Dear Dot: I’m Having Easter Anxiety

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Dear Dot,
When I was a child the Easter bunny would come to my house and leave a special basket filled with plastic straw, candy, and a new stuffed bunny to add to the pile. I look back now and realize how wasteful this is, but I worry my kids are missing out if I don’t continue the tradition. Any suggestions for how to make those holiday baskets a little better for the real bunnies?

—Noreen, Edgartown

Dear Noreen,

Mama Dot kept things simple. Each occasion, from Valentine’s to St. Patrick’s Day to Halloween, she would visit the bakery department at Steinberg’s grocery store. On the appropriate day, Brother Dot and I would find a gingerbread man with the relevant candy face (four-leaf clover, bunny, heart, etc.) at our spots at the kitchen table. To this day, I savor gingerbread — hard with candy icing.

But, as the now-defunct Steinberg’s grocery empire knows, time marches on. These days, the Easter candy-palooza inspires Americans to consume 16 billion jelly beans, 90 million chocolate bunnies, and 700 million marshmallow Peeps, according to InfoPlease.

Clearly, Noreen, you’re not alone in your desire to supersize your children’s Easter. 

Dot loves a chocolate bunny (ears first, as 89% of Americans agree) as much as the next Easter-loving atheist, but she’s less fond of the environmental and social justice price tag hanging from those ears. Excess consumption is pushing our planet to the brink. Chocolate is frequently the product of child labor. And I’m almost certain you know my thoughts on plastic baskets with more plastic nesting material, unless you’ve got a stockpile of baskets from Easter past that you can reuse. 

What can a mother who just wants to give her children an Easter treat do? 

The standard eco-rules apply: 

We always say, when in doubt, buy local. The Vineyard is candy heaven. Personally, we think nothing beats the peanut butter fudge at Murdick’s Fudge (Edgartown store plans to open this month). Ben and Bill’s Chocolate Emporium in Oak Bluffs is taking Easter orders and (their handmade chocolate eggs look unbeatable). Switch out those jelly beans for chocolate covered cranberries from New Moon Magick Enchanted Chocolates in Oak Bluffs (order online and pickup), among other treats. 

Seek out legitimate certifications — in the case of chocolate, Fair Trade is widely available and ensures that the chocolate was produced without unfair labor practices and with a dedication to environmental sustainability. 

Go for quality over quantity. Our kids don’t need to be buried in chocolate. One carefully chosen treat – a book, a special event – can elevate Easter indeed.

And that plastic grass? Why not find some microgreens on their original matts that can be removed from an Easter Basket and placed on a sunny windowsill to garnish weeks’ worth of salads and avocado toast. Ghost Island Farm and Morning Glory often stock microgreens. And as for chicks? Instead of the (admittedly yummy, especially when allowed to get stale … ) puffy marshmallow ones, take the kids on a Martha’s Vineyard Bird Club walk (run by BiodiversityWorks) where they might learn about all the unique qualities of Chickadees from Chilmark or Chappaquick. 

Hoppingly,

Dot

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