Growing up, my family never celebrated Easter. We had Easter baskets as kids, and I went to Mass, but we had no family get togethers, big dinners, or anything else. Easter was pretty much just another Sunday at our house.
When I was old enough, I went to the Easter vigil alone, and on Easter morning, I attended Mass again, often at the Franciscan church at noon, followed by Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. That was about it.
As an adult, I appreciate the quiet of Easter Sunday, and the 'permission' to be excused from social functions. Unlike Christmas, few seem to object to my 'not doing anything for Easter'.
After the austerities of Lent - voluntary or involuntary, and the emotional and spiritual intensity of Holy Week, I have always had difficulty in waking up Easter morning full of joy. Though Christ rose from the tomb transformed, I awaken the same person I had been yesterday. An Easter basket or new clothes never quite did it for me. Hymns, altars covered in lace, with colorful flowers have little effect as well.
I have this naive notion that everything is supposed to be better on Easter - that I really will experience that joy so many express in their "Alleluias" and "Happy Easters" and the proclamation, "He is risen!" I know that. He was risen last week as well. Yet it is somehow easier to identify with him in suffering and sorrow, than it is to suddenly wake up Easter morning full of exultation.
Nothing external or material supplies this joy for me, only the liturgy - with nothing to do with the decorations or hymns - the liturgy itself - not those glad-assed, happy-hands novelty liturgies - but the formal, solemn Roman rite. Only then am I able to grasp the meaning of Easter, and touch, or rather be touched by the joy of the Resurrection.
Nevertheless, I'm still the same old, same old guy I was last week. Life hasn't gotten better, it hasn't changed, and I'm still stuck in it. But I have this hope...