, money, and God’s green earth, the first-ever practical guide for going green from a faith perspective.