I know. Everything about this season is different from before. Heck, everything about everything is different from before. But with Easter a few days away, and the excitement and joy from my children being as contagious and pure as ever, the Easter Bunny has GOT to pull through. It sounds shallow or unimportant or even a bit removed from reality. But I think in protecting their academic routine and physical health, the magic can’t die and the baskets won’t either.
So. I will stuff them Saturday night, while my sweet husband works behind double PPE at our local hospital. Straddling a fragile line here, I know . . . fostering imagination while living scary realities. This is why I buy Peeps. And hollow chocolate bunnies.
But besides the staples of Starburst jelly beans and bubble gum grass (ok, not a staple, but I just discovered it and I can only think of Big League Chew, so I think it’s amazing), I like to include something that is a little special, sentimental or just straight up happy. Can be quirky or meaningful – doesn’t matter, as long as my child smiles because of it. That’s what I’m after – the joy. So here goes. My nominees for President of Easter Basket Fillers are:
Jellycat animals. This brand is the best. They make the softest, cutest, sweetest little animals. I discovered them years ago in a boutique gift shop, and ever since then, I have been gifting them to anyone who will take one. Bears, bunnies, dogs, elephants, swans, bats, horses, hell. I challenge you to find an animal Jellycat DOESN’T offer. My kids sleep with all of theirs, they all have names and they all have REAL FEELINGS. Just a heads up.
Holy Heroes. So Holy Heroes is a great website that offers a ton of religious material for kids and families. But my favorite item (by far) is their Glory Stories CD collection. Each CD tells the story of one to three (those are like BOGO, if you can find them) amazing humans who loved God so much and so well, the Catholic Church calls them “saints.” Many are contemporary people we’re familiar with: Mother Teresa, Pope John Paul II, Maximilian Kolbe. Others like Joan of Arc, St. Juan Diego and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton we *think* we know, then we actually hear their stories and learn about them. . . with our kids. And it’s fantastic.
Giant Bubble Wands. These things are stupid fun. The squealing makes them worth their weight in gold, and kids (and their parents) ADORE these. For some reason, they’re super funny? And you feel a bit like a legit magician when you create a bubble that is DEFINITELY the size of your full grown pear tree. Easily.
Books. Any kind of book, really, but I like the keepsake kind for Easter baskets. My favorites are The Rhyme Bible, National Geographic for Kids and anything by Nancy Tillman. Her books are beautiful and sentimental. So I actually look forward to reading them to my kids. They’re treasures (the books, I mean, but certainly you could include my kids).
Keepsake boxes. Anything that could hold jewelry, Shopkins or baby dinosaurs. Dishes, boxes, trays, cups. . . whatever floats your boat. But to give a little personalized treat is meaningful and memorable. I love these from the Etsy store BeadStudioandDesign. They’re pretty and dainty and unique. Michelle Allen (the owner) is easy to work with and produces incredible art. I highly recommend them for anyone: child, boyfriend, best friend. (As a sidenote, her decoupage oyster shells are to. die. for. Get one for yourself and everyone you know.)
Chalk. Yep. Always, but especially now. Go for the gold and get the super special kind that glitters. Or get the kits that have stencils and shapes and lifesize protractors. Or just the good ol’ Crayola ones that are bold, washable and edged so they don’t roll. Doesn’t matter. Chalk is fun, friendly and still, for some reason, special. At least to my kids.
So, what’s in your Easter basket? Do you have a running theme each year, or do you desperately race through the candy aisles just after the Easter Vigil, hoping something is left besides malted milk duds? Good luck with the magic this year, friends, and of course, stay safe.