Like most major holidays, Easter is typically filled with plastic, sugar and waste. Hand-dyed hard-boiled eggs have given way to plastic shells that are eventually tossed in landfills. Homemade treats have been replaced by sugary junk that resembles dollar store toys more than real food. And the legend of the Easter Bunny has come to life in the form of a giant polyester costume. This year, I am trying my best to have a natural, eco-friendly Easter by minimizing the waste and concentrating more on homemade gifts and treats.
Buy a good quality Easter basket or make your own with thrifted materials.
When my son was born, I purchased a good quality Easter basket with a beautiful cloth lining for each member of our family. I reuse these baskets every Easter – they don’t get much wear considering they are only pulled out of storage once per year. Another option is to make your own Easter basket using ordinary baskets or buckets collected from thrift stores or your grandparents’ attic. Line your basket with burlap or organic cotton cloth or weave silk ribbon around the outside. Try this tutorial for making your own liner. You can customize it by stitching your child’s name on the cloth or ribbon. Try painting the basket a fun Easter color.
Skip the plastic eggs.
I can’t say it enough – avoid plastic as much as possible. It is made from petroleum. It is full of harmful chemicals – especially poor quality plastic such as that used for Easter eggs. And it ends up just sitting in landfills. I have a stash of plastic eggs that I collected after a community egg hunt several years ago. I reuse those eggs every year to hide treats around our yard. I LOVE this idea for reusing plastic eggs to make teacups!
If you don’t have a stash of plastic eggs like I do, just skip them altogether. Instead, hide hand-dyed boiled eggs and emphasize the thrill of the hunt rather than the candy hidden inside. You could also award prizes for the most eggs found or let kids trade them in for other treasures.
Skip the plastic grass.
Fake plastic grass is just wrong. And like those plastic eggs, it ends up sitting in landfills. I purchased shredded paper grass years ago and I reuse it every year. You can also make your own by shredding scrap paper. Or you can grow your own using wheat grass seeds. Another option is to do what my husband did for me in our first year of marriage and go outside and pick a bunch of grass for the basket (I think he did it because he forgot to buy some not because he was being eco-friendly)!
Buy natural, organic candy or make your own treats.
Conventional Easter candy is filled with artificial flavors, colors and other ingredients that can have potentially harmful effects on your child’s health. There are plenty of natural, organic options at places like Whole Foods. I’m using treats such as Annie’s Homegrown Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks and Yummy Earth Organic Lollipops.
Or you can make your own treats. Try this homemade lollipop recipe from Skip to My Lou.
Try treats other than food.
Another tradition in our family is to include a book in the Easter basket. I (I mean the Easter Bunny) usually include a book that is Easter related but I think this year I am going to choose a classic (probably Alice in Wonderland since it does have a bunny!). I usually get my books from Paperbackswap.com or from local used book sales.
Other non-candy ideas include:
- coloring books
- eco-friendly toys
- homemade playdough
- homemade crayons
- sidewalk chalk
MarthaStewart.com is always a great resource for handmade decorations and gifts.
Put something handmade and heartfelt in your child’s basket.
Every year, I make a gift by hand for my son. I’m hoping someday he may even pass them down to his children. Last year, I made a chick out of handmade pom poms constructed from local organic wool yarn. This year, I learned to knit so I knit a small bunny (I found this tutorial from Rebecca Danger). If you aren’t artistically inclined, you can find beautifully-made gifts at places like Etsy – check out Inhabitots’ article on Eco-Friendly Etsy Easter Basket Finds.
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