Celebrate Jesus with Weird Merchandise!

The commercialization of Easter has always been a tough one for me. Sure, Christmas is marketed even more aggressively, but the Advent season is all about celebration and new beginnings and people coming together—concepts that get lip service during even the most secular Christmas celebrations.

Easter is about death and resurrection. It’s the highest holy day of the Christian calendar. That’s not an easy thing to package, which is probably why there’s a such clean break between the bunnies-and-eggs version of Easter, and the church-service version. Merchandisers are wise to define Easter by marshmallow chicks and colorful baskets, rather than bring theology into it.

But there are always exceptions. One is the Oriental Trading Company. Founded to create cheap plastic toys for carnivals, OTC is now a leading supplier of cheap plastic stuff for church groups and Christian schools. Their party supply catalog always contains a small section dedicated to Jesus merchandise, which results in some odd juxtapositions. Here, for example, are the current most popular category themes on the OTC website: