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Easter basket alternatives: Fill it with more than just candy

Laura Willard is a law school grad who has successfully avoided using her education for eight years and counting. She's a wife and an adoptive mom to two kids. Motherhood is the best job she never knew she wanted so much until she had it...

Calorie- free Easter treats

Are you scrambling to put together an Easter basket of goodies? While most Easter baskets include edible treats, we've got a few ideas of the non-food variety to add to the sweet treats.
Calorie- free Easter treats

Pick a theme

Easter baskets can be about more than just candy and a fun way to accomplish that is to build the contents around a theme. Sarah W. Caron, writer and mother of two, says, "My children's Easter baskets always include a token candy — usually a chocolate bunny — and several items of a single theme. While I adore the chocolate, I hate to think of my kids eating it all in one day like I did."

Need ideas for an Easter basket theme? Sarah changes their theme each year and shares a few great suggestions from past years. "One year, we did a 'new life' theme with bunny-shaped chalk, little wind-up hopping chickies and sand pails with eggs and chickens on them," she explains. "The previous year, we did gardening, with pint-sized gardening tools." Think about your children's hobbies and interests, create a theme and go from there.

Check out these free printable Easter coloring pages >>

Creative containers

Calorie- free Easter treatsIf your Easter basket isn't the only one the recipient will receive, why not get a little creative with the "basket" part?Skip the traditional straw basket and think of some out-of-the-ordinary containers instead. Use a metal bucket, flip over a cowboy hat or fill up a canvas bag.

Debra Holland, Ph.D., shares, "Easter is my favorite holiday, and I go all out for my extended family — babies to 16-year-olds."

Debra goes all out with both the contents and the container. "They usually receive baskets from their parents, so I come up with alternatives, such as straw purses, plastic sand pails and this year — totes — to hold the goodies." She says, "Bigger boys and girls might like backpacks."

What about these unique Easter basket ideas? >>

Focus on the day

With all of the excitement over egg hunts, sweet treats and baskets full of little gifts, it's sometimes easy to forget the actual reason for Easter.

For families who celebrate the religious aspect of the holiday, Alyice Edrich, of Alyice Edrich Creatives, says that when her kids were young, she always included a video or book related to Easter. "If there were no new ones, I would include a religious book geared toward their age. I also went to the trinket section of the local Christian bookstore and bought religious-themed toys."

Don't forget your oldest babies

Just because your little chicks have left the nest doesn't mean you can't gift them with an Easter basket. Instead of the traditional basket, you can put together an Easter basket alternative that suits their interests.

Shelley Joy, an early childhood educator and author of Little Bird You Are Perfect, admits that just like her own mother, she's not ready to let go! "I received an Easter basket of some sort until the year my mother passed away," says Joy.

"I have learned that my grown daughter, a new wife and mommy herself, is in need of a great pasta pot. My plan is to purchase a pasta pot and fill it with glorious fresh organic tomatoes, green peppers, onions, and herbs with several kinds of delicious and healthy pastas for her new little family… Filled with love, health and happiness, the basket will be waiting on her front porch on Easter morning."

Age-by-age ideas

  • Toddler: Stuffed animals, building blocks, Easter-themed soft books
  • Preschooler: Puzzles, coloring books, crayons, books, bubbles, chalk
  • Elementary schoolers: Small toys, DVDs, CDs, video games
  • Pre-teens: Nail polish, hair accessories, art supplies, video game character toys
  • Teens: Gift cards (if you're comfortable with that)

More on Easter baskets

Make your own Easter basket
Last minute Easter basket ideas

3 Healthy Easter desserts

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