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Back in the 19th and 20th centuries, it was popular for folk to leave baskets on each other’s doorsteps that would contain flowers, sweets, and other nice things. It’s a tradition that isn’t well-known today, but it’s such a lovely thing that you could easily bring it into your life by helping your children make May Day baskets or even gifting some to your neighbors.

Things you’ll need

  • A wicker basket or other alternative. Wicker baskets can be expensive and hard to find, but a nice present box or a cheap but stylish storage basket would do the trick, too!
  • Some ribbon to decorate your basket or box.
  • Flowers and candy.

Good flowers to use

Flowers have their own language. As pretty as they are, some flowers have negative meanings, some are romantic, and others talk about friendship and platonic love. It’s a good idea to choose flowers that mean something if you want your May Day basket to have a little more love in it.

  • Daffodils. The ultimate Spring flower, often seen during Easter and used for all kinds of decoration throughout April and May. They represent rebirth, renewal, and new beginnings.
  • Yellow tulips. Specifically yellow because they represent happy thoughts. Red tulips are for true love and white for forgiveness.
  • Yellow roses. A good rule of thumb for flowers that represent friendship is to stick to yellow. Yellow roses symbolize friendship and happiness.
  • Daisies. These little flowers are a bit of an odd one, but they might work for your basket recipient. Daisies represent a lot of things: motherhood, innocence, purity, and true love. Remember that combining flowers can help send a message, too. No one is going to mistake a daisy for a true love flower when it’s surrounded by flowers that are only related to friendship.

Though you can speak through flowers to tell your recipient that you’re thinking of them, a traditional basket would be filled with flowers that you grew at home. Don’t go out of your way to spend lots of money on this gift, it’s supposed to be something fun!

What treats to include

You can include candy, baked goods, candles… Whatever you like! Traditionally, May Day baskets would use candies, but a modern basket could include anything you want. With Easter being this weekend, you can get lots of Spring-themed chocolates and other goodies to fill your basket with. A May Day basket is given on May 1st, so check sell-by dates for anything you buy in advance.

Here are some great Easter/Spring-themed candies you can find:

  • Mother’s Springtime Circus Animal Cookies
  • Hershey’s Mini Milk Chocolate Bunnies
  • Whoopers Robin Eggs
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Mallow-top
  • Lindt Lindor Neapolitan White Chocolate Truffles
  • Williams Sonoma Assorted Spring Lollipops
  • Peeps Cotton Candy Flavored Marshmallow
  • Peeps Marshmallow Chicks
  • Jelly Belly Speckled Chocolate Malted Eggs

You could also bake your own cookies or cupcakes if you really want to go the extra mile!

How to deliver your May Day basket

  1. Fill and decorate the basket.
  2. Hang it by your neighbor’s door or leave it on their doorstep.
  3. Yell out “May basket!”
  4. Run!

It’s a good idea to leave a card explaining the basket to your neighbor, even if it’s an anonymous surprise.