Ever feel like you look back on your memories growing up and recall how simple holidays or birthdays were? Nowadays, it seems like gift-giving has become “the more the merrier” and budgeting has never been more important, even when it comes to Easter baskets. This year, keep it simple and affordable.
Make it more about the experiences and memories and less about the gifts. Start a new tradition, because more doesn’t always mean better. Here is a quick list of:
Five Tips for Simple and Affordable Easter (and Easter Baskets)
1. Don’t fill your kids’ baskets with things just to fill it. Retailers are pros at making it easy to just grab “fillers”, especially around Easter. Stop and think about those “under $5” or “under $10” bins. Has your child been asking for that particular item? Will it still be played with in six months? Is the quality something that will hold up? If you answer no to any of these questions, put it back. It’s not worth your hard-earned dollars purchasing fillers. The objective should be to give only gifts that are meaningful or that your child has actually been asking for. If you feel you need fillers, stick to something they will use, they will need, or is something they very rarely are allowed to have. Here are a few ideas:
- Special treat you normally don’t buy
- Individual cereal boxes (if you don’t typically buy sweet cereal)
- New fun water bottle for summer
- New sunglasses for summer
- A rolled up t-shirt
- Fun pencils for school
- Puffs or Yogurt Melts of babies
- Fun pair of socks
- Annie’s bunny snacks
2. Include a family activity for a basket gift. I always try to aim more for creating memories versus giving gifts with my family. It’s a simple way to encourage family time and bonding time with each of your kids individually. Plus, you are getting more bang for your buck the more people that find joy from what you purchase. Some ideas would are:
- Kid-friendly baking utensils and a cupcake mix with fun sprinkles
- A sleeve of golf balls and a bag of tees with a “good for coupon” to 9-holes with Dad
- Family-friendly movie and a bag of popcorn for the next family movie night
- Kid-friendly gardening gloves and a couple packets of flower seeds
- Gift certificate for bowling with Mom
3. Include a book. I am a huge supporter of reading from infancy and on. You can go spring or Easter themed. Again, retailers go crazy over promoting these themed items so you will have no trouble spotting an inexpensive book for your younger kids. Or, pick up the next book in the series your teenager is hooked on. If everyone gets a book, you’ll have an easier time suggesting family (quiet) time in the living room. Everyone will have something to read and you’ll all be together. Family time doesn’t always have to be a production. Simply being in the same room, doing individual things is still great a great bonding opportunity.
4. Trade out the Easter basket candy. So much money is spent each holiday buying candy and sweets. If you are trying to promote healthy alternatives with your kids, try taking out the candy in the basket and doing something different. The sweets don’t need to go away entirely, but instead choose wisely. I like to think of holidays as one and done. As in, eat your sweets that day and have no leftovers. Halloween is my least favorite holiday for my waist-line. The leftovers are there to tempt me and my family for weeks. Some ideas would be:
- Get all the ingredients to make a sweet treat or baked good that’s been passed down (i.e. Grandma Jo’s cinnamon rolls) and make it together as a family.
- Fill some plastic Easter eggs in their basket with clues or riddles of where to find their one favorite candy bar. Get creative! Use riddles, ciphers or puzzles that are age appropriate.
- In lieu of candy in the basket or hiding Easter eggs, buy one bag of Easter candy (in wrappers) and hide individual pieces around a designated place. Put them on window sills, up on a light fixture, or in nooks and crannies. This is great for colder or rainy Easters. Word to the wise, don’t hide them too well or you’ll be my parents when they sold their home. We were still finding chocolate on moving day…
- Change out your Easter egg hunt outside with coins instead of candy. Fill with nickels, dimes and quarters. They kids can put the money in their piggy bank or get the joy of buying something from the under $5 bin themselves. For high stakes, my dad would hide one $10 bill in a green egg in the pine trees. Good memories…
5. Create memories and your own family traditions.
- This year, try and plan to go to a city sponsored Easter egg hunt or similar city sponsored Easter activity.
- Make an Easter egg tree indoors or outdoors.
- Plan a Easter craft activity (coloring, a paper craft, dying eggs, or build a new birdfeeder for spring).
- Let everyone pick what they want to make for the holiday meal. Who knows, maybe a side dish of ants-on-a-log will be the memory one of your kids recalls when they are an adult.
- Start a tradition that you encourage every year. Such as, a family hike Easter afternoon. Or, Easter evening is board game night with ice cream.
If you haven’t already caught on to my theme…keep it simple. Keep it family. Keep finding experiences to create long lasting memories.