Easter Ideas

When Easter rolls around each year, do you find yourself filling huge baskets with tons of candy and decorated eggs and wondering how you'll work off all the weight you're bound to gain from such indulgences? Don't worry, this year can be different. Find ways to decorate your home in the spirit of spring. Discover that Easter baskets don't require overwhelming amounts of candy and eggs. Explore the possibilities that can save you money, help keep your waistline from expanding, and give the kids something to smile about. Impossible, you say? Well, this one's for you!

The first rule of Easter planning is this: Don't overdo the eggs! I know that decorating eggs can be great fun, but only make as many as your family can reasonably eat. Remember to use your eggs as more than snacks. Integrate them into your meals. If you need ideas, check out our other feature this month on using your Easter leftovers.

Once you've resolved to keep the number of eggs this year reasonable, you need to think about Easter baskets. Of course, the eggs you do decide to decorate will probably be gracing them. But, what else can you include other than candy? My favorites are: fruit, nuts, and gifts.

One of my family traditions is to order fresh grapefruit and oranges for Easter. Because we're living in Wisconsin, sometimes our winter citrus isn't quite perfect. We celebrate the coming of spring by indulging in some of our favorite fruits straight from Florida. What are some of your family's favorite fruits? Make Easter special by adding some colorful fruit to your baskets. You could even be a bit adventurous and choose a couple fruits that you haven't tried before.

I always have a small bowl of nuts on my table during the Easter season. When I have guests over, we'll sit at the table and crack some while we talk. It's nice to have something to keep your hands busy while reminiscing with good friends. Choose a nice variety to add interest to the process.

Who said Christmas and birthdays were the only time of the year for gift-giving? Easter provides us with a perfect opportunity to give our loved ones a gift to cherish the whole year. For young children, stuffed animals, brightly painted wooden toys, or lovely picture books can turn an ordinary basket into something extraordinary. Order children might enjoy kites or that new baseball. Don't forget the adults in your home...including yourself! Your know your family best. Choose gifts that they will appreciate and enjoy. I usually try to find "springy" gifts that remind us of the new season.

Once you've filled your basket with some of the goodies above, you can add a few choice candies and treats. Because you've started with these other suggestions, you'll find that, in the end, your Easter baskets are not dominated by candy. But, because you've spent the time to find items that will be a hit with your family, no one will notice!

I always like to decorate my entire home for the Easter season. Baskets are a great help, but adding fresh flower arrangements, bright flower pots and plants, lace doileys, and scented candles helps to add an element of spring to any room.

One of my favorite Easter decorations consists of a fluffy stuffed bunny nestled in an antique flower pot surrounded by plastic eggs, paintbrushes, and other art supplies. I usually set a small vase of fresh spring flowers nearby.

Neat ideas like this one are just waiting to be discovered by you. Next time you get a chance, pull out those odds and ends from your closets and attics and see what you can do with them. You'll be surprised at how many neat Easter ideas spring to mind!

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