Is it me, or is Easter sneaking up on us again?
Easter is my holiday to host, and every year, it feels like we jump right from the end of February into Easter, and I'm never as ready as I think I should be. I'm still putting away boots and scarves, while my mother and mother-in-law are asking what they can bring to a meal that has barely made it on my radar. I feel like I should have plenty of time...and then I'm scrambling last minute to clean the house, plan the menu, grocery shop, get the dining room switched from homeschool central to, you know, a dining room, get Easter dresses and shoes and cardigans squared away, and, most importantly to my kids, get the Easter baskets ready to go.
When I was a kid, Easter baskets were candy. Just candy. Actually, now that I think of it, they usually included some sort of stuffed bunny that we brought to church with us, and maybe an Easter book. But the majority of our basket was jelly beans, chocolate eggs, a big chocolate rabbit that we'd nibble on gradually, Peeps, and, if we were lucky, Cadbury Creme Eggs.
Now it seems that Easter baskets are basically Christmas stockings. Candy might be included, but it seems like stores want candy to be the garnish on a basket full of toys. Not just a stuffed animal, but toys.
I'm not a big fan of this one. My girls have plenty of toys around the house. It feels like the Christmas toys are still new. The girls have just finished spending their Christmas gift cards. Reagan has just had a birthday, which is another influx. I don't want to stuff the Easter baskets full of toys.
But...there is something to be said for cutting down the candy. There has to be a balance somewhere, and I think I've found it. Here are my TOP FIVE EASTER GIFTS to balance the tradition of candy, the minimalist toy strategy, a budget that seems logical, and a fun morning before a long church service.
***Our baskets aren't big, so we do a selection of these, and because my girls can get competitive, I have to make sure that the baskets are balanced. Make sure you work within your own budget and comfort level.***
5. OUTDOOR TOYS
Sidewalk chalk, sand toys, pool toys, jump ropes, anything that says "get outside and play!"
4. SUMMER PREP
We spend our summers at the pool. The girls are also learning golf and tennis. Our Easter baskets include some of those things that I need to buy anyway. Bathing suits, goggles, water shoes, golf balls, tennis outfits, flip flops, and maybe even a towel.
3. BLIND BAGS
My girls are still obsessed with these things. The novelty has not worn off, the desire has not faded, and if anything, they are better at knowing what they want and which bags are the most sought after. They still work hard for their weekly surprise, but a holiday bonus of their favorite currency is pretty great. My favorite for Easter is the Glitzy Globe, because there's an element of crafting, and, of course, they come in an egg!
2. ARTS AND CRAFTS
Speaking of crafty gifts, something that will keep them occupied during church or a long family afternoon is a win-win addition. Crafts stores, grocery stores, and big box stores all seem to carry little craft sets with foam eggs to decorate, scratch art, sticker and coloring packs, pretty much for every ability level and interest. We bring a small coloring book (with new crayons!) to church, and save the bigger projects for home when we're waiting on Easter dinner.
The girls know that books are my weakness. We own more books than I can count, yet I'm always willing to add to our collection if it bolsters their love of reading and stories.
What? No candy????
Just because it didn't make our top five doesn't mean that we don't do candy. I love candy, and you can't steal what isn't in your house to begin with. So yeah, there's candy. And I usually suspend any and all "candy rules" the day OF the holiday, before packing it up to dole out slowly.
If you're itching to let your kids try some new toys, but you don't want to turn Easter into a gift giving occasion, or you are already feeling overwhelmed, Pley is a great company to check out. For one low monthly price, you can rent a toy, play with it until the interest fades, then send it back and get a new one. It's great for pricey building kits, like Lego and Playmobile, but they have options for every age and interest.
What do you put in your Easter baskets?