For years I have worked to gather all the goodness I can for Holy Week. It is, after all, such a sacred opportunity to turn our hearts to Jesus and honor all the incredible events that happened all those years ago. And if we can infuse some of that goodness into not only our own hearts, but our families? Oh, we give them such a long-lasting and precious gift. So today, on this Palm Sunday, let’s talk about how to make “Holy Week” more holy.

Palm Sunday by Jen Norton

Holy Week Help for bringing more Christ into Easter

Because Christ is what Easter is all about, right??

A Disclaimer

Now, I want to say as a giant disclaimer, YOU DON’T HAVE TO GET ALL TECHNICAL to teach your children about Jesus. The way we live our lives as Mothers is the biggest way we teach. As we try our best to love unconditionally, humble ourselves as we repent, renew and mend relationships, that is the biggest teacher of Jesus. Our love of Jesus will naturally sink into our children without fancy lessons or Easter trees or creating the perfect Passover dinner.

I do love to have some beauty-of-Easter teaching “helps” on hand to bring Jesus in more fully when I’m not in the mire though.

There are now lots of things available through the church that I will get to at the end. But first I want to share some things I’ve gathered through the years on my Holy Week journey.

I think most of these things stem from a little tradition that we started decades ago.

My Easter “Holy Week Cards”

Our “Holy Week Cards are something I got in an Easter packet from a “Family Home Evening” group back when Max and Elle were toddlers. 

I’d love to thank that blessed mom who made one particular FHE lesson all those years ago. She most probably stayed up into the wee hours of the morning after her babies were sleeping, slaving away making me my very own set of Holy Week cards.

And I’m just so grateful for her efforts.

Amidst the regular hub-bub of the Easter traditions in our house, we have had these cards from that FHE group hanging as a Holy Week reminder for as long as I remember.

Let’s get a better look:

There we go.

Those cards, outlining all the events on each day of Holy Week, have helped shape our Easter hearts.

Oh, they are just plain old laminated yellow cardstock. But with them, instead of our regular scripture routine/devotional in the mornings the week before Easter, we read the scriptural passage that goes along with that day. Then we put up each event that happened that particular day on our cards.

Scriptural references on those Holy Week cards

I don’t have a list of the scriptural references for each of the days, but you’ll find them all outlined in this awesome resource from the church.

The cards made the transition to this new spot in a new house.

Claire and Lucy teaching from our yellow Easter cards

I just love having a visual reminder all week of all the important stuff to help us stay focused on the true meaning of Easter.

Our kids have searched the scriptures included to tell the story over and over.

Oh some years are better than others to be sure. Some have been all kinds of Easter “fails.” But I love that these little cards have helped infiltrate the “Good News” of Easter as we’ve studied all those events from the scriptures year after year.

And each time I like to believe that miraculous story has nestled it’s way more a little bit more solidly into their hearts.

Resurrection Rolls/”Empty” Easter Cookies

Over the years I’ve found that cooking together seems to be a pretty good way to talk about spiritual matters. I mean, side-by-side talking seems to work miracles in any category in my book. Especially with teenage boys.

And food is the way to kids’ hearts lots of the time. So over the years we’ve tried both resurrection rolls and to symbolize the empty tomb.

  • Easter story cookies — I found this recipe and put it to work with the kids.
  • Easter “Resurrection Rolls” — I cannot find the recipe we tried before, but this one looks really good and Lucy and I will probably try it this year.

Again, these are just two easy ways to bring that empty tomb to life somehow in the eyes of young kids. We did the Easter story cookies one year, and I didn’t think it really hit home to anyone. But then my kids asked for it again the next year. I don’t know if it was just something they got their mother’s attention for or those cookies miraculously empty the next morning that made for a big spiritual impact. Either way, I like it.

This is how we “sealed” our “tomb” in the evening to find the “empty” cookies in the morning:

our oven sealed for Easter cookies

Easter Books to help with spiritual Easter traditions

Through the years I’ve been asked over and over again about good book recommendations for kids based on Easter. There are two that have been recommended over and over again by blog readers:

  • A Christ-Centered Easter written by my friend Emily Belle Freeman (love her!) and packed with so much goodness. It outlines seven Easter traditions to incorporate more understanding of the depth and beauty of Easter.
  • An Easter Walk — We’ve done this Easter Walk and I love how it helps use regular and beautiful symbols of nature to weave in spiritual significance.

Power of Families Helps

My sister Saren has so many ideas all articulated so beautifully over on

She goes through each of the Holy Week days and has links to awesome videos and helps over there and has helped so many moms work more sacred moments into Easter.

Saydi’s Holy Week Helps:

I have linked my sister Saydi’s Holy Week helps that we have used along with these yellow cards before (she and Saren have both put so much work into Easter prep and I am so grateful!).

