The (Almost) Sugar-Free Easter Basket

This basket is a boy

This basket is a girl
Enlightened parents (I'm referring to folks like you and me, dear reader) face a conundrum when filling Easter baskets these days: how can sugar be limited and costs contained without purchasing a load of crappy toys bound for the landfill?

Over the last couple of years I've been honing my "bunny skills," hoping to come up with a brilliant solution to this puzzling question.  Here are my ideas:

  1. To avoid waste, purchase items your child needs.  Keep items like underwear and toothbrushes from feeling mundane by indulging in goods splashed with your child's favorite characters.  (Dora, Thomas, etc.)  Items to consider:
    • Clothing: hats, underwear, socks, slippers, t-shirts, pajamas, swimming suits, sandals
    • Gear: hats, sunglasses, umbrellas, water bottles, sippy cups, barrettes, toothbrushes, toothpaste
  2. Head to a discount store like Michaels or Jo-Ann Fabrics to stock up on art supplies your child will use and grow from.  Load up on:
    • Play-doh, paint brushes, markers, pencils, erasers, crayons, chalk, coloring books, notebooks, stickers, glue, child safe scissors, tape, bathtub paint
  3. Look for items that promote learning.  A paperback book can cost as little as $1.  Couple it with a Leapster cartridge.
  4. Find small toys they'll love.  An Easter basket is a gift basket, and gifts are precious when they perfectly reflect the desires of the recipient.  Pick a few small toys that are sure to delight your little one.  Trains, train track, Polly Pockets, Dora & Diego figures, little Lego packs, Matchbox cars, bubbles and bath toys are all good ideas.
  5. Pick candy selectively.  Remember, this Easter basket is "Almost Sugar-Free."  What does your little one love?  Get one dark chocolate bunny, one Reese's peanut butter egg, or some jelly beans.  After all, we are celebrating Easter, and treats are appropriate in limited quantities.  
  6. Purchase a small Easter Basket.  This year I am borrowing my mother's baskets because mine are in storage.  You know what I noticed?  Just like dinner plates and coffee mugs, the size of an Easter basket has ballooned over the last 30 years.  My childhood Easter basket is about half the size of the ones I bought for my kids several years ago.  Kids don't need a bottomless basket.  Find a small one.  There's less to fill, and no one will be the wiser.
Hop to it, and enjoy!

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