Frugal, Real Food Easter Baskets & Eggs
When you’re trying to save money and eat healthy, holidays are a struggle.
During Easter, I feel like stores throw every kind of baby animal-shaped chocolate at my face. Between that and my inexplicable love for malted milk balls in the shape of robins eggs, Easter brings a lot to tempt our wallet.
While we’re here, let’s agree that Peeps are only tempting if you are under the age of 10 or a Sunday School teacher who obviously doesn’t remember what it’s like to bring hyperactive children home.
Back to Easter. I have a couple thoughts on Easter and holidays in general. If you and I are on the same page about Peeps, you might agree with me here too:
Why all the Gifts?
Sure, it’s fun as a kid, and extremely profitable for every store hocking plastic Easter grass and chocolate peanut butter eggs, but what’s the bigger picture?
Obviously, I want my kids to have good memories associated with holidays. I’m not the parent who thinks we need to throw the bunny out the window.* However, as the parent who has to live with hyperactive children and all their extra plastic stuff, I want to be intentional about how we celebrate this holiday.
The Dread Pirate Cottontail
When I was growing up, next to the cross and remembering God’s unconditional love, the best thing about Easter was the scavenger hunt. My dad invented The Dread Pirate Cottontail, who left buried treasure at our home every year. The only way to find it was by following the clues. These hunts grew more elaborate was we got older. In fact, after I moved across the country (you know, as an adult), he set up an online version, so we could have one more hurrah with the most fearsome bunny on the seven seas.
The scavenger hunt cost my dad an hour or two every night before Easter, but it didn’t cost him any extra money. My parents turned the Easter basket tradition into something infinitely more memorable.
In fact, it saved them money. Cottontail only left one gift for each child instead of a whole basket, and we didn’t even care. Well played, Pops.
Your Dread Pirate Cottontail
Maybe creating a scavenger hunt makes you want to pull your hair out. What can you do instead that will create a fun memory for your kids and won’t cost extra?
Why all the Sugar & Plastic?
As a parent, I spend far too much time managing my kids’ sugar intake and the cheap plastic toys that come into our home. I’m not against candy, and I’m not against plastic. However, I am against excess and waste.
Meanwhile, my kids receive plastic toys from the dentist office one day and don’t even remember them the next. It’s too much.
When it comes to building a frugal, fun, junk-free Easter basket, use the same rules for a junk-free Christmas Stocking. Get all those tips here.
Frugal, Real Food Easter Egg Fillers
Here are some ideas to keep the Easter eggs fun, creative, frugal, ethically-minded and hopefully slow our insulin dependence.
Fair Trade Candy
It doesn’t have to be something really expensive. I bought a bag of Fairtrade chocolate peanut butter cups from Aldi for less than the price of a bag of M&Ms. They’ll fill the same amount of eggs but will hopefully support a better world.
Aldi carries organic fruit snacks that I use in place of jelly beans. Free of artificial dyes and juice-sweetened.
Pennies & Nickels
Maybe your kids are less worldly than mine, but not much gets them more excited than cold hard cash. So I fill some eggs with loose change. These are easily their favorite eggs.
The classic frugal gift that shows extra TLC. Ours are redeemable for gifts like:
- “1 extra TV show during TV time.”
- “5 extra screen time minutes.”
- “Make your choice of cookies/treat with Mama.” (Here are some easy no-bake ones!)
- “1 box of your choice of cereal at the grocery store.” (Cereal is a treat at our house, so they don’t usually get to choose.)
These ideas reflect what I know will excite my kids according to their ages and personalities. Be creative with yours! Think about inexpensive requests your kids frequently make.
Since we color the eggs anyway… those are our primary hiding eggs. The treat-filled ones are just a fun supplement.
Every Easter, we have a choice. Will we create intentional, creative memories, or will we participate in one that’s centered around gifts and spending money? I won’t argue that gifts and spending money isn’t fun. It is, and I love giving gifts to my kids. However, these frugal, healthy(ish) ideas can help fit your holiday intentions into your budget in a mindful way.
What You Can Do Now:
- Note which of these ideas will work best with your kids and write them down (in a note on your phone, on your grocery list next to the fridge, in your planner, etc.).
- Next time you go to the store, skip the junk and get these instead!