Holidays can be tricky when you’re raising your child to be environmentally conscious; Easter is one of those holidays that can easily overwhelm you with candy and plastic choices the minute you enter the store.
Many people don’t even think twice about where that candy or plastic comes from. The sugar in those Easter treats, for example, could be destroying our environment. There are acres of sugar cane crops planted causing soil erosion, water pollution, habitat destruction and the list goes on. Child labor in Africa enables farmers to sell cocoa to the United States in large amounts and at low cost so that we can have that delicious chocolate bunny. Let’s not forget the health problems that sugar-laden holidays like this one can create; We should think about how our purchases not only affect our children but the world. How can we go about making a change? I have some great ideas for simple ways to make this holiday a little greener, safer and–more fun–by building a green Easter basket!
- The Basket: Find a basket, sand pail or shoe box around your home that you can decorate yourself. Or go to your local thrift shop and see what you can find!
- The Grass: A fun and–literally–green way to get “Easter grass” is to grow your own! Simply go to a greenhouse or anywhere they sell seeds and look for wheat grass. Plant some in a pot at home, making sure to water and provide light. Within 7 to 10 days, voila! you will have grass sprouting up! Easy and fun to do with your kids. Instead of grass, you can choose a colorful fabric to put inside their baskets.
- The candy: There are many ways to provide your little ones with good quality fair trade candy. You can try your local health food store or check out Natural Candy Store. Try making your own chocolate with fair trade cocoa or baking something healthy and delicious–there are so many amazing recipes out there–or you can try some of our healthy cookies.
- Eggs: Instead of buying plastic Easter eggs, get some local free range eggs and naturally dye them. You can use items you probably already have in your fridge to dye them naturally, like beets (red), blueberries (blue), spinach (green) or boiled orange or lemon peel (yellow). There are many more variations and colors you can choose from.
- Toys: Fill your little ones’ baskets with eco-friendly toys. One of my favorite companies is Smiling Tree Toys (love their adorable bunny teethers for teething babies!) Wooden blocks or puzzles are also fun for little ones; you can even make some simple toys yourself at home. For older children, fill baskets with seeds and gardening tools. There are also tons of easy recipes available online to create your own sidewalk paint and play dough: Put them in a fun container for a creative gift your children will be excited to use.
As much fun as holidays are, we often get bombarded by what’s in the media and on store shelves and forget that our kids don’t really need more things; all they need is you. We can help Mother Earth by teaching our children the consequences of mass consumption and that it isn’t the answer to having a happy holiday. Let’s get creative, support fair trade production and consume less this Easter!
Hope you all have a Happy Green Easter!