With Easter right around the corner, I started thinking about what I would put in my son’s Easter basket. As a Christian, I know we celebrate Easter for the remembrance of Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the grave after his crucifixion. There are other traditions associated around Easter for this purpose as well, but I was particularly intrigued by the Easter basket.
I couldn’t help but wonder, “Why do we even have these baskets, and where does this idea come from? Is this even important and if so, why?”
We’ve all been giving Easter baskets, or receiving them, for years – but do we understand where or why this is a tradition in the first place? For most of us, I’m guessing probably not. So, I thought it would be neat to explore the origin of the Easter basket.
Origin of the Easter Basket
Per Sciencing, “Easter is the culmination of a long Christian season of celebration and reverence. For 40 days prior to Easter, many Christians choose something to go without for Lent. Food, such as meat, eggs or dairy, is usually chosen for this fasting period. The large feast typically served on Easter celebrates the end of this fast and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In early Christian times that Easter feast was served in the churches. Food was brought to churches in large baskets and blessed by the clergy before being served. Easter baskets filled with treats originated from this tradition of bringing baskets to church on Easter.”
So originally, Easter baskets were used to carry the food for a large feast, that symbolized the end of the fasting period for Lent. I don’t know about you, but I know I could not get away with giving my son, Silas, a basket of food every Easter, nor would I want to. I can (and do) give him food every day, multiple times a day, every year.
He doesn’t need a basket of food from me. He needs to understand the point of sacrifice, which is exactly what Lent is about. Our kids don’t necessarily need to be fasting, and I don’t think many younger kids would understand the concept just yet. I do think children can understand somewhat that Jesus died so we could live, and that was his sacrifice.
Creating an Intentional Easter Basket in Today’s World
I think when it comes to Easter baskets, we should be intentional with what we put in them, remaining true to its meaning while also including items that will truly help them create, learn and have fun. Here’s a list of ideas that are appropriate for kids of all ages, and can be tailored to your child’s preference.
Ideas for Items to Include in an Easter Basket:
It’s not necessary to purchase all these items, or fill like you have to fill it up to the brim. Pick 3-4 little things, 1-2 items books or gifts that remind us of the Easter story and resurrection, and 1-2 candy brand. That way your kids are still getting to enjoy the celebration, but are not getting caught up in all the “stuff” and forget the true meaning of Easter.
- Books or gifts that remind us of the Easter story and resurrection
- Mini or full size Bible
- Scripture cards
- Cross jewelry
- Stuffed lamb
- ONE toy they’ve been dreaming about
- Crayons and coloring book
- Small travel games
- Small easy crafts
- Little toys
- Stuffed animal
- Chapstick/lip gloss
- Candy (only a few pieces, no need to go overboard)
- Gift card to a coffee/food place (for teens)
Favorite Places to Find Easter Items:
Walmart makes this experience completely easy and painless (and of course affordable). You can literally get everything you need in one stop. They have so many different things to choose from, I was in there for over an hour trying to decide what to get Silas! Here are some examples of what they have in store. I’m sure Target and the Dollar Tree/Store are also great places to shop for Easter baskets.
I can’t wait to give Silas his Easter basket! It’s a great mix of items that stay true to the meaning of Easter, while also providing him fun and creative toys to play and learn from in the days ahead.