Alternatives to Easter grass
Easter is almost here, and many parents put together Easter baskets for their kids. You might reuse the basket each year, place goodies in a different reusable container such as a tote, sand pail, shoebox or clay pot, or find alternatives to candy to fill it. But what about Easter grass? Are you still buying it to cushion the baskets or containers? Sure, it’s cheap, but it’s wasteful and messy.
Fortunately there are a few substitutes you can use that can double as part of the actual gift. These ideas will work well for gift baskets, too.
CLOTHING: New socks nestled into the bottom of a basket (rolled or folded) will give enough cushion to support other treats. It can become a new tradition. For girls you can add tights, too. There are so many graphic t-shirts available that you’re sure to find the perfect design to give and use as a liner. Other options include pajamas, sweat pants or hoodies.
BAGGED CANDIES: Keep candy such as jellybeans in its original packaging. The bag(s) can be manipulated and shaped to help support additional gift items. Or line it with cotton candy, which can be found in most grocery stores or your local dollar store.
CRAFT SUPPLIES: Items such as craft feathers, felt, wiggly eyes, craft foam, beads, yarn or pom poms can be a great surprise for kids. You can tuck additional craft supplies into the basket, and the kids will have fun creating later in the day. If you have leftover tissue paper from previous holidays, use it for your gift basket. It doesn’t matter if it’s crumpled.
TOYS: Add plush animals, bean bags, blocks, Legos, army men, bouncy balls, beaded necklaces, stickers, balloons or play scarves that will cover the bottom and fill in gaps in the gift basket. If you have any leftover bubble wrap, kids love to pop it.
HEALTHY CHOICES: Why not try fruits or vegetables? Or include snacks such as graham or goldfish crackers, granola bars, raisins, sunflower seeds or nuts in shells, such as peanuts or pistachios. Or add popped popcorn or make popcorn balls. These foods don’t need much support when placed into a container.
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup margarine
2 teaspoons cold water
2-1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 cup marshmallows
5 quarts popped popcorn
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine everything except the popcorn. Heat and stir until the mixture comes to a boil. Combine the hot mixture with the popcorn until it’s coated. Grease hands with vegetable shortening or wear plastic gloves and spray with cooking spray, and shape the popcorn into balls. Wrap with cellophane or plastic wrap and store at room temperature. — Denise, Illinois
WASHCLOTHS: Add a few spring-colored washcloths or hand towels, a bath mitt or mesh bath pouf sponges as a new surprise.
LINENS: You can use holiday place mats, cloth napkins, bandannas or spring-colored pillowcases. Or use fabric such as tulle, which you can knit into dish scrubbers after the holiday. Visit http://berlinswhimsy.typepad.com/berlins_whimsy/2008/05/knitted-kitchen-scrubbie-tutorial.html for a tutorial. If you’re not a knitter, you can simply cut the tulle into small squares and cinch it in the center. Hold it in place with a rubber band and you’re good to go.
SHREDDED PAPER: If you have a paper shredder, you have an instant way to recycle some of your shredded paper. If you don’t have one, ask family, friends or people at work.
photo by aldon