Question for Americans

Everybody on FB is talking about “filling the Easter baskets.” What does it mean? How many am I supposed to fill and what do I do with them?

Back in Ukraine, we fill Easter baskets with this really foul, uneatable pastry called paska and hard-boiled eggs boiled with onion peel to make them brown. And then we give them to guests. I’m assuming in the US we are supposed to do something different. The local toy store advertises a sale on these huge toys “to fill your baskets.” How large should the baskets be? And who gets them?

This is very confusing. Please help.

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21 thoughts on “Question for Americans”

  1. In the US, Easter baskets are usually filled with candy (namely chocolate) or other treats. Kids sometimes get little trinkets, too. In my family, we just do one basket per person. In other families, just the kids get a basket.

    You could do anything you consider a treat, though, not just candy. It might also be an opportunity to give Klara one of her birthday (or Christmas?) presents, since I know you were spreading those out throughout the year.

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      1. I agree, the basket should be filled with a variety of chocolate and candy and perhaps a few small toys or other special things. In my family, baskets were only given to children and the basket was left by the door to be found in the morning on Easter Sunday. I think the Easter Bunny was supposed to have come by in the wee hours of the morning to deliver it. I think some families gave the Easter basket to the children after attending church on Easter Sunday, but my family never did it that way.

        Dying eggs with children is also a big pre-Easter activity. If you go to Walmart/Target/Walgreens/etc. you can find kits with all sorts of dies, wax crayons, stencils, and stickers that can be used for decorating eggs. Paas is the main brand for those.

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        1. By the door! Ok, that’s smart. It’s all starting to make sense now, thank you! I missed the whole thing completely last year because I struggle to keep track of when Easter actually is.

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          1. I missed the whole thing completely last year because I struggle to keep track of when Easter actually is.
            Is this because Russian Orthodox Easter is on a different date than western churches Easter?

            How are you going to explain the calendar difference to Klara?

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            1. I honestly don’t know when the Orthodox Easter is either. It took me a decade in North America to remember Christmas. I guess it’s harder if you don’t grow up with these holidays and they carry no emotional load.

              Klara is already very used to cultural differences because one grandma is Ukrainian, another is Russian, grandpa is Jewish, uncle is Peruvian, cousins are Canadian, and so on. Every time I start on this litany, she begins to loudly recite the pledge of allegiance at me to shut me up. 🙂

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      2. That’s completely up to you. My mom hides them and gives my sister and I clues to find it (yes, even though we’re adults now — my mom has mastered the multi-part clue-writing). We do it first thing in the morning. On the rare occasion we went to sunrise service, we did it when we got home.

        When I was little, my family did an Easter egg hunt, too. But that wasn’t what other families did, I don’t think — a lot of kids did Easter egg hunts through church or community center events, or just didn’t do them at all.

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  2. One basket per kid (so in your case just one), and it’s filled with candy. There’s a variety of things you can put in there, but at least some of it needs to be chocolate eggs. I also highly recommend putting in a chocolate bunny. Jellybeans are also traditional, even among people who don’t like jellybeans that much, but beyond that mostly chocolate. We also decorate eggs before Easter, and then someone hides them around the house and the kids look for them (you might also do this in Ukraine, but I don’t know so I’m just mentioning it.) In my famly they also “hid” the Easter baskets, though they were very easy to find. Some families tell their kids the Easter Bunny brought the baskets and hid the eggs, but I don’t think we bothered pretending in my family; even if you do, kids stop believing in the Easter Bunny at a very young age, well before they stop believing in Santa. I think this is bout the average size of an Easter basket (making it “almost candyless” is a crime though. I see clothes in there, no kid wants clothes for Easter)

    http://thebiglongwait.blogspot.com/2015/03/mostly-candyless-easter-baskets.html

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    1. The worst letdown for a kid is to get a “useful” gift. Actually, it’s the same for an adult.

      And putting all kinds of candy in the basket is a great pretext to teach self control with portion size. Thank you! I’m off to get the candy.

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      1. At least if you’re an adult you’re like “hey, I’m saving money.” When you’re a kid, it’s like “my parents would’ve bought this for me anyway because it’s a necessity, but they’re pretending it’s a gift.”

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          1. I dunno, I just know we all enjoy getting new socks in my family (though they have to be fun socks, not boring ones.)

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          2. Huh, I love, absolutely love useful gifts. But they have to be useful for my purposes rather than the purposes of the gift giver. Then it shows that the gift giver has either really given my situation a bit of thought or carefully listened to me problem-solving out loud.

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  3. It’s a really good reason not to buy a lot of candy during the rest of the year. Otherwise Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter and Hallowe’en, the four candy related holidays, don’t stand out as much. Especially on Hallowe’en and Easter, we used to end up with insane amounts of candy! You get fake grass (shredded green tissue paper) for the bottom of the baskets, and then a lot of jelly beans, which have an egg shape. Then you nestle the chocolate eggs and rabbit in the jelly beans, and you can also have a sugar egg with a diorama inside.

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  4. EASTER EGG HUNT. It’s a must – we do it every year and she will be unimpressed to find out about it from my kids and realize you had her miss out

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    1. I’m not really trading. We are still celebrating all of the holidays from back home and doing all the traditional stuff. We, Ukrainians, never pass up an opportunity for more celebrating. 🙂

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