A Greener, Thriftier Easter: Five Simple Tips

With daffodils just beginning to bloom, toddlers decked out in bunny costumes and thousands of families planning their egg-hiding strategies, Easter is a wonderful holiday full of hope and fun.  (Also, chocolate.)  Growing up, my family bypassed the bright, commercial idea of Easter by keeping it simple.  Now I realize that our basic Easter celebration was pretty green as well.  These tips were developed from my experience of a fun, but frugal holiday.

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#1: Buy a used Easter basket for each child and then re-use it each year.  These are unbelievably cheap and plentiful at thrift stores and will bring up cherished memories as your child gets to find it anew each spring.  Let your child be part of the selection process and add decorative raffia or ribbon for extra flair.  In my family we never tired of hunting for our own personalized basket again and again.

#2: Skip or reuse the Easter grass. When did we all decide that the best way to celebrate this ancient Christian holiday was to line our baskets with Astroturf? I have to guiltily admit that the green plastic stuff was in our childhood Easter baskets too, but we kept the same grass in there for decades.  Our Easter grass is now quite vintage, but it’s still providing new memories.  If you’d like an alternative to plastic, put a piece of green paper into the shredder and Voila!  You have yourself some recyclable Easter grass.

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#3 Use food coloring and vinegar to dye eggs.  Instead of shelling out the money for the dye kits each year and ending up with all that packaging, just fill mugs with warm water, add one tablespoon of vinegar and then pour in food coloring.  Dump the eggs in and watch the magic with your child. You can use color crayons to draw on the eggs before you immerse them and the designs will stand out after the dye sets. 

#4 Consider all natural egg dyes.  I think our family is going to experiment with this exciting tip from the tushbaby website.  If you add a bit of vinegar to the water while boiling your eggs and one of these natural ingredients, they’ll have a full range of hues.  The drawback is that you have to have a different pot of eggs boiling for each color you want to use, but you can always just pick a few and experiment.  The eggs need to boil and then simmer for a full fifteen minutes in the vinegar and natural dye mixture.

  • Purple grade juice (for lavender)
  • Red cabbage (for blue)
  • Spinach (for green)
  • Carrot tops, orange peels, or lemon peels (for yellow)
  • Coffee or black walnut shells (for brown)
  • Yellow onion skins (for orange)
  • Beets or cranberries (for pink)
  • Red onion skins (for red)

#5 Hide Real Boiled Eggs.  Rather than hiding candy in plastic eggs that you’ll find months later while pruning the begonias, hide real eggs this year.   Then you’ll have a healthy snack to share with your child that might distract him or her from the chocolate bunny. (We can hope, can’t we?)  We always enjoyed deviled eggs, egg salad sandwiches and some other creative egg dishes in the days following Easter.

What is your favorite tip for a greener Easter?  Send us your photos and stories and you just might make it into our next blog!

Comments

  1. Love all your ideas. Today, I planted some grass seed so we could grow our own grass for our Easter baskets.

    http://graymattersmd.blogspot.com/2008/03/tackle-it-tuesday-9-planting-easter.html

  2. Good idea, agray! Planting real grass seed gave me a related idea. Could you perhaps line the bottom of an Easter basket with newspaper, spread some dirt over it, and plant grass seed directly in the basket? If anyone tries this (perhaps very misguided) idea, let us know how it turns out! And please don’t blame me if you ruin your vintage Easter basket.

  3. I’m very interested in using natural dyes for my eggs but I’m concerned about simmering the eggs for 15 minutes. I’ve always thought eggs were best when brought to a boil and then left to sit for 12 minutes off heat. Does anyone know whether it is possible to get good color using natural dyes but without over-cooking my eggs? Or do you not eat those ones?

  4. Mimi, you don’t need to simmer them that long. I decided the other day to experiment by adding tumeric and a little vinegar to the water I used with the eggs. I let them sit just twelve minutes, like you said, and they came out bright yellow. The next time I cooked eggs, I added a few slices of beet along with vinegar. The water turned a brilliant purple but nothing happened to the eggs at all! I am going to try it without vinegar next time; I remember now that vinegar might keep beets from bleeding, which is not what I was going for. I might try coffee or spinach next. I am addicted to coloring eggs.

    You could also use the tips Joy gave in the Egg Silhouette post about creating dye washes with natural ingredients and then trying to dye pre-cooked eggs in the natural washes. Good luck and let us know how your experiments work out!

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  1. […] your celebration this year, you’re in the right place.  We have an archive packed with tips on how to make your Easter holiday eco-friendly and budget friendly as […]

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