A Sweet and Simple Minimal Waste Easter Basket
Easter tends to fall right around Tad’s birthday, either before or after, which can lead to an overload of presents. Before and since his birth, it has always been my goal to be mindful of the gifts that I give him and to not bring an unnecessary bulk of items into the home. While this does happen, usually uncontrollably by friends, relatives, and us as well, we have somehow kept a mostly minimalist lifestyle for the past six years. I really cannot believe it has been that long! And I say mostly because I feel like I mess up a lot. I don’t purchase hardly as much clothing as I did growing up, maybe shopping three to five times a year for myself. Yet every time I do, I feel immensely guilty. Do any of you other self-proclaimed minimalists feel this way? Now that you have given up so much, it’s harder to let things in?
I knew that this year I wanted to try something different with Tad now that he is getting older and is more aware of what he is receiving. I also wanted to make sure that the gifts were enjoyable for him. I have seen many child-friendly minimalist and waste-free gift ideas for children, and to be honest, a lot of them leave me thinking, “That’s nice… but it’s not very fun.” I know that my child, while bright and open-minded and not necessarily expecting a bright shiny toy for every gift, would probably be disappointed with a cotton sack for a present. I mean, truly! He is a kid. So here I am, a blogger, writing to tell you that I find a lot of those waste-free gifts kind of silly and missing the point. I wanted to use this holiday opportunity to create things that I might have already purchased for Tad but make and provide them in an eco-friendly way!
Spring Book. One of my favorite ways to celebrate the seasons and holidays is by sharing new seasonal inspired books with Tad. We love changing out our books when the weather changes and appreciating the season we are living in that way. In truth, just by doing this simple task of changing out the books and introducing the slight concepts of the seasons we are in (while also spending a lot of time outside) I have seen massive leaps forward in his development. He notices everything outside that we cover in these books, when the leaves are changing, when the plants are sprouting from the ground, which bugs are present, and when the flowers are blooming. Just by reading these nature inspired stories he is conscious of what each season brings! Some of our favorite spring-inspired books are:
I Am A Bunny / I Am A Mouse by Richard Scarry
The Story of the Root Children by Sibylle von Offers
Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner
A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts Aston
Pippa and Pelle in the Spring Garden by Daniela Drescher (the book I bought this year!)
The Little Gardener by Emily Hughes
Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert
Children of the Forest by Elsa Beskow (his favorite right now)
Colored Pencils or Beeswax Crayons. We are still working on gaining the patience for coloring over here! Though in the past month I have noticed an interest in wanting to bring out the beeswax crayons I bought him a couple of years back. These are really nice and color so easily and well. They’ve actually helped him quite a bit in wanting to color since they place pigment onto the paper without much pressure. This year I decided to find some colored pencils because Tad has had an increased interest in learning to write his name and other letters!
Homemade Playdough. One of our favorite creative toys, homemade playdough is so fun! I learned how to make a homemade version a few years ago, and we love it, especially since we can make them scented with the herbs and essential oils. It was about time for a new batch!
Bulk Candy. Candy is one of those things that we try to be extremely minimal about, which kind of makes me eye-roll at myself, but there has been a dramatic decrease in tantrums, outbursts, back talk, and breakdowns from my toddler (not so much a toddler anymore) after cutting out candy, especially those with dyes in them. Wow! It’s kind of crazy. This is not to say that it’s better or worse to buy specifically processed candy, but buying it in bulk saves money and packaging. Just bring your own container and fill up!
Easter Grass. Give a little something green! Tad and I planted this pot of Easter grass together, though he’s forgotten about it after the past handful of weeks it took to grow. He will be so surprised to find that it’s so lush and green in his basket!
Seeds. What a gift! There are so many different types of seeds to give to children. I find that while wildflower seeds are lovely in their own way, they do not really show much reward when it comes to showing your kids that they can grow something! We’ve spread wildflower seeds for years and then forget about them or don’t see the results. Depending on where you would like to grow, edible garden plants and flowers can be a great way to garden with your kids. Some ideas for fast growing plants would be peas, lettuce, salad mix or greens, sunflowers, zinnias, cornflower, beans, etc.
Home Sewn Toy. We actually make these in the store, and this is the first year that I noticed Tad being drawn to playing with them! Jill fashioned this little “Theodore Farmer Bear” after him so it sure does fit! While this toy is something we sell, it replicates a home sewn toy to create yourself. We fill the bears with lavender and flaxseed, the lavender to soothe and the weight of the flaxseed to calm.
pack it well
Pack in a Basket to Use Again. We love to find baskets to use for collection in various ways across the farm. They are my favorite form of storage! Why purchase a basket to simply toss or donate later? Use a basket you already have or find one that will be loved and used by your child later. I tend to notice Tad gravitated towards baskets that are small and easy for him to carry.
Try Muslin or Cotton Bags. Instead of plastic packaging, cotton or muslin sacks work just as well for storing small gifts or candies. Then you can find another use for them!
Pieces of Cloth Work, Too! If you don’t have little bags made up, and don’t want to spend money on them, you can always use leftover pieces of fabric to wrap things in. Tie up with twine and voila! Easy and sustainable packaging.
Glass for Perishable Items. For the playdough I used a Ball canning jar to keep moist and airtight. We have so many of these jars (for actual canning!) and use them in various ways. They make a great way to wrap up a present!
This season is one of my favorites! If you are trying to keep your holidays this year more ethical and earth conscious, be sure to check out my other tutorials! I have a wonderful and easy tutorial for naturally dyeing Easter eggs as well - click here! Wishing you a wonderful holiday (: