Do you remember May Baskets?

When I was a small girl, I spent the week before the first of May busily making May baskets to leave on the front steps of my friends’ houses early on the morning of May 1.  These were creations that I made from construction paper.

My mother let pick flowers from the garden to put in the May baskets.  Since it was early spring, I was usually limited to bluebells, lily of the valley, violets or the last of the tulips and daffodils.  My mother would also buy me a bag of candy so that I could put a few pieces of candy in each basket.

I had no trouble waking up early on May Day since I had everything ready and was eagerly anticipating my trip up and down the block.  It was exciting to creep or sneak up to the door and leave my May basket and run off to get another basket to deliver.

May baskets over the years became a distant, but sweet memory.  Back in 1970, we had a 3 year old little guy and a two week old baby who found that sleeping at night was not his preference.  On May Day morning I  opened the front door to get the milk (yes, there was home delivery of milk back then) and there by the door was a May basket.  I was so surprised and with those  postpartum emotions pulsing through my body, I was just overcome.  I sat down and sobbed.  That gesture of thoughtfulness was wonderful.  It made my day and got me going.  I never did learn who gave me the May Basket.  It was a random act of kindness back before we even recognized random acts of kindness.

As my boys were growing up, I helped them make May baskets for the neighbors who all happened to be girls.  We used those plastic wicker baskets that strawberries and cherry tomatoes came in at that time.  The boys wove strips of construction paper through wicker.  I bought bedding plants that they put into small drinking cups.  Into each basket they put a potted flower and some small cookies that I had baked.

I coached them on how to be very quiet and not to talk or giggle when they went up to Irene or Jennifer or Stephanie’s houses to leave the baskets.  While they were delivering the baskets, I slipped May baskets on to the front porch for them to find when they returned.

This year I decided that I would make May baskets for the grandchildren.  Since two of them live 3 hours away, I had to enlist parental help with their baskets.  They have been delivered and secreted away.  I shall remind the tall people that the baskets need to be put out when they retire for the night on April 30.  I can drive to the home of  the grandchildren who live 20 minutes away to deliver the secret parcels.

I decided to make cone shaped baskets out of scrapbooking paper.

Using a pattern from the internet, I cut quarter circles and rolled them into cones.  It does take a little practice to get them rolled just right.  Since this was heavy paper, I decided I needed a hefty glue.  I had some glue for attaching pompoms and felt that I had used a few years ago.  I squeezed the bottle and nothing came out.  Squeezed again and nothing came out so I took the cap off and thoughtlessly turned the bottle upside down.  Oh, sure, then something came out all over me and the floor.

Time out for cleaning.  After I formed the cones, I let them dry over night and then assembled all the parts.

I crumpled colored tissue to put into the cones.  Since the long distance baskets would not have real flowers, I made one flower using some of the card stock and put a  pompom center on it.  I had long craft pipe cleaners to use for hangers and I had bought some butterfly lollipops to put into the baskets.

With a few pieces of candy dropped into the basket, my granddaughter’s May basket was done.

And so was my grandson’s basket.

I’ll make the same baskets for the grandchildren who live 20 minutes away substituting real flowers and their favorite candy.  I hope all the parents take photos for Grandma of the surprised faces on May Day morning.

There is plenty of time for you to put together a May basket surprise for someone special – a child, an elderly neighbor, or a special friend.  It will add a sparkle to their day.

Thank you for stopping by Grandma in the Mailbox.  Next week I’ll give you a recipe for breakfast cookies.  They are tasty treats for children and for Grandmas and everyone else.  I always have some in the freezer for a quick breakfast.  I hope you visit again.

Comments are closed.