Plastic Easter grass is my enemy. With Easter falling literally two days after Earth Day this year (which also happens to be the day prior to the Great Cloth Diaper Change), I was really hoping people were going to be more cognizant of all the unnecessary garbage that this holiday generates. A quick trip to the grocery store proved this to be a false assumption.
Plastic Easter grass, plastic eggs, poorly-constructed plastic baskets, and colorful cellophane (plastic) wrapping all lined the shelves next to the candy and a few stuffed bunnies. Let me stop right now and again affirm that I am not anti-plastic. Plastic is fantastic. It’s easy to clean, in many cases durable– what riles me up is “use it once and discard it” plastic. Even many of Jibber’s toys are plastic, though we continue to plead each holiday with Nana and Pop to use discretion when purchasing trinkets. So what’s the Easter bunny to do?
Remember back when we were kids and we actually colored eggs? Based on practicalmomma’s age, I am assuming at least some readers will. You know what? It was really fun for me! I suggest trying natural dyes as well– think beet juice, grape juice, and anything else that is really difficult to get out of your kid’s clothes.
Next, the basket. Children do not need a new Easter basket each year. These flimsy baskets usually serve their purpose for one day and end up as pastel landfill material the next. If at all possible, use something in place of a basket that can repurposed and used throughout the rest of the year. You know those canvas storage bins? They work wonderfully, and kids can use them for room organization afterwards. A watering can or a large terracotta planter also work well. If you must go the basket route, practicalmomma suggests starting a tradition and buying a basket that is built to last, one which the kids must leave outside their door for the bunny to fill and hide before Easter morning.
What to fill it with? Shredded junk mail is very colorful and looks almost identical to the plastic grass some people are so fond of. Or, you could opt for the “lining” to be a cleverly folded shirt, pairs of socks, or something else practical. Candy, of course, is a popular Easter treat, but practicalmomma shies away from recommending those giant chocolate bunnies. Perhaps it’s the fitness fanatic in me, but it concerns me that anyone is encouraged to eat one of these in under 3 days time (that’s assuming you don’t eat it all in one sitting). Practicalmomma likes art supplies, including colorful paints and markers, and gardening paraphernalia– seeds, tiny pots, flowering bulbs, artfully arranged, and maybe even a container of earthworms or ladybugs, if your region allows. If you have a space for the child to grow their own garden and play with bugs, this will provide with infinitely more enjoyment (and education!) than cheap chocolate.
Easter heralds the arrival of Spring, and what better time to educate children about the Earth, ecosystems, and web of life we all belong to than when the world is literally being reborn? Don’t be afraid to do something different this year– don’t get caught up in the “quick and easy, buy it pre-assembled.” Although many of you are busy parents, remember that you are setting the example for your children as well. Be a positive role model for the next generation and remember that even the mighty oak begins as a small seedling.