Spring has finally arrived and soon we will be feeling the warmth of the sun (hopefully more consistently than 1-2 days a week), while being surrounded by colorful flowers and listening to the laughter that fills the air as our children play outside with neighborhood friends. Life just seems a little easier in the springtime as we appreciate the simple things in life, like spending the afternoon at the park, having picnics, and blowing bubbles. I begin to feel nostalgic as I reminisce about the simplicity of childhood.
This year, there is one celebration from my youth that I am determined to help bring back – the long forgotten May Day basket.
While it’s rarely still practiced around here, I hope most of us remember the excitement of making baskets or cones from construction paper to hold fresh-cut flowers or filling up plastic cups with popcorn, candy, and other sweet treats. We would walk around the neighborhood, placing the surprises on friends’ and family members’ porches, ring the doorbell, then run and hide as fast as we could. I recall hiding in the bushes, watching the recipient come to the door and look around hoping to find me. The sweet adrenaline rush of childhood!
The Classic: Popcorn in a Paper Cup
Cupcake in a Jar
As soon as my daughters were old enough, I started helping them make May Day ‘baskets’. Last year they baked cupcakes in small mason jars. Since their friends all lived outside our neighborhood, we drove them around North Liberty and watched as my 6-year-old tried her best to be sneaky as she tiptoed up to the porches, carefully placed the cupcake, then ran away jumping into our (very noticeable) black suburban and buckling up before we could drive away. Lucky for us, I don’t think any of the families were home at the time, or they were polite enough to wait a few minutes before coming to the door, allowing her adequate getaway-time.
Drink and Straws
Unfortunately, as we all know, things have changed since we were children. We have to be more aware of allergies. Also, the idea of eating an open container of popcorn and candy left on our doorsteps by a stranger might now be frowned upon. However, that is not going to stop me from keeping this tradition alive. Instead of sweets, you could fill a cup with your favorite drink mix and some fun straws.
Seeds in a Pot
Flowers in a Jar
You can easily add a ribbon handle to any mason jar by pulling the ribbon through the ring before tightening it onto the jar. Who wouldn’t love to come home to fresh cut flowers hanging on their door? Faux flowers work, too!
I am not ashamed to admit that I regularly take crafts ‘over-the-top,’ but that’s not what this is about. It doesn’t matter if it’s a handmade basket, a Solo cup, or an empty soup can, May Day is one of those special holidays that doesn’t call for any expensive decorations or fancy food. It truly embraces the idea, “It’s the thought that counts,” and a simple gesture could be all it takes to put a much needed smile on a loved-one’s face.
Berries and Shortbread
Don’t assume I’m going to let the kids have all the fun, though. Maybe some of my mom friends would enjoy a surprise on their doorstep, like these pretty berries with shortbread!