Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Easter Goodies....How Much Is Too Much?

When I was a kid.....or as my kid's would phrase it, "when dinosaurs roamed the Earth", Easter was a simpler affair.  Ok, not the religious part of it(if you are religious), but the 'Easter Bunny' part of it.

Back then there were 3 'kid holidays'....Easter, Halloween and Christmas.  The 1st two of those holidays were all about the C-A-N-D-Y & the last was all about the Presents.  Since we didn't get candy all year round(like kids seem to get today), getting that Easter basket of chocolates or that Halloween bag of candy was sure special to us and thus, it was something that you appreciated, no matter how little you actually got.

Our Easter baskets looked something like this....but not quite this full.

There was a basket, some fake grass and an assortment of chocolate, jelly beans and marshmallow 'peeps' or other non-chocolate candies.  Most everything was presented in special Easter wrapping or foil and sometimes in special shapes(rabbits, eggs, etc.).  Most kids in my neighborhood got 1 big chocolate item like a large hollow Rabbit or a big filled Egg and then other much smaller chocolates and candies were sprinkled over the fake grass to fill up the basket.  And if your mom was one of those creative types, like mine, your basket got decorated or accessorized with ribbon, bows and pastel cellophane wrapping.
The basket pictured above would have been one of your 'high end' Easter Baskets back then.

When I became a mom back in the early '90's, I modeled my kid's baskets on what I remembered from my childhood.  There was 1 big item and then smaller candies/chocolates filling out the basket.  I also started putting small toy items in my kid's baskets since all the experts at the time were telling us NOT to focus so much on candy as it was BAD for you.  Mostly what I bought was inexpensive stuff...crayons, coloring book, silly putty, super ball, cap gun, small stuffed bunny or chick, etc.  I probably spent $10-$15 on each kid. 
When they got older(12 & up), they still got some small candies/chocolates and the 1 big item became something they wanted(like a not-too-expensive gift they wanted for Christmas but didn't get), like a gameboy game, Pokemon or Magic cards, a music cd, a World of Warcraft time card, etc.    I spent more on the baskets/gifts at this age, about $25-$30 for each kid. 
No matter their age, when it came to Easter Baskets, the items they received had to fit in the baskets.
They would never have gotten the basket pictures below.....

My rule of thumb....if you can't fit everything in the basket, you shouldn't be buying that much!
And there is no cheating and buying a bigger basket when there is too much stuff to fit in the basket you already have.lol

Let me just say it has been hard for me to hold to my Easter basket guidelines over the years.

Because I have seen and I have heard from my kids about the goodies their friends receive from their parents over the years.  Just talking Easter here(Christmas was much MUCH worse!), their friends' baskets have been all about expensive presents with a tiny bit of chocolate thrown in.  They got things that you couldn't actually fit in an Easter basket.....x-box of playstation game systems, bikes, skateboards, new wardrobes, tvs for their own rooms and on and on. 
It's no wonder most of my kids' friends' parents have no money and massive credit card debt.

What's my point?
Gee, I don't know.....
Maybe not every holiday needs to be all about spending money and buying too much, be it candy or stuff.
Maybe we should cut down the amount we are spending on this holiday too like we need to cut down on all the money spent on Christmas?

The daughter doesn't want any candy/chocolate this year.  I'll still decorate a basket for her as well as #2 son since it is tradition.  I'll get them both a gift card this year to put in the basket(along with some chocolate for #2 son).   
I've spent $80 total, between the 3 kids and hubby for Easter.  Since we reuse the baskets, decorations, etc. there is no expense for that...it's just the gift cards and the candy/chocolate.  I've already gotten most of the chocolate/candy thanks to all my Rite-Aid deals over the last month so that's almost Zero OOP for the food components.

How much do you spend on your kid's Easter basket?  Do you have a budget for that?  Do you even do Easter baskets?
What do you do to be frugal at Easter time?



  1. We do Easter baskets around here and now that Logan is 4 it's becoming a bigger deal. Last year I lucked out and hit the Easter clearance at Target and CVS. I got both the boys some really cute toys. Noah will get a Fisher-Price gas pump to play with outside and Logan will get a new race track. Each item cost me under $6. I also hit the Easter clearance at Barnes & Noble (after each holiday their holiday books go 50% off) so they'll each get a book. I've gotten some great deals on candy so they'll get a couple of those too. I think I've spent about $8-$10 for each of their baskets. I never thought of doing a gift card for Mike to put in his basket so I think I'll steal your idea and get him one from Best Buy :) He'll enjoy that!

  2. Great topic! When I was a young child, my basket and my younger brother's were just about like the ones you had...mostly candy. As we got older, they changed a little, with maybe some inexpensive jewelry for me and a couple of Hot Wheels for my brother.

    As we got even older, things changed, not because my parents felt they needed to spend more, but because they'd find a great deal on something they were going to get us anyway and if it was near Easter, they'd save it and give it to us then. So, one year we got skateboards. One year we got tennis rackets that had all our candy Saran-wrapped to the stringed end of the racket, and one time we even got new bikes. But, we knew those were exceptions, and if the next year we just got the basket of candy again, we were fine with it. The idea we were entitled to anything more than our parents decided to give didn't even cross our minds. It was just a blast to get whatever we got. :)

    I try to keep Kat's basket simple and practical, because when she goes to any celebrations on her step-dad's side of the family (my son-in-law), they go way overboard with gifts and candy. This year the basket...or bucket actually...we give Kat will have a beach towel, a pair of cute sandals, a scooter skirt and a matching top, a coloring book and new crayons, and just a bit of candy. My guess is it cost about $20 to put together, but I don't mind because a lot of that is clothing that she'll wear all season.

    As for budgeting, it comes from a category called "Gifts, Non-Christmas", which accounts for anything to do with gifts, cards or wrapping for birthdays, classmate's birthday parties, Easter, Valentine's Day, cards for Mother's/Father's Day, etc. I allocate about $30 a month to that category. Depending on how many classmates have birthday parties, it's either not enough or way too much...LOL!

  3. I'm with you! It's gotta be frugal. Society teaches our kids that we've gotta use EVERY little excuse to spend tons of money and eat tons of food! And it just doesn't have to be that way. This year, my daughter is getting a hula hoop from the dollar store, my son is getting a car set from the dollar store, and I've spent $4.50 on candy...TOTAL for both!!! So my total for both baskets is $6.50. Although I admit, I'm thinking about buying some Lindt chocolate to support Autism speaks, in which case I'll be spending closer to $36 total. My baskets and grass get reused each year to save on that!

  4. My boys play and get Magic cards for gifts!
    You will be happy to know that the kids have been using the same baskets since they were babies. But our stuff doesn't always fit in the baskets. The Easter bunny likes to bring pool toys. So this way mom doesn't have to pay for them when the pool season rolls around. I too, have been collecting super cheap candy. And there is a Cover Girl deal coming up at CVS so that should help. DJ will probably get some more Magic cards. But the Easter bunny doesn't seem to like Den cuz he doesn't get anything!


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