Handing out May Day baskets is a charming and gentle activity for children and adults. It's a tradition that Louisa May Alcott wrote of in "Jack and Jill" (Chapter 18):
"The job now in hand was May baskets, for it was the custom of the children to hang them on the doors of their friends the night before May-day; and the girls had agreed to supply baskets if the boys would hunt for flowers, much the harder task of the two. Jill had more leisure as well as taste and skill than the other girls, so she amused herself with making a goodly store of pretty baskets of all shapes, sizes, and colors, quite confident that they would be filled, though not a flower had shown its head except a few hardy dandelions, and here and there a small cluster of saxifrage." (a type of herb called Greater Burnet).
May baskets can be given to friends and family, as well as taken to elderly neighbors or nursing homes. While fresh flowers and candy treats are usually left in the baskets, you can put other things as well. I think fresh flowers, a few tea bags and some little tea cookies would be wonderful!
We made a May Basket recently with recycled items that really turned out pretty. We used:
Cut the box in half -- ours ended up being about 5 inches high. Moisten the prepasted border piece after you've measured it to fit around the box with a little leftover. Smooth it down, lining up the edge of the border with bottom edge of the box. Whatever is left at the top simply fold over the edge of the box so it's inside. We let this sit and dry for a little while, and smoothed it down once more as it was drying.
When it was dry, I poked a hole in each side near the top and put in a length of ribbon long enough so we could tie a bow after threading it through the hole. We then added the filler and our treats and flowers.
This craft could easily be used for a group of children to make a few of them. It was easy, and the materials were recycled or scraps I had saved. You could use any recycled boxes or bags for the basket and cover it with various papers or paint. You could also add paper doilies, lace, more ribbons and other decorative scraps.
The second picture listed on the page is a basket we made from a thrift store find. This type of basket would work really well for giving to senior citizens. We lined it with a white cloth napkin I had also gotten at a thrift store and filled it with flowers and bath products.
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