Easter marks the beginning of Spring and outdoor festivities to come. But it also marks some serious spending. A whopping 81% of Americans celebrate the holiday with a shopping spree of over $18 billion. Of that, a tooth-dissolving $2.5 billion is spent on CANDY! 

As a parent—or any adult having fun with kids this Sunday—you’ll want to ration the goodies so the little ones don’t start bouncing off the walls. And, you don’t have to be boxed in by the easy traditions of chocolate and marshmallow peeps. Here’s a list of ideas to brighten up your Easter festivities… and make them a lot healthier, too!

Fill your Easter baskets with:

    • Books
    • Toys and stuffed animals
    • Puzzles
    • Bubbles
    • Coloring book and crayons, pencils, or markers (washable to prevent accidents ;) )
    • Tickets or “coupons” for a trip to the park, zoo, or movie theater
    • Stickers or stamps
    • For older kids, gift cards to anything from coffee shops and restaurants to stores and bookshops, or even online retailers will definitely do the trick!
    • An envelope with two $5 bills and 3 cards. Tape a picture onto each card (cut from a magazine) to represent a type of charity (like “people eating” meaning food for the hungry, “dogs and cats” for animal welfare, etc). One $5 is to save (perhaps put in the piggy bank) and one is to send to a charity. Start ‘em young with good habits of saving/giving.

    Fill your plastic eggs with:

    • Think of the look of surprise on your little one’s face when they crack open an Easter egg and find a real dollar coin…instead of chocolate ones.
    • Fun band-aids or stick-on tattoos
    • Play-Doh or silly putty…or slime!
    • Mini toys like small Legos or dinosaur figurines
    • For older kids: nail polish, lip balm, barrettes, and colored or patterned shoelaces 

    Or forego the plastic eggs altogether and hunt for real eggs you’ve dyed or decorated together (fun activity alert!) or wrap money and treats in reusable ribbon.

    Whatever you choose for your special bunnies, we hope your holiday is hopping good fun!

    Sources: Fortune, and NRF (National Retail Federation)

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