I love that she and a friend have outlined, in quite careful detail, so many additional things we can do to celebrate Holy Week. Two examples of things I got from her guide:

  • Stations of the Cross
    I love that one year our two families happened to be in California at the same time for Easter. We got to join she and her family for their “Stations of the Cross” walk that was so meaningful to really think deep about Holy Week.
a stations of the cross activity
  • Passover Meal
    Saydi also has a guide to do a Seder Passover dinner. We did a partial, quite weak version of this one year. It was in no way as detailed or awesome as it could be. But a pretty cool way to get kids into the whole story and help them to understand some of those events that last week of Christ’s life.
the kids on the floor participating in our passover meal

**Yes, my sisters are pretty incredible in the Easter prep category!

Another Holy Week Study Guide

Saydi’s friend Catherine (who is now also my friend, she is so wonderful), also created a Holy Week study guide.

Complete with some gorgeous Easter art for an Easter tree (that first Palm Sunday painting from this post is from that guide).

links to beautiful Easter art

I have only just scratched the surface reading all the goodness that guide contains, I will be reading more today.

(And check out the rest of that blog too because she is an amazingly talented writer and mother.)

Helps from Church

A church page dedicated to Holy Week

I LOVE that our church is integrating so many beautiful things into the “curriculum” to help imprint Easter into our hearts. I may have just been under a rock, but it doesn’t seem that it has always been this way. Oh, Jesus was always the center, but I love that there is so much more available to study Holy Week, and that next week, on Easter, we just have a one hour meeting focused wholly on the Savior.

I particularly love this page that I just found:

screenshot of the church "Easter day-by-day guide"
screenshot of the church "Easter day-by-day guide"

See this Gospel Library app in my screenshot below? It’s the one with Jesus under the arch.

Guys, it is SO GOOD!

It is chock-full of so much goodness. All the Holy Week stuff, linking to scriptures to study (all the ones we have on our yellow cards right at your fingertips).

You can mark them off as you go through the week:

SOOO awesome.

Thank you, dear church, for making it so easy to study Holy Week.

We’re ready to go over here:

Sending out so much love at the beginning of Holy Week.

May you and your family feel His matchless grace more abundantly this Easter season in whatever stage of life you are in.

Other Easter prep Links:

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  1. Hi,

    I love these ideas.

    Respectfully, please look at these links which explain why Christians having Passover or Seder meals is considered offensive by Jewish people. They’re written for the Church of England (my church), but it’s relevant to all people marking Holy Week.

    I’m not saying you’re anti semitic – at all – just saying that these things are worth thinking about.

    1. Oh Marguerite, I appreciate those links! I always want to be educated about this type of thing and I definitely don’t want to be offensive. The one time we did this I loved learning more about passover. I had studied it on study abroad in Jerusalem but hadn’t revisited. I loved the symbolism and learning more about this very special tradition. I love when people are interested in respectfully learning more about my religion, so I need to delve into more of those articles to understand more, thank you for sharing. I really appreciated Val’s comment below to give more light from her perspective as well.

  2. Love these ideas! This year I’ve been inspired (by you and others!) to do something similar for my family. We have put up artwork and scriptures for each day of Holy Week and it makes the week so much more meaningful and the significance of each day easier to grasp.

    P.S. In response to the Passover comment- I am half Jewish and, while there are definitely Jews who don’t like Christians co-opting Passover and turning it into some kind of brand new, Christian event (an understandable sentiment considering the long and sad history of Christian Antisemitism), that doesn’t seem at all like what you’re doing here.

    My Jewish family members have no problem with Christians celebrating Passover in a respectful way. At a time when antisemitism is at a historical high and many antisemites are trying to separate Jesus entirely from his Judaism, it is honestly very encouraging and meaningful to see Christians of all denominations celebrate and find personal meaning in the traditions of Jesus’ Jewish heritage.

  3. Fun to see the adults when they were children :). Feels like time is doing it’s own thing despite our all the mom objections.

    I have a question and hoping for an honest answer 🙂

    Some of our grown kids have moved to CO. We’re starting to consider such a move as well. Last time I visited them I noticed quite a few LDS churches. From years of reading your blog and Charities I am curious. What I want to know is if LDS wards/churches are friendly for the long haul? I am very much at a crossroad in respect to religion and while very committed to God, I have “religious people/church trauma” to heal. I usually go to church but am just kind of phoning it in at this point. I am a cradle Episcopalian, but have lots of experience with the Methodist church and the Catholic Church and now Judaism with our son-in-law. Our decades of experience with family evangelicalism has made us run far, far, FAR away. My career in a faith based medical clinic ended when all of us on the administrative team quit together. I’m suspicious of churches the claim they are the ONLY way to God. Decades of traveling and seeing other faiths deep in worship makes it impossible for me to feel that any particular religion is “right”. God is too big for that.

