With Easter coming up next weekend I find myself thinking about ways to be more eco-friendly during the holidays. Easter (and Halloween) tends to be day full of single use items. Easter baskets and Easter grass (the weird plastic stuff) are horrible! Both are a waste of money - the grass just gets thrown away and most kids have no use for a basket and both are bad for the environment. And, I really hate buying something that will be used once and then be thrown away.
I try to be creative with my Easter baskets for my kids and I owe my own Mother for the inspiration to do so. When we were kids we rarely got a basket (and if we did it was a real basket that she wanted for something else in the house and would then confiscate and use for it's real intended purpose once Easter was over). We did however get an Easter "basket" that was another object. One year we needed new bike helmets so the Easter Bunny left our goodies in our new bike helmets and that same year the Easter Bunny left my Grandmother (she loved to paint) a new vase filled with jelly beans (instead of water) and new paint brushes (instead of flowers). Last year, Dominic had just started playing in the sand box at the park and was always trying to take the other kids buckets and shovels so his "basket" was a bucket and shovel. This year the Easter Bunny is bringing Dominic some new legos (that will be put together into the shape of a basket) and Malcolm is getting a dump truck. I also try to keep the candy to a minimum and find other goodies to put (I found some cute board books in the dollar bin at target this year and I am sewing up some bean bags for a ring toss game). The grass I use is made out of paper that I shredded in our office paper shredder and have been keeping every year to reuse.
Other ways to go eco-friendly is to use natural dyes to color your eggs. I've done this in the past and the results can be good as long as you don't expect the brilliant colors you get when you use the pre-packaged dye kits. And of course, going Fair Trade and organic when purchasing candy is always good (disclaimer: while I do prefer organic candy I fully admit that I bought Cadbury eggs and Starburst jelly beans for our baskets - I love both and only get them at Easter).