Easter Gifts

Hubby Patrick despises Easter grass. “It’s like the plague!” he complained over our nightcap. “It gets everywhere and clogs up the vacuum. Who created this stuff? This year, no Easter grass will enter the Kelly household.”

During our holiday discussion, my fury focused more on the commercialism of Easter. “Does every holiday have to be a gift fest?” I replied to his rant. “It used to be gifts just on birthdays and Christmases. Now Easter and Halloween are getting into the act. Isn’t Easter all about the candy?”

We decided that this year would be different. The mythical bunny will only deliver candy and homemade gifts, sans Easter grass, to the Kelly home.

After my proclamation, I began to panic. “Ideas…I need some. There isn’t much time.”

“Easter, and you think eggs,” offered sis Nancy. “You know, springtime, chicks hatching, life renewing. So we do a lot of egg decorating. The little kids paint wooden eggs, and the older kids use fine-tip permanent markers to draw detailed pictures on their eggs. We also decoupage wooden eggs. I collect flower-design cards and wrapping paper, arm the kids with their own scissors and glue, and let them go at it. One year we wrapped fuzzy yarn around plastic eggs and hot-glued ribbon on the end to make egg ornaments. We have friends who make confetti eggs. They blow out the egg, fill it with tiny pieces of construction paper, and on Easter morning they have a huge egg fight. One year I plan to attempt that.”

“I like to put something in their baskets that can be used throughout the year,” explained friend Cathy. “Last year, I made some paper origami bunnies and chicks and then added some origami paper so that my daughter could make her own creations. My son got a bird guide along with a nature journal; I found a journal with a bark cover. My hubby gets the high-end chocolates and some meaningful gift that sparks a memory of ours. One year it was a CD from an opera we both saw when we were newlyweds. And he also gets a homemade card from the kids.”

Chum Monica said, “One year I made homemade Play-Doh for the kids. Every year they get some art supplies in their baskets…something to keep them creating for a few weeks. Stickers, colored pencils, clay, and markers are always big hits.”

Cousin Jill offered some basket-lining ideas. “My sister once lined her baskets with plastic and potting soil, then added grass seed. By Easter, each basket had a nice, soft lining of green grass. Then she added some chocolates and Easter-themed homemade cookies. The baskets were fresh and natural looking.”

“We have a ban on the plastic grass in our home also,” admitted Michele. “We use shredded paper in place of the Easter grass. Another friend of mine sews small pillowcases for each of her kids and lines the baskets with them. Each year they get a new pillowcase.”

“We love wool felt in our home,” said nursery-school teacher Amy. “You can make finger puppets out of it — little stuffed animals, like a chick, frog, or bunny — or little purses for little girls. And it is simple enough that even little kids can embroider around the edges.”

My friend Rebecca’s family has garden-themed Easters. “Most years, our baskets have seeds, new gardening gloves, sometimes a pretty little plant pot. One year, we put a wooden birdhouse kit in my son’s basket.”

Friend Regina has her family baskets filled with certificates. “We make gift-certificate cards for different outings or special deeds for each other. So, you might find a certificate for an ice cream–cone outing with Dad or an afternoon shopping with Mom. Even the kids will make some for each other — like, making each other’s bed or cleaning one another’s bedroom. It helps lower the commercialism of the holiday. And we always have lots of candy in the baskets too.”

Cousin Anna suggested I check out Chinaberry (1-800-776-2242) for some gift ideas. “I noticed they are selling these tiny ceramic eggs filled with soil, and the kids can plant seeds in them and watch their herbs grow out of the head of the egg. Very whimsical.” (Egglings, $10.95 each) “They also sell a pysanky set [$19.95] to make your own Ukrainian eggs. In our home, most years we try to make a few new Ukrainian eggs for our Easter tree, which is a tree branch that we whitewash. We decorate it with homemade eggs.”

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Homemade or store-bought, presents on Easter are commercial, even if the surrounding grass is real. You are describing Too Much Stuff -- even if it is tastefully artsy.

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