What kind of Easter celebration do you have with the kids? Have you ever considered having an eco friendly Easter, or "Green Easter?" Aside from going to church (if you go), do you plan an egg hunt? Give the kids baskets? As a kid, at Easter we never had elaborate festivities, so I'm genuinely curious, especially amidst all the Easter crafts and activities and decorations I've seen plastered all over the internet and in store windows.
Long time readers (group hug!) know that I really lag on holiday celebrations. The deadlines! The decorations! The planning! I just can't get motivated for it all. Lucky for me, this means my no-stuff holiday celebrations are automatically eco-friendly.
Even so, I'd like to encourage you to have a "green" Easter this year. If the kids feel left out of the plastic grass-giant chocolate bunny-plastic egg hoopla, try these alternatives, as well as explaining to your kids what's most important about the day. (Whatever that means to your family.)
1. Ditch the plastic eggs. Seriously. Those things are a menace. Honestly, kids don't need eggs with small toys or candy inside them. I know this makes me a wildly unpopular killjoy, but I really cannot stand those things. If you already have them, reuse them every year or donate them to a community egg hunt. Alternatives: real eggs (of course), wooden eggs, smiles.
2. Buy pastured eggs from a local farmer. You probably already know about the hideous treatment of egg-laying hens in industrial farms across the country. Support farmers who treat their animals properly. The eggs are more nutritious and much, much tastier.
3. Dye your eggs with natural dyes instead of store bought, petroleum-based dyes. Even if you are not eating the dye, the production of chemically synthesized dyes is bad for the world. If you have the energy to chop up and cook your own veggie dye dips, check out this post from Two Men and a Little Farm. If you don't, then try Earth Paint dyes, which look pretty snazzy.
4. Buy a second-hand Easter basket. I'm personally of the opinion that Easter baskets are unnecessary, but if you enjoy the tradition I encourage you to head out to your thrift store to pick up a second-hand basket. Or, reuse a basket you already own.
5. Ditch the plastic grass. Again, another menace. (Ha Ha! I'm not mincing words here.) I know they sell paper grass, now, but instead shred up a paper bag or old wrapping paper. Or, you know, just skip the grass altogether.
6. Buy fair trade chocolate. Don't worry, I won't be so stingy as to suggest ditching the candy altogether! (But do ditch the Peeps.) However, there are lots of companies who source their cocoa from sources that don't exploit the workers and the environment.
7. Instead of filling a basket with toys and candy, consider an alternatives such as plants, seed packets or even a small tree your children can replant in the garden. It's springtime, after all -- a great time to get a little family gardening time in.
8. Save your egg shells for the compost! Or, turn them into cress heads.
9. Make a donation or volunteer your time. Instead of thinking of the holiday as a time to give cute gifts, make your celebration even more meaningful by giving back to the community or your favorite charity. These simple ways to make a difference this spring are perfect for kids.
10. Spend the day with your family and friends. Go to the park. Go birdwatching. Go to the zoo to see the rabbits, lambs and baby chicks. Celebrate the simple things of spring. Do you have brunch or dinner together? Work in the kitchen with the kids, or take a picnic to the park. I guarantee you, the kids will remember the time you spend together and cherish it much more than a foam-stuffed rabbit toy.
Having an eco-friendly Easter is actually pretty easy. I'm by no means perfect when it comes to living an environmentally conscience life, but I do what I can and learn a bit more each day about how my family can reduce its footprint. I'm certainly not trying to make anyone feel bad about giving their kids baskets or candy.
If we make purposeful decisions then we make better ones.