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Remember Easter Baskets?

We were some damn lucky kids.  Not only did my mom go to some of the best candy stores in Philadelphia to get us delicious homemade chocolate bunnies and marshmallow chicks, she and my Grandmom Fee would put together the Easter baskets.  Grandmom Fee was the poor man’s version of Martha Stewart – she could recycle anything and craft it into something amazing.  Our Easter baskets were festooned with ribbons, cotton ball chicks, bows, bunnies, and elaborate Easter decorations.  People from all over the neighborhood would come to see the amazing baskets, and drool over the mountains of candy my mom piled inside – with the centerpiece being a coconut cream egg with our names on them.

But that was when candy was still okay to give to children.

When I had children, candy became an outlaw.  Never would something sweetened with corn syrup and loaded with artificial colors and flavors cross the lips of my precious children.  It would be only organic produce, healthy foods, and definitely nothing that tastes better rock hard and stale than soft and sugar covered for my girls.

But you know what that did?  That took a $20 or $30 per kid Easter basket – with GOOD candy – to an Easter basket that almost contains the same dollar amount of goodies that Santa brings on Christmas.

Included in our Easter baskets in order to spare our children a lifetime of dental woes and diabetes:

  • Books
  • DVDs
  • spring clothes
  • Easter pajamas (any pajamas with bunnies/chicks/or, in lieu of bunnies and chicks, monkeys)
  • craft kits
  • outdoor toys for spring and summer
  • sidewalk chalk
  • and when they are Brighid’s age, and too old for sidewalk chalk and craft kits, gift certificates to buy something so she won’t feel bad when the other kids have more in their baskets than she does

What the hell?

God bless Jamie Oliver and his Food Revolution.  I love him, and I completely support him in his efforts to make our children healthy and our population less obese.  But it’s nearly to the point that I need to take a loan out to fill the Easter baskets!

It’s once a year, and I don’t think a few jelly beans are going to harm my children.  Honestly.  And while I want them to know the lesson of the real meaning of Easter, I want them to also know the joy of an Easter egg hunt, where the eggs are filled with sweet treats that don’t break the bank, as opposed to slips of paper promising trips to the movies or the zoo during Easter break.

Save me.  Tell me what you put in your kids’ baskets that keeps you from bankruptcy – both financially and nutritionally!