Consider a Non-Food Easter Basket
This article was originally published on myAllergy
There weren't a lot of candies I could eat many years ago, when I was still allergic to soy, egg, pear, and a few other allergens as well. So for our yearly Easter egg hunt my parents used to fill the plastic eggs with loonies and toonies instead of gummies which was totally fine with my brother and I (more allowance for us!). Our Easter baskets usually had some kind of outdoor activity like skipping rope or chalk, a book, and some crafty things, maybe a Disney VHS. My mom always managed to find at least one kind of treat to tuck into my basket, usually maple sugar bunnies that she bought somewhere locally. One year she found a chocolatier who was making pure dark chocolate without any allergens and that was a huge treat. I remember being in complete disbelief when I saw a chocolate bunny head peeking out at me from the basket across the room.I ate it so quickly there was chocolate all over my face.
Egg hunts at my grandparents' house were a little different, likely because they didn't grow up with the Canadian tradition of colourful plastic eggs and bright, bountiful baskets like my brother and our cousins did. They used to hide real boiled eggs around the house and hope we collectively found all of them. As we grew older they started throwing in some Kinder eggs, which I still happily searched for. So despite the egg hunt not being allergy friendly, I participated just like all the other kids and then gave up my prizes at the end to the other kids.
But I really think there is a better way around this. That's not to say that how my grandparents did it was negative in any way, but there is a way for all kids to be able to participate fully in the occassion. Give non-food treats a chance. Fill the eggs with inexpensive plastic rings or jewelry, pencil erasers, Shopkins, or other small prizes. And scale it up for the Easter basket. Include outdoor games, it is the beginning of Spring afterall. Try chalk, a baseball, or waterwings. Include their favorite books, mini books (like those pictured above), pencils, markers, crayons, stuffed toys, stickers, or fun school supplies. Notepads, dolls, action figures, or decorative accents for their room also make nice gifts. And why not include a craft or hobby that you can take part in together? For example, print out some of your favorite photographs, include a plain wood mirror, some craft paints and brushes, and glitter or other adornments. That way you'll have a fun and inexpensive activity to do together later. The same can be said of beads and string for necklaces, a pair of white Keds and some markers for fun Spring sneakers, or really any craft, puzzle, or game you can think of. When you open your eyes to see past candy, chocolate, and the basics, you'll find there are so many other fun and engaging options out there!