When I was a kid, my family had some special traditions surrounding the Easter holiday. In addition to the festivities at church, my siblings and I received Easter baskets at home. It’s hard to remember specific details looking back, but I do remember there was usually candy and some other practical gifts in there – and there was ALWAYS a hunt for our treasures!
On Easter morning, my parents assigned each of us a room in the house. All our items were hidden in that room, and it was up to us to uncover them! We’d race off to our specific room and scan the space for our gifts. I’ll never forget the year of the umbrella. My mom kept telling me there was one more item for me and despite painstakingly looking over the room numerous times, I couldn’t find it! I can’t recall if she ended up giving in and pointing it out or if I eventually found it on my own, but laying flush with the window frame was a new umbrella for me. It’s nearly 30 years later, and I still feel the desperation!
I want to do Easter baskets and hunts with my kids, but I’ve been disheartened by the sheer amount of throwaway items marketed for Easter. These plastic items or short-term use items are inexpensive to produce and very convenient for us busy folks to buy, but something about it all doesn’t sit well with me. Maybe because of all the articles I’ve been reading about environmental crises lately, or because this year Easter falls the day before Earth Day…whatever the reason, I’m struggling.
I began thinking about what it would look like to put an Earth-friendly spin on Easter baskets this year and the more I thought about it, the more excited I got! If you also want to participate in the Easter basket tradition this year while making a minimal impact on the environment, I’ve compiled some ideas for you.
Now, please hear me out. No shame if you love the brightly colored plastic Easter baskets or plastic, fillable eggs. We can still be friends and you are not a bad mom or a bad human being. Perhaps if you don’t already, you could save them from year to year and reuse them. That’s a wonderful thing to do. I myself have some plastic, refillable eggs in my basement that I’m saving for Easter.
If you’re ready to implement more steps to have a lower-waste Easter, pick a few things from the list below to try with your family this year.
- Choose practical gifts like clothing, rain boots, or…an umbrella!
- Give experiences like movie tickets, museum passes, or a trip to the theater
- Purchase toys to get the kids outdoors such as chalk, a jump rope, or a kickball
- Select items with minimal packaging, such as fruit or books
Get Creative with the “Plastic Grass” Filling
- Use silk scarves or ribbon dancer wands the kids can play with afterward
- If your child is older, pick a fashion scarf to use at the bottom that they can add to their wardrobe (thrift stores have so many of these!)
- Find a pom-pom or tutu to add fluff at the bottom and opportunities for make-believe later
- Sub in shredded recycled paper
- Place yarn at the bottom that your child can use in craft projects
- Use a single sheet of colored tissue paper you can recycle afterward
- Grow real grass in the Easter basket
Consider the Container
- Opt for reusing a basket – many families use the same basket for each kid, year after year
- Select a natural-fiber basket like bamboo or wicker
- Instead of purchasing a new basket, pick one up at the thrift store
- Decorate a wooden basket with fabric ribbon that can be reused as a fashion belt or hair bow
- Choose a non-conventional container that has a practical secondary purpose such as a tin beach pail for summer, a fabric cube for cubby shelves, a new lunchbox, or purses/sports duffels/suitcases
Think About the Whole Life of each Item
- What natural resources were used in making the product?
- Did it ship from a distant location or was it made locally?
- Can it be easily recycled from your home? (glass, paper, plastic)
- Can it be composted when you are done with it?
- Can it be reused or repurposed when its first use is complete?
I hope together we can have a lighter environmental footprint for Easter this year, and have a lot of fun letting our creativity flow!