    I know longer believe the theology of the various creeds. The Apostles creed and the Nicene creed are the result of powerful Christian men who had strong political agendas. Except for the gospels, the rest of the Bible is so incredibly influenced by Paul who is not always in alignment with Jesus. I think it’s hard enough to follow the first 2 commandments and to live the way Jesus instructed. Live simply, care for the widows, feed the hungry, help the poor. I have come to the conclusion that it’s pretty rare for any church to focus and fulfill those instructions from Jesus himself.

    I do not agree with most of the teachings of the LDS church. But here’s the thing, Is it possible to attend weekly and not have missionaries always seeing us as fresh meat to share their testimony with? I’m 68 years old and know my own mind pretty clearly at this point. The kindness of your church appeals to me. The traditions, the emphasis on family. The worship. The fun gatherings of members. I want to sit quietly to pray and worship. I would keep all my opinions to myself, except that I don’t want to convert. I want to be left in peace and am happy to sit in the back. I would never bring my cup of coffee with me. But I’ve always gotten the feeling from friends that the wonderful welcome has a time limit. After so many months/years you have to commit or leave. Friendships aren’t possible if you don’t eventual join up. Do you feel it’s possible to come to visit, but then to just settle in ?

    1. I think it’s very possible! For specific personal reasons, I haven’t officially joined the LDS church and become a member, but I attend quite frequently and have not had issue. I recognize that by not being a member, I certainly won’t ever lead a Sunday school class or children’s Primary class, but everyone has been very friendly and inclusive. I do get the occasional call from the missionaries, but mostly it’s to ask if there’s anything I need help with. Out of kindness, I’ve also had the missionaries over for dinner a few times and that has naturally led to spiritual conversations. I can tell everyone hopes I’ll be baptized one day, but I’ve never felt any pressure to do so. That probably sounds contradictory but I don’t have a better way to describe it.

      I’ve attended a few wards throughout Pennsylvania very regularly and have never had any issues. I would say give it a try! And even if you give it a try and feel weird vibes, don’t give it up entirely! Typically multiple congregations use the same church building on Sundays, so you could attend in the same place at a different time with an entirely different group of people and have a totally different experience!

    2. Oh I love this question! And love the anonymous answer below. Definitely come to church! All are welcome. I think you will definitely run into missionaries who are pushy (just as a warning). Just take any pushiness with a grain of salt and remember they are just teenagers trying to earnestly share what they believe. Same with ward members. They will just want to be inclusive (I hope!). I would just tell them where you stand and they will love having you. And I hope they will learn from you too. We all have so much to learn from each other and there is so much truth in the world! I’d love to hear how it goes. There is just something so beautiful about having a church congregation where you can worship and pray. I wish you could come to church with me!! I would love to learn more from you.

      1. This finally let me cry Shawni. Tears brought on by kindness is such a blessing. I, too, wish I could come to church with you. I’ve had so much stored up inside.

        The last 2 years here have been so hard. My husband had 5 back surgeries last year. (Kept getting infected) and terrible mental changes from all the meds he was on. Wasn’t quite sure a few times if he would make it. The experience of being beside and saying “please don’t die”…..whew. While walking some better, he’s still quite disabled. I tore my meniscus at the same time.

        I went to visit my mother (who has a narcissistic personality) which I had not done for a long time (per advice of therapist) while dh was at home under the care of his MD brother. He fell, had a febrile to back to the hospital. 2 days after his discharge home my mom called with her dx of pancreatic cancer. She died in early February and it’s a very complicated time. Because of her narcissism, her will and financial stuff is filled with digs and hurtful things and I don’t know how mourn. Or if I ever can. I’d like your mother too 🙂

        DH and I went to her place, out of town, for 3 weeks to deal with her place. Her place was gorgeous, but she was a secret hoarder. That all resulted in my damaging my back. I’ve had several epidurals without success and have been in bed for 5 months. The chiropractor gave my MD/acupuncturist dh a few suggestions and today and yesterday have been the first 2 days my pain has not been an 7-10 range. I’ve actually been outside. I so miss having a safe spiritual nest. So much. But I’m so disillusioned and afraid to try again.

        Thanks for the hope. And I would feed the missionaries so well :). They always look so earnest and I know their moms worry about them.

        1. Wow Lissa, you have been through so much. I’m so sorry. So many things in life just don’t make sense sometimes. I think of your kindness through all that (I do recognize when comments come from you, you area always so gracious). And I think you must have a pretty special heart to shine goodness and kindness when you are deep in the depth of your own personal wilderness.

          I agree with you, finding a “safe spiritual nest” has the power to help so much. If you want I can help you find someone right in your area who could take you under their wing and welcome you at church with no pressure. If you want to email me I can help you. My email is shawnipothier at gmail.\

          Sending lots of love through the internet to you.

    3. Anonymous answered better than I could though…thank you Anonymous! Sending love your way and gratitude for taking care of the missionaries and hopefully share your own light with them.

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