Seven Alternatives to the Traditional Easter Basket

Alexandra Churchill
Martha Stewart Living

Functional, portable, and ever tidy, baskets are the best kind of gift packaging—we're especially fond of the ones that, come Easter, are filled to the brim with treats and tied up in a bow. That said, this year, gifting may be different amid the COVID-19 pandemic. If you find yourself without a gift basket per se, skip a trip to the store and be resourceful. There are all kinds of upcycling solutions to be found in your home. Browse from room to room: in the living room, a firewood carrier; in the laundry room, a fresh-load hamper; and in the kitchen, you'll find any number of containers including berry baskets, colanders, bamboo steamers, and jars.

Not only is this economical, it's eco-friendly, too. You'd be surprised how many common things aren't actually recyclable. And if you need basket stuffer ideas, we've got those, too: dyed eggs, bunnies, candy, and non-candy surprises alike. With a little creativity, almost any Easter "basket" can double as something else that is useful.

Related: How to Send an Easter Basket in the Mail

Wearable Accessories

If Easter means outfitting the whole family in their Sunday best, why not include this tradition as part of the basket? Treats and toys can be filled into a new pair of beribboned galoshes or an upturned bonnet. Even a tote bag will prove practical: On Easter, it's monogrammed as a gift; in the seasons to come, it has room for all the vegetables from the farmers' market and can stand in as a beach carryall.

Toys

Little ones will be wowed by a new plaything whether it's an old favorite or something new: the back of a toy truck, a pull-along wagon, a dollhouse. For any of these, fill it with smaller imagination-sparking toys inside: finger puppets, play dough, craft kits, and nontoxic art supplies.

Kitchenware

If they're good enough to use for holding pantry staples, they're presentable as a gift of goods. Choose from your collection of bamboo steamer baskets, berry baskets, bread boxes, colanders, and mixing bowls. For a grand reveal, something like an epergne or tiered fruit basket makes a show-stopping display that doubles as a table centerpiece. And even if you've outgrown chocolate eggs and candies, no one outgrows their love of food. Curate a basket full of must-have gadgets and artisanal ingredients for the talented chef in your life.

Jars, Canisters, and Other Containers

On a smaller scale, fill glass food jars with candy arranged in colorful layers. To create an Easter-basket effect, nestle a white-chocolate lamb in edible grass with candy eggs and marshmallow bunnies. Finish with ribbon and a tag, or attach a note to the lid using double-sided tape.

Garden Pots, Planters, Pails, and Watering Cans

Venture outside and look to the backyard for a perfect vessel. After all, most of them were made to weather the elements. To create the family's coordinated set, paint terra-cotta containers using stamps, brushes, or adhesive stencils. For gardeners and aspiring green-thumbs, these baskets can be filled with seed packets, weeding gloves, and digging tools. Once opened, they can be an addition to the already flourishing family garden.

Boxes

Truthfully, it doesn't really matter what kind—toy box, tool box, window box, even a cardboard box used for moving and storage in a pinch. Everything can be packaged together and beautifully presented in your choice of a durable four-sided container. Spray-paint it in a fresh color or metallic tone, and tie it off with a ribbon for finesse.

Yarn, Twine, and Rope

This, admittedly, takes some crafting skill on your part. But it's ideal for knitters, weavers, and crocheters, if you're up to the task. For a woven basket, all you need is a ball of hemp cord, a darning needle, and a cornstarch container, which is something easily found in your kitchen.

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