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Friday, April 15, 2011

Alternative Gift Ideas

Posted by Bel
from Spiral Garden

In our home we celebrate the regular holidays of Easter and Christmas, even though they don't particularly fit our belief system or are even seasonally appropriate for us in the Southern Hemisphere.

The reasons we choose to celebrate include getting together with family and friends (who do celebrate these holidays0, just for something fun and creative to do, and to show our children and family and friends that there are ethical and beautiful alternatives to the mass-produced plasticised version of these holidays the department stores and advertising tempt us with.

We have six children aged 16 and under. Some of the creative Easter gifts they've enjoyed over the years include:

* Handwoven baskets with carob eggs nestled inside
* Homemade chocolates wrapped in cellophane and ribbons
* Cute retro eggcups purchased 2nd hand online, with sweet treats nestled inside
* Easter Bilby books, chocolate bilbies and bilby craft activities
* Fairtrade hot chocolate and individual tea cups, with homemade egg-shaped cookies

We normally decorate the table once the children are in bed - set it nice for breakfast with a tablecloth and matching crockery, blow up some balloons perhaps (the pearl type ones look lovely), or bring in some flowers from the garden if we have any (it's Autumn here, nothing much is in flower), mix up some pancake mix to put into the fridge overnight, and set out their easter gifts at each of their places at our table (the children sit in their own chairs most meals at the table). I think it's more exciting for our children to wonder what they'll receive each year than having a magical bunny bringing them store-bought chocolate wrapped in foil year-in, year-out.

Some families in Australia give winter pyjamas for Easter gifts. Others give rabbit or chicken toys, or even real ones! Do you have a non-commercial Easter gift idea? Please share it in the Comments!

For more information:
Fair Trade Chocolate and Gifts from Oxfam
Easter Bilby books
How to dye eggs
Easter craft, stories and more
Raw chocolate recipes
Easter bread recipes from around the world


claudia said...

When my girls were small, I would buy them special, bright colored pairs of socks and folded the socks to look like eggs. Since, Easter meant that temps were starting to warm up, I would buy colored chalk to get the girls started playing outside more and practicing their art on the sidewalk or driveway.

skybluepinkish said...

Easter is always the start of our sunflower race. Everyone (adults included - guests can nominate someone to adopt their seeds) gets three sunflower seeds of their choice and the best (not necessarily the tallest!) wins, actually they all usually win one way or another! Not a great idea for the Southern Hemisphere but seeds have always been part of our Easter giving.

Bel said...

Oh, what beautiful ideas! I had not heard of either of those before! Thanks for sharing. x

Ronnie said...

A tradition that we started last year and are keen to continue is an after breakfast hunt in the garden. And while there are a few chocolates to find the majority of the hunt is for bulbs that I wrap in colourful tissue parer. After the hunt and eating some goodies we sat in the sun and read the story of the Root Children and then planted the bulbs. As we covered each bulb with soil my then 4 year old said "goodnight we will see you soon " to each bulb. They were very happy to have the fun of a hunt and time spent planting and in a few years time our gardens will be brimming with bulbs! I also usually give a jumper in their basket. Just a plain stretchy one that I appliqué something on to represent each child's current interests.

Bel said...

Ronnie, that's a gorgeous idea! I would like to try some bulbs here...

Kirsten said...

Wow, I love that idea of the Easter bulb hunt. I'm going to do that this year with my kids, they would really get into it i think.

savvychic said...

I leave a handmade gift in my children's Easter hunt basket that they put out on the table with a note and carrot for the Easter Bunny/Bilby the night before. One year I made felt rabbit finger puppets, another year small beanbag easter chicks. I usually add a small bought gift such as a book,art materials they need, a small wooden animal or toy - last year I found some lovely native animal and wildflower books for children that included the bilby. The kids are told these are gifts from Mum and Dad.