Can you remember a time when the traditional Easter basket didn’t mean giving the kids an Easter basket full of candy, marshmallow treats, chocolate bunnies and creame eggs? How about those cellophane wrapped baskets, stuffed with all sorts of throw away toys, all made from recycled plastic? Does the idea of giving a traditional Easter basket sound like a better, healthier and environmentally friendly idea? Some people, especially those that believe in observing the spirit of rebirth and renewal, believe just that.
How well do you remember the fun of Easter morning’s traditional Easter egg hunt, where colorful eggs were carefully hidden by Mom and Dad inside and outside the house. It took time and careful work to make those wonderful Easter eggs, with all their colors and designs that only love and kids can make. Do you remember mixing food colors and vinegar in order to make colorful etchings on the shells? These days, it’s become easier to pick up as many candy-shelled candy eggs as you want from any discount store.
Easter is the last, or the first, holiday in a long procession of holidays that feature giving candy and treats by the pound to children. The true meaning of our cherished holidays and religious celebrations have mostly been reduced to believing in mythical characters and giving the kids enough sugar to fuel a small rocket engine. Something has been lost somewhere over the decades, and parents that care about preserving the meaning, not to omit the word health, of these wonderful occasions, could begin to return to a more natural world by finding simplicity in construction and presention of gifts, beginning with the Easter Basket.
Where and how should you begin? Since most of us remember the Easter basket rather than its contents, it seems like a good place to start is with the basket. Traditional Easter baskets are made from all natural materials, so it would make sense to either buy all natural baskets or basket making materials. Making your own baskets for Easter isn’t difficult and is fun to learn. Basket making has a lot more value to it than you might think, but as a family project, basket making is second to none. Chances are that you can find a local basket making class, or you can pick up a good basket making book from your local library.
These days, all the those over-stuffed, imported Easter baskets are made from plastic and filled with plastic. Sure, they’re all colorful, but an hour or two after being opened, the contents are headed for the landfill by the millions of pounds. For those of us that are concerned about cleaning up the environment, why are we so intent on buying cheap, imported things that only make the environment worse?
A traditional Easter basket made from natural materials could be lined with colorful cloth or straw. It doesn’t take much to line a basket, and the kids might notice the difference between cellophane and natural materials.
Finally, there’s what goes into the basket. Easter eggs belong in Easter baskets, of course. Hand colored hard boiled eggs are the all-natural, traditional combination. In a traditional Easter basket, Easter eggs could be complemented with a hand-made stuffed Easter Bunny instead of a chocolate or peanut butter filled Peter Cottontail. Among the things that kids love are crayons, colored pencils and paints to go along with a fun filled coloring book. Another favorite gift for the kids is a jar of soap bubbles. Top it off with some fresh fruit, an Easter story book or hand made toys, and you’ve got a winner!
The most difficult choice to make is what to substitute for the Jelly Beans. Jelly Beans are as much a part of Easter is as grandma’s ham and apple pie. Luckily, there are delicious tasting fresh fruits, like grapes, blueberries, strawberries, and oranges that kids love just as well. Wouldn’t you prefer to have the kids digestive system processing all natural fruit sugars instead of processing candy?
Using the power of your own imagination and memory, you can add any number of natural and nostalgic items to this year’s Easter Basket. Wouldn’t it be nice to start a new Easter tradition in your home by giving a traditional Easter basket this year and every year?