Bring back May Basket Day

In my younger years, we always celebrated May Basket Day. It was a fun time with our parents, creating May baskets and delivering them to our neighbors on May 1.

Historically speaking, in the 19th and 20th centuries, people rang in the first of May with a sweet tradition. They would take all the flowers that they had gathered at the end of April’s showers, arrange them in pretty paper along with some gifts and candies, and then hang them on the doors of friends and neighbors as a way of welcoming them into warmer weather.

With the winter we have had, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the arrival of Spring. A family-fun and friendly trip across your neighborhoods to deliver May baskets sounds enjoyable. Here are some simple ideas:

Basket ideas

First, you need to create or purchase something to hold your sweets and treats.

Purchase small wicker baskets that can be found in abundance at thrift shops, dollar stores, and flea markets.

Remove the label from a tin can. Use a hammer and nail to punch holes in the sides to hold a ribbon hanger, or make a handle out of wire. Plant annual flowers inside.

Using patterned scrapbook paper, coloring book paper or solid construction paper, roll them into a cone and which is stapled or taped shut to form a container.

Cut a paper plate in half. Glue half the plate to a full paper plate, right sides together, to form a pocket.

Paper bags, Ziploc bags or plastic cups work great too.

Add sweets and treats

Next, begin building, mixing or baking.

Create your own favorite snack mix – we typically add popcorn, M&Ms, Goldfish crackers, marshmallows, fruit snacks and pretzels.

Add lollipops, chewing gum, Tootsie Rolls or wrapped candies.

Cookies or baked brownies are always a nice addition.

Create lollipop flowers by simply cutting a flower shape from construction paper and inserting a lollipop through the middle.

Tips or ideas:

Plan ahead and create a list of people who want to deliver to. Be sure to consider to those in your neighborhood who may have nut allergies.

Create a personal message on a computer label to attach to your May basket.

Contact a local nursing home and ask if you can deliver May Day baskets to residents.

Drop off a basket to your nearest police, hospital/clinic or fire station with a note of thanks.

Don’t forget the aunts and uncles, cousins and the grandparents that live nearby.

Let’s bring back the May Day baskets again. It is a day in which it is as much fun to give, as it is to receive. Be neighborly and brighten someone’s day.


Carrie Kube is a Director for Iowa River Valley Early Childhood Area Board and can be reached at. All thoughts and opinions expressed are that of the author and not the Board and/or its

community partners.