I love how there’s never a dull moment here in New Orleans! Once the new year hits, it’s non-stop from there with Super Bowl parties, Mardi Gras madness, Ash Wednesday, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and one of my favorite holidays…EASTER!! Why is it one of my faves? Well, for a couple of reasons: I love eggs, I love filling Easter baskets, and I love celebrating the life of Jesus Christ. Easter Sunday is one of my favorite church services: from the colors of gold and white, to the smell of Easter lilies and church bells ringing! It’s a beautiful day to celebrate life; the one given for us and to us! So, yes, I love Jesus, but I also LOVE Easter baskets! Emma wasn’t even 3 weeks old on her first Easter, but I still went all out with her Easter basket! It’s one of my favorite things to decorate.
So I’ve decided that each year I’m going to come up with a different theme to follow. For example, Arts and Crafts, Little Library, Furry Friends, Beach Fun or Movie Night … and then fill her basket, or a container of sorts, with all kinds of cute items and games related to the theme. My focus is more on little toys and treats rather than all the sugary candy and chocolates (although that sure is good, too!). This year I’ve been thinking about ways to make a New Orleans specific Easter basket, which has the added bonus of supporting local businesses!
First, choose your basket
First, think about your Easter container. Obviously, a traditional basket works just fine, but there are lots of other things you can use, even something your little one can play with later! Here are some ideas: a beach pail, play grocery cart or baby stroller, a toy wagon for dolls (or go for the big one!), hat/baseball cap, jewelry box, toy dump truck, bike helmet, back pack, or canvas totes (Lisey Lu has some adorable ones that you can embroider!). Or, consider a tote from Seuax What Sewing or Sip n See by LP. For something truly unique, consider a handmade Moses basket from Petite NOLA.
Now to fill that basket with NOLA (and other) goodies!
Once you pick your container, it’s time to fill it! Here are some alternatives to chocolate bunnies and jelly beans. Oh, and if you’re one to decorate eggs but don’t really feel like dipping them in dye this year, try Easter Egg Bling! You can put bees, daisies, butterflies, flowers, bunnies, carrots, chicks, leaves and jewels all over your eggs! All you have to do is peel and stick the Easter Egg Bling decals to your eggs (plastic or hard-boiled). Talk about bedazzled Easter eggs – what fun!! I found mine at a local party store.
- a small blanket in Easter fabric or a cute Easter outfit (use these to line your container). My two favorite local shops for toddler outfits are Orient Expressed and Storyville!
- for a truly luxurious baby blanket, stop by Loomed NOLA and choose something in a soft color to line the basket of your choice
- teething toys
- sippy cups or personalized snack cups
- homemade play dough
- Easter stickers
- Easter books; check out our local bookstores: Maple Street Book Shop, Octavia Books and Garden District Book Shop are just some in my Uptown area!
- stuffed Easter bunnies or chicks
- their favorite snacks (Emma LOVES the Annie’s Bunny Friends and how fitting – it is Easter, after all!)
- pouches, like Buddy Fruits or Peter Rabbit Organics
- remember, they’re so little … no need to go overboard with the treats
- a new t-shirt and shorts set in some spring colors. I have seen some darling things at Target, and you can’t go wrong with a dress from Nolafionnah
- hair bows & accessories from Yeaux Yeaux Bows
- their favorite fruits (apples, cuties, bananas), or fill plastic eggs with grapes or yogurt covered raisins
- a new cartoony toothbrush with kid-friendly toothpaste (we just tried Theodent and loved it)
- finger paint bubble bath, Easter soaps & sponges
- giftcards/ticket vouchers for play dates at places like: Palm Tree Playground, Monkey Room or The Children’s Museum
- crayons and an Easter coloring book (even personalized from Let’s pARTy NOLA!)
- some fun summer/beach toys (a new swimsuit, towel, flip flops). It’s always fun to have something to look forward to, like the pool or beach, this summer!
- Easter placemat from Sugar & Spice
- For your little girl, Petite NOLA offers precious doll accessories and Small Habit makes cute skirts
- socks – even at 2 years old, Emma adores socks (I just got her a Dora the Exlorer pair for Valentine’s day!). I used to get socks every year and love this tradition! I get a “kick” out of the crazy themed socks, and I’m sure kiddos will too! Buy any kinds: long, short, colorful, Easter themed, their favorite cartoon character, etc. (the crazier the better!). Then you can line the basket/container in socks.
- a book, or an educational learning workbook
- a ticket voucher for a streetcar ride
- a favorite CD or an iTunes gift card
- tickets for sporting events like a Tulane baseball game or a Zephyrs’ game
- healthy snacks: homemade trail mix, granola or fruit. I think it would even be fun to add in a gift card to their favorite ice cream shop, like Creole Creamery, Sucre or Pinkberry!
- a gift card to Naked Pizza or Reginelli’s for a pizza night in or family night out!
- For the older ones, consider soap from Sweet Olive or a candle from Southern Lights
What’s your Easter Basket tradition? What else would you add to give it a local twist? Let’s hear some of your ideas!