Think Outside the Chocolate Box this Easter

Skip the jelly beans, as well as most things nutty, hollow, solid chocolate or cream filled 
By Pam Dillon

Shopping for holiday treats or goodies for your Easter baskets? Pass by the hollow bunnies. Forgo the bags of solid chocolate eggs. Skip the jelly beans, as well as most things nutty or cream filled. It is possible – easy, even – not to sugarcoat this coming weekend. A lot of us (including grownups) love a little celebratory chocolate and a few sweet treats, but an annual sugar overload isn’t fun for anybody.

All too often, the scenario unfolds something like this: Youngsters get up at the crack of dawn. They ooh, they aaah, they sample chocolate and candy in all shapes and sorts of shiny packaging. They hunt for yet more chocolate eggs. Pretty soon their mouths are ringed in chocolate and they’re jumping-up-and-down giddy. Then? Crash!

The crying starts. Siblings bicker, wee ones get cranky and even adults wish they had indulged a little less.

You, Bunnymeister? You wind up wishing you had chosen to buy just half the sweet stuff.

This year will be different, right? There are lots of ways to create a special, fun-filled celebration without risking cavities and sugar-induced headaches.
Head to the dollar store, a department store or a local shop and load up on small, inexpensive family-pleasing items.  
Fun and funky pencils, erasers, pens and notebooks are welcomed by the school-age set.
Crayons, markers, colouring, activity and story books will also be greeted with smiles. Stickers and temporary tattoos are popular and who doesn’t like puzzles? You can find them geared to people aged six months to 96 years.
Play money, play dough and play sets – such as bags of dinosaurs, sea creatures or farm animals can provide hours…okay, minutes… of fun.
And what about seasonal items for outdoor play? Easter is the perfect time for sidewalk chalk, hoola hoops, skipping ropes, bubbles and wands and balls.
You can get practical too. Colourful socks, underwear, hair accessories and hygiene products are always a hit, especially with the teen and older set. If there are hockey players in the family, mini sticks always fit the bill and bike accessories are also a hit at this time of year.

Instead of doing the annual hunt for chocolate eggs, hunt for clues inside plastic eggs. Glow-in-the-dark eggs are available for hunting after dark. (Now there's a hunt that's guaranteed to thrill!) Send hunters on a merry chase that leads to their hidden Easter basket or special stash of non-edible treats.

How about trying something else outside-the-box this year? If you have extra family members on hand, do some egg-on-spoon races or do a bunny-hop version of musical chairs. And instead of dishing out chocolate and candy at the start of the day, how about letting the kids help make a special dessert to be served after dinner? Now that will hit the sweet spot!




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