Speckled jelly beans, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Eggs, Chocolate bunnies…..oh, my teeth hurt just thinking about it! Almost 2.6 billion (yes, BILLION) dollars will be spent on Easter candy this year in the U.S. The average family spends up to $100 on the sweet treats alone for their child’s basket. Now thats a LOT of Peeps! I’ve been purchasing Easter baskets and treats for 25 years and can attest: there are alternatives that do not include your child crashing after a sugar high on Sunday morning as you are leaving for church or brunch with family.
Face it, the littlest ones don’t really NEED an Easter basket. It’s more for the parents, the hooplah of seeing their faces in the morning when they spy their pastel-colored container filled with treats. I’m not saying to skip it, but I am saying that you can keep it a little low key for these ages. My earliest memory of an Easter basket was the little white purse I received one year that had a one dollar bill in it, a few chocolate eggs and a chapstick if my memory serves me right. My little sis and I both got one. When my 2 children were this age, for our daughter, we put a little stuffed bunny, a Barbie, and some plastic eggs filled with coins (only for the kiddos who won’t shove change in their mouths, leading to a trip to the ER) into her Sunday morning surprise. For our son: Matchbox cars, a stuffed bunny, and sometimes Play Dough or stickers. The kids always got crayons, coloring books, and bubbles.
Does your child have a favorite hobby? Are they a budding artist? Stuff their baskets with paints, chalk, and notebooks of paper. Other items to consider are sunglasses, jump ropes, and ice cream place gift cards. Walkie talkies for summer time backyard adventures! My kids LOVED theirs! New shoes (while they may not be too stoked about getting footwear for the holiday, it’s a functional and practical gift). Yo-yos, bright-colored beads and yarn, packets of flower and vegetable seeds for you to plant together and watch grow. A little birdhouse kit with seed included. Anything to get your kids outside and using their imaginations! Summer is right around the corner.
This is always a bit of a tough age. What are your child’s interests? Our daughter LOVED to read. Books, cute bookmarks, or even a small gift card to a book store always made it into her basket. She enjoyed getting lip gloss, glitter markers, or hand lotion. The Easter bunny also like to give her a coupon for a “date” with mom or dad at the local movie theater one Saturday with popcorn. Our son was just getting into video games at this age. Add an age-appropriate game or two. Board games, like Monopoly, Uno, or even playing cards, are a great basket stuffers, too. At this age, it’s nice to include little basket gifts for kids that are also meant for the whole family to do together: footballs, baseballs and basketballs.
Is your child a music lover? Add a new pair of earbuds or headphones to his or her basket. A spring-themed journal or planner are wonderful gifts for the organized and thoughtful kid. I loved adding some nail polish and a gift card for a pedi with mom into my daughter’s basket. Kids start being more interested in practical Easter baskets at this age. Consider things like headbands and hair ties, magazines and new socks. Roll up a favorite sports team hat or t-shirt.
My “littles” are now 25 and 21. At this point in their lives, they don’t really receive baskets full of goodies anymore. But, it’s still an excuse I get to use to help them out with something: a gas card or a couple of bucks thrown their way in a card. It’s the thought that counts, and just knowing that they are being thought of, even though they may not live at home, makes a big difference.
And because we take dental hygiene seriously, all Easter baskets have included new toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss. Of course, just because we focused on items other than candy doesn’t mean there wasn’t any put into baskets. There were Cadbury eggs, spiced jelly beans, and chocolate bunnies. (Bunnies that may or may not have had an ear bitten off of them. Maybe it was me, or maybe it was their dad. I’ll never tell!)