Celebrating Easter Beautifully on a Budget

A headline this morning said that even Easter celebrations are taking a down turn because of the recession. While money may be tight and jobs are pared down or in short supply, Easter can still be a true celebration - ringing in Spring, putting the Easter Bunny in the spot-light, and making your home the place to be for this honorary day.

If you are like me, mass produced just never made it to my choice for home decor or holiday celebrations. Right now is a great time to go through your attic, basement and garage and hunt up old Easter baskets. You could invite your family members to do the same. You might be surprised when a basket you cherished as a child just might appear again to be used and enjoyed.

Fill your Easter basket with shredded colored paper, such as tissue paper or wrapping paper. In pastel colors, these are more than reasonable in dollar stores and discount stores. If you like to bake, then make rabbit, chicken, or egg shaped cookies that are decorated with royal icing. Fill your basket with these edible delights and while a "few" may disappear on a daily basis, filling them back up should only take a bit of time. Assorted colors of blue, pink, yellow, tan, and purple will brighten any table in your home.

Tag or garage sales are coming alive, and there you can find some very "spring type" fabric and lacy embellishments. Cover pillows in your family room, porch, or living area. They can be as simple as "envelope" type coverings which slip on and off very easily and can be saved from year to year so that when Spring is fast approaching you have pillow covers to blend in with the colors of the season and the Easter holiday.

If you have young people coming to your home for festive entertaining during this time of year, simply take a TV table or other small table and cover it with a fine white cloth or Easter kitchen terry. Place a tray or large unbreakable platter on top of the covering . Cover the platter with shredded yellow, pink, and light green shredded paper. Using white chocolate, milk chocolate or healthy dark chocolate, take candy molds and fill them with the melted chocolate, cool, and pop them out. Nestle these little bunnies in the "grass" yard you created. Foil covered chocolate Easter eggs, peanut butter eggs, and even sugar cookies made to resemble carrots, and bright Easter eggs can be added to multiply the fun and adventure to your home-made Easter welcome tray. Guests can help themselves as they leave to a goodie or two to take home. With little children, let them pick their favorite after they finish dinner. However, you use this garden of goodies, this will be a token that your guests will remember for years to come.

If you are having an Easter get-together, send your invitations by using "seed" packet envelopes. You can get copies of vintage seed packets on the internet or in the library, in some craft books. Glue the pictures of the seed packets together and form an envelope. Place your invitation inside and hand deliver or mail your invites in pastel colored envelopes that are less than $3.00 for about twenty-five envelopes in a dollar store.

Don't forget to have your digital camera or standard camera ready to take pictures of the Easter Egg hunt in the back yard, the adult egg-toss game, and the fun of your Holiday festivities. After your guests have left, make copies of the pictures and pick up a favorite one for each person at your party. Taking the same vintage pictures of seed packets, glue the picture in the middle, allowing the flowery sides of the pictures to extend about 1/2 to 1", forming a border. Mail these "Thank You For Coming" gifts to family and friends. Keep some for yourself and place these picture perfect Spring items on bookcase shelves, or on the mantel.

When you are serving dinner, place a small-size terra cotta pot that you fill with jelly-beans or even a cloth napkin that you have decorated with sparkles and ribbon. Not only will each place setting items make the table shine with holiday spirit, so will your guests' smiles beam and light up the room.

However you celebrate Easter this year, remember it isn't the amount of money that you spend to make your guests enjoy the day, it is your thoughtfulness and creativity that will make them remember Easter at your house. Something to think about.

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