Saturday, April 23, 2011

Friendship baskets

Do you remember the Solo coffee cup inserts that were sold in the 70s?

I remember turning these into Easter baskets for my parents as a kid.

Easter has great significance for me. It is, of course, a milestone holiday in my Christian faith that symbolizes the resurrection of Christ. It's also a time to remember family and friends.

I've always felt people should be able to share in the celebration, regardless of age. One year, I decided kids shouldn't be the only ones to get Easter baskets. But kids have few resources, or at least that was true for the kids I knew. I bought a little candy with my allowance, colored some eggs and then scoured the house in search of something to use for baskets.

I don't actually recall my parents drinking from the Solo cups but they were in our cupboard, so I snagged them, punched some holes in the sides to add pipe cleaner-handles, filled them with Easter grass and candy, then snuck out of bed early Easter morning to add the hard-boiled eggs and surprise my parents with them.

Playing Easter bunny has always been tons of fun. When my older kids were little, certain candies became an annual tradition. Somehow, the list of favorites grew each year until the piles of candy lasted nearly 'til Halloween. OK, so maybe I'm exaggerating, but no child needs that much candy.

The solution: share! As winter turned to spring, it became another tradition to search out nifty baskets or  to deliver Easter goodies to our friends who lived alone (Hint: always take a whiff of natural-material baskets before buying, since they often have a musty smell). We would find pretty ways to wrap them, sometimes add flowers and get a kick out of making a friend's day when the basket was dropped off.
Sometimes we made mini baskets too. I've seen some beautiful cupcake wrappers in the stores that would be perfect for minis. The ones at left are by Wilton, which I often see in larger grocery retailers as well as places such as JoAnn Fabric and Craft Stores. If you're looking for ideas for Easter basket cupcakes, check out this link: http://www.bakerella.com/eye-candy/.

Because none of my close friends live alone anymore, they eventually became immersed in their own family traditions; sadly, the basket deliveries came to an end. My older children now live out of state and most years I send them a small Easter basket so they can celebrate the holiday in their own apartments. Not so this year, since the fam will be getting together for a late, "Fake Easter" celebration that our friend Lauren has dubbed "Feaster."

It's too late this year, but next year, I'm thinking of assembling a few baskets for children staying in homeless shelters. I remember an elementary school where students did this. It was so touching how much it meant to the little ones, even though they didn't realize other kids were play the role of Easter bunny helpers.

Thinking about the strawberry bear book the other day brought to mind another Easter tradition when my kids were young, the story of "The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes," by Dubose Heyward and Marjorie Flack.

The bunny, who is parenting a large family of bunnies on her own, gathers her well-mannered children to see the jack rabbits compete to become the next Easter bunny and finds herself being considered for the job. But to do so, her children have to pitch in while she's trekking around the world bringing joy to little ones. It's always heart warming to see well-behaved children who pitch in; this book is no exception. I read this as a child and always aspired to have a family this close, and thank the good Lord, I've been pretty blessed. Read this book, I think you'll love it too. If you can't find it close to home, it's sold on www.amazon.com.

I hope you have a very happy Easter. We'd love to hear about your own family traditions, so please feel free to share!

2 comments:

  1. Its really nice blog. Gift basket is one of the best way to express your feelings. Its really nice way to treat for your loved ones.
    Regards,
    Friendship Gift Basket

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you, Emily! I agree, it's nice to show family and friends some love by keeping up these traditions. Thanks for stopping by!
    -Elle

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