One of the best activities I can remember growing up was looking for Easter baskets. My parents didn’t give my sister and I them, as 1). They didn’t really have the money and 2). They figured grandparents would spoil us enough.
So, for me the hunt for Easter baskets would take place at my grandparent’s house with all my other cousins that would travel far distances to also be there Easter weekend. This took place in a good, small town, farming community (yes, like Mayberry). The town was spread out, and my grandparents lived in an awkward looking old house they kept building onto each time they cranked out a kid (6). This house was located on a really large lot with many trees, gardens and bushes one could hide Easter baskets in!
Oddly enough, I would always see one of my cousin’s grab my basket before me and say, “whoops” and hand mine to me. I would then cry and make my grandparents re-hide it somewhere (give me a break, this is devastating when you are 5 years old!). Don’t worry, I got revenge. I eventually got older (and faster) and was soon finding their baskets before them!
The Easter baskets did not include much, if any, candy. My grandparents filled it with so much more. Memories and activities that are lasting me my lifetime. Today I’ll share mine with you and maybe you will want to pick up some of these traditions too!
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1. Items That Promote Physical Activities Outside!
I come from a family that loves playing sports. My grandparents would support this activity as well and purchase us sporting goods such as basketballs, baseballs, volleyballs, etc. And put this in our Easter baskets! (We didn’t have your normal cutsie Easter baskets, we used farm buckets like this). To keep track of who got what, my grandparents would write down which grandkid got the basketball the year before, so they would give them a volleyball the next year and so forth. We would usually play sports in the yard, or walk a few blocks up to the school and have a full court press basketball game with our cousins (and any parent that felt like they could still hang with us). Likely a scheme to wear our energy out!
In reflecting back on it, my parents never had to purchase sporting goods. I am grateful I had grandparents who could provide this to us, and encouraged physical activities to get outside.
Another activity, do you know how fun it is to run and hit people with something? So I don’t get in trouble here, hitting people is only OK when it’s in the form of a slap bracelet. The cousins and I often played slap wrist bracelet tag in the yard…it was harder than regular tag and you had to be more strategic! I’m guessing this was another ploy from the parents to run our energy out….
If it was hot enough, we also had water toys such as water balloons or squirters in our Easter baskets. If it was too cold, of course we didn’t get to use them. But they were sure fun to have around in the summer!
Croquet or other yard activities like badminton weren’t necessarily in our Easter baskets, but I do remember playing these on the holidays. These are games that I have played ever since I was able to hold a mallet or racket and still do today!
2. Take A Trip Down Memory Lane
An appropriate age book was always in our Easter basket. Likely, our grandparents never bought books from a store or online. These were hand-me-down books from our parents! It was extra special opening up the cover of a faded, torn cover to read the inside inscription of when the book was given to my parent, by which relative, for a birthday or other occasion. It kind of made me feel a little special that I was reading the same book my mother did at my age.
Old pictures in photo frames were also given. I’d receive a black and white photo of an old lady and I’d be like, “who is this granny and where is she at??” Well, that’s your great, great grandmother, sitting outside a house they built with their own hands up in a mountain. Some distant cousins of yours still live in it today and it’s protected by the country’s law to be kept up and never torn down due to it’s historical value.” Ohhh, well, that’s kind of cool then.” Easter was another time to pass down memories and teach the grandkids a little history lesson.
3. Anything But Candy!
What? No candy? We didn’t need it and it wasn’t promoted much in our family. So, we often found fruit and nuts in our baskets. Sound a little weird, eh? Well, we actually looked forward to it! Each kid usually got an apple, banana and an orange. As well as nuts! Sometimes these would be the burnt peanuts with the candy coated shell. Which, yes, still counts as candy I think. But it’s one of my favorite treats today!
Occasionally, there would be juice boxes like Capri Suns and maybe even some Mr. Freezies. Not completely sugar free – but slightly better options than candy!
I asked Mr. Defined Sight what his favorite find was in his Easter baskets and without hesitation, he chimed in, “Packs of baseball cards!” It must have triggered a good memory, because he got a twinkle in his eye and proceeded to go down memory lane rattling off all the awesome baseball cards he was given over the years in his Easter baskets. Some of which, he still has today!
Fill Easter Baskets With Healthier Options
I encourage people to not be pulled into the norm. Did you know the week of Easter has narrowly surpassed Halloween as the best selling candy week of the year in terms of net sales? The candy industry knows how to package and market their products to consumers. And companies are making major bucks off of candy.
Be a rebel…I challenge you to not buy candy this year for Easter!
There are many ways to fill your Easter baskets. Why not in a way that will promote a healthier lifestyle and provide years of memories that will last a lifetime? I encourage you to try it this year if you do Easter baskets in your household.
Do you have any other suggestions for Easter baskets or family traditions that you do? Shoot me an email or comment below!