Green –up Your Easter! Eco-Friendly Ideas to Keep The Bunny Smiling
Holidays are famous for generating vast amounts of waste and supporting less than ecologically minded companies, but this year you can change that, and it’s easier than you might think. We want to feel good when we celebrate, and just like grandma told us, feeling good really does come from doing good. If you want this Easter to be better than ever, here are some simple, effective things you can do to make this Easter greener than ever, even if there’s still snow on the ground.
Give garden-themed Easter baskets – children love to garden. They love to get their hands dirty and feel the wonder of watching a seed grow into a plant. Think heirloom seeds (no genetically modified seeds, please!) gardening gloves, a watering can, and small spade. Teaching your children to love and respect the earth is a priceless gift.
No real bunnies, please! Most children find it almost impossible to resist a velvety, wide-eyed bunny, and what could be more enchanting than to discover one in his or her Easter basket? There’s nothing less enchanting than the ugly truth: hundreds of rabbits are purchased and given as gifts for Easter, and consequently abandoned in the outdoors, where they will certainly die. Domestic rabbits are high-maintenance animals possessed of delicate constitutions. They are easily injured and will scratch if frightened. Adding a rabbit is to your family is a choice that should only be made after careful consideration and research. A great alternative is to donate to a rabbit shelter as a family. Our rabbit shelter of choice is Brambley Hedge Rabbit Rescue. They have a great website and Facebook page filled with adorable pictures of saved bunnies that will delight your family. Even better, they give abandoned, neglected, and abused rabbits a second chance at life. Your donations make it possible, and it’s an Easter gift you can feel good about for years to come.
Serve organic veggies and pastured, grass fed meat at your table – There’s no better place to source out your Easter feast than your local farmer’s market, but it’s important to note that buying your meat from a local grower doesn’t guarantee that it’ll be everything you’d hoped. Today’s consumer must be label-savvy in order to identify those who wiggle through loopholes in standards meant to protect your family and provide a better quality of life for livestock. Ask questions and do research. Your ideal Easter table should feature hormone-free, organic, pastured meat and organic veggies. Easter is also a great time of year to begin a compost if you haven’t already done so!
Use earth-friendly Easter egg dyes – or even more fun, make your own! You can find recipes for homemade Easter egg dyes using items in your fridge and pantry. Your children will find the experience of making dye from scratch rewarding and fun! Simply boil or blow-out the eggs, then immerse in your homemade dyes (recipe link below.) For natural colors, leave the eggs in for a short amount of time. Leaving them in the dye for several hours or overnight produces gorgeous, jewel-tone shades even the Easter bunny will envy. Hop on over to She Knows to check out her terrific homemade, earth-loving dyes!
If making your own dyes seems a tad too ambitious, there are also natural, eco-friendly dyes available online (link below.) We’ve tried this kit from Lavish and Lime and loved it. It’s made using only natural and organic plant, fruit and vegetable extracts from annatto seed, curcumin, purple sweet potato and red cabbage. The kit contains three colors and a chart directing how to mix additional shades. You can color about one hundred eggs with one kit. If you’ve blown your eggs before dying, the shells are safe to grind up and use in your garden in the spring.
Make an Easter tree – Instead of purchasing a mass-produced centerpiece, you can create a sentimental centerpiece showcasing your family’s eco-friendly eggs! Try using a gallon ice-cream bucket covered in pretty fabric, and filled it with tallish twigs. Next, pour in some washed stones to secure the branches. Glue a pretty yarn or string loop to the small end of each egg, and then hang them from the branches. Your kids will love showing your tree off to company!
Plan an outdoor Easter egg hunt – Experts tell us that Canadian children are desperately lacking in outdoor playtime. Turn that troubling statistic around this Easter by planning an outdoor Easter egg hunt, regardless of the weather! You can amp up the fun by inviting neighborhood children to join in the hunt, and give out fun seed packets or a small seedling when they leave. Children love to care for small plants. A plant they can put in the garden when weather permits would be a lovely keepsake, and ensure the gift of your hospitality keeps on giving.
Create eco-friendly Easter baskets – As tempting as all those pastel colored baskets are, you’ll feel much better if you bypass them and reuse last-year’s basket. If you’re particularly creative, you might even consider making your own. You can create one using recyclable gallon milk jugs, or sew one using scraps of pretty fabric. Always involve the kids in your creative Easter endeavors, and their Easter will be vastly more memorable. Forgo the plastic grass basket stuffing. If you must use stuffing, use shredded, recyclable paper or fabric scraps.
A word on chocolate – I love it. You love it. But the time has come when chocolate lovers can no longer turn a blind eye to the unfair and often cruel harvesting practices fueled by corporate greed. Think environmental damage and child labor. Is that the sort of candy you want in your child’s basket? I didn’t think so. Yes, fair trade, organic chocolate is expensive, but go ahead and splurge – our world, your kid’s palate, and your conscience is worth it. I’ve found traditional Easter shaped organic fair trade chocolate difficult to find, so last year my husband and I carefully melted down bars and poured them into chocolate molds. It was fun and ridiculously delicious! You can also purchase fair trade, organic chocolate chips online, which is more economical and easier than melting bars.
Don’t forget that even the smallest step forward is still a step forward. Don’t become overwhelmed by what you can’t do. Instead, celebrate what you can do. Your efforts make a difference!