Parenting at holidays during the age of overachieving Instagrammers has proven to be detrimental to the everyday mom. Gone seem to be the days of being able to skate by on the essentials; instead, that easy-going experience has been replaced by the desperate need to give our children magical experiences for all life events, especially holidays. This, in turn, is breaking the budgets of suburban moms everywhere. Not only is this unrealistic and setting overly high expectations for ourselves (and conversely low moods when expectations don’t meet reality), it is also needless, as most kids don’t care that much. Let’s be honest here: your child is not going to notice that their Easter basket isn’t Pinterest worthy. What they are going to care about much more is the memories you are building together. Here are some great ways to create those memories while saving money and stress in the process.
Minimalist Easter Baskets
How many garages need to be filled to the brim with excessive holiday décor before American parents say enough is enough? A great way to reduce the Easter portion of this clutter is by getting Easter baskets that can be reused throughout the year for alternative purposes. Pick something sturdy and in keeping with your home’s design aesthetic, and during the other 364 days of the year place it on a bookshelf in your living room to hold hot wheels cars, or even on the kitchen counter for fruit. For those naysayers who might point out that children will notice this: it is very unlikely that they will, and if they do, simply tell them that the Easter Bunny is trying to reduce global warming effects, one basket at a time.
Now that you have a reusable basket, what are you going to fill it with? Shred up all your recyclable paper (heck, even this magazine when you’re done reading all the amazing articles in it), and use that as Easter grass. If you don’t have plastic eggs saved from previous years, hit up one of the many free local egg hunts and re-use those, filling a few of them with some pieces of candy from the Dollar Tree. The remaining eggs can be filled with one of the best holiday gifts: “experience coupons.” These can range greatly depending on your ability; they can be as simple as “couch sleepover with mom” and as complex as “hiking trip to Hanging Rock,” or whatever your heart desires. If you really feel the need to fill the baskets with more, grab some things that they would need anyway, such as socks (fun ones, obviously), crayons or pencils, and bubbles. You can spring a few bucks for the bubbles, everybody loves bubbles.
What says “Easter time” more than decorating eggs? Granted, the kits for these aren’t crazy expensive—but they also aren’t needed if you have a few other things already on hand. You can easily make the same type of bright egg dye if you have basic food coloring, water, and white vinegar. Mix together ½ cup of boiling water, 1 teaspoon of white vinegar and between 10-20 drops of food coloring, depending on how vibrant you want your eggs. Instead of using fancy stencils, you can draw on the eggs with crayon, and the wax will serve as your stencil. If you want a more natural look, you can also boil water and vinegar with food byproducts in order to achieve muted natural colors. Use red onion skins to create red eggs, shredded beets for pink eggs, ground turmeric for yellow eggs, and chopped purple cabbage for blue eggs. You can then use these eggs for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for the next week or two to save more money!