Easter is a big deal for my family. Early in the morning, my siblings and I get up and my Dad photographs us as we excitedly rush down the staircase to find our Easter baskets, which are not only overflowing with candies and treats, but also stockpiled with necessities like socks, cute tops, and lip gloss. One of my favorite items this year was a big, rhinestoned crown keychain!

Checking out my Easter basket!

After sorting through our goodies, we all go to Church in our new Easter outfits. When we were younger, my mom used to dress us in matching outfits. Now that we are ages 11-19, my mother takes mercy on us by allowing us to wear non-matching outfits- thank goodness!

With the family, heading off to church, Easter morning!

After mass, we head over to my Grandmothers for Easter Brunch. She is still a great cook and a wonderfully energetic host at 87 years old. She even still decorates for every holiday- I hope I will age as gracefully as she has!

Each year, my family hosts a huge Easter egg hunt where we fill thousands of plastic Easter eggs with candy, temporary tattoos, bouncy-balls, and other toys and treats and hide them inside and outside the house. This year we hosted it along with Easter dinner for my Dad’s side of the family, along with some family friends and neighbors.

All 16 of my McKee cousins were in attendance, so we also took advantage of the opportunity while we were all together and celebrated 4 of my cousins birthdays. So between Easter egg stuffing, hiding, hunting, and dying, dinner, birthday cake, presents, and- of course- being together with all of my family and friends, it was a very fun filled night!

On my paperwork for Nationals, it asked what my favorite family tradition is. I remember laboring over the question, having a hard time figuring out what my favorite tradition was, when Easter-season rolled around and I realized that Easter was my favorite tradition. I remember at Nationals it was so fun and easy to talk about my favorite tradition to my judges. It really showed them a huge part of who I was and allowed me to relate to them on a personal level.

Remember that, both when you’re filling out your paperwork, and when you’re talking to your judges be as real and open as you can be. You want to show them who you are as a person, not just as a title-holder or a contestant. You want things you put on your paperwork to be things you really do love that you can get excited about, in the same why that I could get excited about talking about my family’s Easter traditions. The wonderful time that we had this Easter just reinforced that.

Juliana McKee


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