- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 20, 2019

Easter spending is expected to top $18.2 billion this year, the second-highest level on record, according to the National Retail Federation. A total of 81% of Americans will celebrate the holiday.

“Consumer spending remains healthy both for this holiday and this spring, and that paints an optimistic picture for the U.S. economy in the year ahead,” says Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the industry group.

Americans will spend close to $6 billion on food, $3 billion on those fancy Easter time clothes, $2.6 billion on candy and $2.4 billion on flowers and decorations. Six-out-of-10 Americans will spend time with family and friends and cook a holiday meal, 50% will attend church, while 35% plan an Easter egg hunt or celebration.

That includes the White House, which expects 30,000 people to show up for the annual Easter Egg Roll on Monday, a traditional event which will feature First Lady Melania Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Dept. of Veterans Affairs secretary Robert Wilkie, counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway and press secretary Sarah Sanders, among those who will read aloud to the young guests.

One well-known confectioner is providing something for the adults on Easter as well.

Just Born, the maker of the iconic Peeps marshmallow chicks and other fare, also offers the recipe for an official Peeps Cocktail, for those so inclined. And here it is:

Edge a martini glass rim with a lemon wedge, then dip in colored sugar. Set aside. In a shaker filled with ice, add 1 1/2 ounces of cherry vodka. 1/2 ounce of triple sec and 3 ounces of half and half plus a dash of grenadine. Shake until chilled. Strain into prepared glass, garnish with the marshmallow Peeps of your choice; serve immediately.

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