- Just Say No to Easter Grass. Don’t spend money on petroleum-based plastic that’s going to be thrown out in a few days. Crumple up some newspaper or tissue paper in the bottom of your basket and cover it with a cloth napkin, instead.
- Buy Fair-Trade Chocolate. The best thing that I could find in my basket would be chocolate. But it’s hard to eat chocolate guilt-free anymore. Aside from the calories, I’m concerned with how the chocolate was farmed. According to the US State Department, many West African growers engage in child trafficking, forced child labor, and unsafe labor practices and this chocolate is bought by many of the largest chocolate companies. The Daily Green, from Good Housekeeping, has a great list of organic and fair trade chocolate providers. Many can be found in your local health food stores, like Whole Foods, or on-line. I’ve already ordered my organic bunnies from Lake Champlain Chocolates in Vermont for delivery this week.
- Give coupons for non-candy items. If you want to cut back on how much candy goes in those baskets, how about some coupons for fun spring treats – a trip to the ice cream parlor or water ice stand, an after school picnic, or trip to nearby trails or a zoo. Your kids will remember time spent with you much longer than they will some candy.
- Use Corn-based plastic eggs for your Easter Egg hunt. I've thrown Easter Egg Hunts for about 10 years, and I’ve been using the same plastic eggs over and over. (Don't worry. I wash them.) When I finally need new ones, I’ll be checking out these BPA free, corn-based plastic eggs made in the USA from ecoeggs.com.
- Shop seasonal and locally for your dinner. With Easter falling on March 31st this year, and a few inches of snow falling on March 25th!, I’m not sure how much produce will be available at the farmer’s market on Saturday. But I’ll be swinging by to find out before heading to Whole Foods to get the rest. If I can buy it locally I will, and if the only asparagus I can find is from South America, we’ll have carrots instead!
- Use real plates and silverware. I know it’s easier to use paper, but it’s so much nicer and earth-friendly to use real plates and cutlery. If you’re having a lot of little kids and you’re concerned about using real glassware or don’t have enough to go around, get some Preserve On-the-Go cups. Made from recycled plastics, recyclable (#5 plastic), BPA free, Made in USA, and dishwasher safe, I’ve bought these cups for parties, throw them in the dishwasher afterwards, then stack them up and put them away until the next time. They hold up wonderfully.
And, finally, my secret to a tear-free Easter Egg hunt? Assign each child a specific color of egg to find. And if you have more kids than basic colors, get a marker and make some eggs polka dots or stripes for a few more options. You might want to assign those to an older child who won’t get confused over finding plain blue eggs vs blue eggs with green stripes. I fill the same number of eggs for each child which eliminates the crazy competition to find more eggs than anyone else. The kids can help each other by giving hints to where they saw someone else’s egg. You can put eggs for toddlers in plain view but have fun finding hard hiding spots for the pre-teens. You can also tailor the treats inside to accommodate allergies or picky eaters. I have a niece who doesn’t like candy, so all of her eggs are filled with stickers, coins, or other small toys instead of jelly beans and chocolate. It’s been a success for almost 10 years now, even when a pesky squirrel ran off with one of our eggs!Pinterest and our Facebook page for even more ideas.