Easter is one of my favorite holidays, not only because of the religious aspect, but because it is a celebration of new life and reconnecting with the natural world awakening from its winter sleep.
Children dress in sweet Easter clothes and enjoy Easter egg hunts for chocolate and other sweet treats. Bunnies, chicks and ducklings abound. What’s not to love?
Unfortunately, Easter baskets have been traditionally filled with non-recyclable plastic eggs made in China, fake plastic Easter grass, and sugary candy made full of preservatives. The Easter baskets themselves are often made of un-recyclable plastic, and assembled in countries that have terrible records when it comes to human rights.
And there is just nothing natural about that.
But don’t hang the Easter bunny out to dry yet!
Here are a few ideas to make your Easter a little more eco-friendly.
If you have already purchased Easter baskets, plan on storing them and use them year after year.
If your child doesn’t have an Easter basket yet, consider the following options:
- Repurpose a basket you already have on hand with a coat of spray paint. Or, the thrift stores are full of baskets waiting for a new home. The baskets seen in the photos were baskets I found at Goodwill and prettied up a bit with leftover spray paint.
- Use something you already have as an Easter basket, like a beach pail or a galvanized bucket. If your daughter will have an Easter bonnet, turn it upside down and fill it with goodies. Plastic mesh storage containers with a ribbon tied as a handle will work. Lunch boxes and pillowcases also work well.
- Choose a theme for your Easter gifts; the container could be a new tackle box, a flower pot with gardening items, a purse, a backpack or a make-up bag.
- If you are super crafty, here are some great ideas for making your own basket. Twig & Thistle has a great downloadable paper basket. For those of you who know how to sew, there is this great little basket, or this felt version from Maya*Made. And if you are really up for the challenge, this fabric basket from the Moda Bake Shop is to die for!
Now that you have your basket, what should go in it?
Easter grass, of course! But not that icky plastic stuff that gets all over your house. We have some better ideas.
- Shredded newsprint, brown paper bags or magazines make great Easter grass and can be tossed into the compost bin later or reused as packing material.
- For a very natural look, you can line the basket with a pot and grow wheatgrass. But to do this, you’ll need 9-12 days for the grass to grow in, so you’d better get started. (See the tutorial on Simple Kids for more information on how to grow your own Easter Wheatgrass!)
- Spanish moss makes great Easter grass and we’ve even lined our baskets with pine needles before.
- Rafia is a good substitute for Easter grass as well and could be reused later.
- Or decide not to use grass at all and line your basket with a gift item like a new beach towel or a soft pastel colored blanket.
Now your basket is ready to be filled with goodies!
Easter Basket Fillers
Start with items that are really wanted or needed by your children and definitely will be used. None of us need any more trinkety toys that will just end up in the donate pile.
How about an art themed Easter basket full of new art supplies and fun stickers and papers? Think of items that your children will be needing for warmer weather anyway, like new sandals or flip flops, sunglasses and water bottles. A few years ago, I filled my boys Easter baskets with summer beach toys, including a new swimsuit and goggles.
- My family does not eat hard boiled eggs very well, so instead of cooking our eggs we blow the shells out and I scramble the eggs the next morning.
- If you already have plastic eggs, store them afterward like you do Christmas decorations, and reuse them next year.
- If you are dyeing eggs, consider using natural dyes from items you might already have in your refrigerator. Katie posted a great how-to for coloring eggs using all natural dyes. Check it out!
Treats and Sweets
There are a lot of options for filling Easter baskets with items other than candy. Think along the lines of things you would use for Christmas stocking stuffers. Here are some ideas to get you going:
- Homemade play dough (recipe here)
- Dried fruit, nuts, and natural fruit chews and roll ups.
- Make a CD with their favorite songs or of yourself reading a favorite book
- Coloring books
- Crayons or markers
- A Yo-Yo
- Squirt Guns
- Swim Goggles
- Homemade egg shaped sugar cookies
- Blow-up rafts and swim toys
- Bouncy Balls
- Silly putty
- A Frisbee
- Cards/ small games
- Kid sized garden tools and seeds
- Doll accessories
- A jump rope
- Books about spring
- New tooth brush/paste
- New flip flops
- Hair bows, bands, ribbons
- Paper dolls
- Sidewalk chalk
- Pastel colored shoe laces
- Spare change
- Oh, the list could go on and on…
Let’s be honest. What is an Easter basket without a little chocolate?
Part of the celebration is celebrating how sweet this time of year is. Look for Fair Trade Certified chocolate choices. Read why you should choose Fair Trade here. Fair Trade chocolates can be found in most chain stores now. Being eco-friendly is easier than ever. Happy Eco-Easter Everyone!
What are your Easter traditions? Does your family do Easter baskets? What will you be filling your baskets with this year?