In case you’re on the hunt for easy and clutter-free (or waste-free!) gift ideas for filling up an Easter basket this weekend, here are a few ideas.
Simple, sustainable, and, some of them: free!
+ Choose an Easter basket that can get some use post-Easter. Most Easter baskets get used for exactly one day a year, but no one will be the wiser if you dump the little basket you use to wrangle your napkins (or other things) and fill it up with treats for a day. If you’re thinking of buying something new, try to choose a fair-trade basket made by folks getting paid a fair wage. Better yet: use what you already have and think outside the…er…basket. A bowl, a box, a bag: all fair game.
+ Buy unpackaged treats. If you want to indulge in some seasonal chocolate, go get ’em (I’ll be enjoying it, too), but if you can, opt out of the individually tin-foil wrapped eggs and shop the bulk section instead. Bulk candy shops are still relatively widespread and lots of bulk sections in grocery stores have at least a few treats. Bring your own bags and fill up on chocolates, jelly beans, and pastel-colored pastilles. Pack ’em up in a cloth bag, lay ’em end on end in a curvilinear bunny trail, or sprinkle ’em willy-nilly in your basket. (PS. If you’d rather avoid the candy aspect of the holiday altogether, that doesn’t mean you have to be bunny trail-less. Make a trail of tiny pebbles or feathers or seashells or birdseed instead!)
+ Go useful and practical. Think about everyday items in your house that need replacing or an upgrade and keep them in mind when filling your basket. Slip a few new pairs of underwear in a cloth bag. Replace yucky hand towels with a bright new set. Fold a new potholder into your basket. (And then just remember to pass along or dispose of whatever it is you’re replacing.)
+ Consider affordable or free alternatives to cheap, plastic toys. Affordability dictates a lot of Easter treats, but there are affordable alternatives to throwaway gifts that often fill up baskets (and later, rooms). Usable (and use-up-able gifts) like flower seeds, a few new colored pencils, modeling clay or beeswax, homemade playdough, a jar of collected “treasures” like seashells and stones, and other homespun treats are all inexpensive (or totally free!) gifts for kiddos.
+ Choose one special treat instead of a basketful. Especially for older children or loved ones, maybe forgo the tradition of offering a basket full of tiny treats altogether and opt for one something special instead? Bonus if the gift encourages an eco-friendly habit shift: A new bento bag to bring to the bakery? A set of beeswrap to replace plastic wrap? A bar shampoo to replace your plastic bottle? A new water bottle?
+ Give something green. Spring is the perfect time to get things growing and Easter is all about new life. A potted plant in an Easter basket (for kids of just about any age) is a nice (and easily budget-friendly) idea.
+ Use the real deal over the fake version. I know a lot of folks use the argument that plastic Easter eggs can be reused in season after season. But if you don’t have them yet and you’d rather not store them or buy new plastic, opt out! Hard boil a dozen eggs, dye ’em if you’re up to it, and have kids hunt for those instead. On the Easter grass front, I never get around to posting about this early enough, but you might still have time to grow a little wheatgrass in a sunny windowsill. I worked on this post a few years ago…same basic instructions, in whatever vessel you choose. No time for real grass? Skip it altogether!
For the curious, a few specifics:
The hand towel.
The playdough recipe.
The muslin bags.