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Easter baskets for adults only

With a little bubbly, this basket is definitely not for kids. See the contents listed below.

James Borchuck | Times

With a little bubbly, this basket is definitely not for kids. See the contents listed below.

By Shannon Colavecchio-Van Sickler

Confession: My husband and I love to make Easter baskets.

We are both 30-something working professionals, homeowners, responsible adults. We have no children, but on Sunday we will have baskets — and they will be all ours, down to every last jelly bean and Dove chocolate egg.

See, we reject the notion that Easter baskets are for kids. We defy the consumer tradition that says the most likely occasion for doling out chocolate romance is Valentine's Day.

Pffft! Feb. 14 is so predictable. An easy target. Borrr-ing!

Nothing beats waking up on Easter Sunday to a basket full of surprises that Mike tailors just for me. It's almost as good as Christmas morning.

We started this tradition a couple of months into our courtship, on a sort of intoxicated we're-falling-in-love!!! whim. I stuffed his bright wicker basket with decadent Godiva and jelly beans, and I paved a trail of the pastel-colored beans from his bed to the basket in the living room — just like he said his parents did when he was a kid.

He managed an architectural feat by filling mine with treats from the bakery at Toojay's deli, including my favorite black-and-white cookies. There was even a little container with a slice of key lime pie.

Eight years later, we're still basket-swapping.

That said, this tradition is not an easy one to uphold. It takes thoughtfulness and insight into the person you're making it for.

So let me provide a few pointers, the elements every basket needs to succeed:

Something traditional: Make a basket "foundation" of Cadbury Eggs, jelly beans, those speckled eggs with the malt ball center, the love-'em-or-hate-'em Peeps.

Whatever it is, make sure it's your recipient's favorite thing, and make sure there is plenty of it.

Something romantic: Write a great note. And include a non-edible gift, maybe a CD of romantic songs, or candles. Last year I got Mike the cutest green stuffed frog that ribbits when you press his stomach.

Something unexpected: Has he been talking nonstop about a concert coming to town? Buy two tickets. If you're ready to pop the question, why not bury that Tiffany's box with the princess cut diamond under all those jelly beans? But "unexpected" doesn't have to be pricey. Give "vouchers" for free 10-minute massages or back rubs, or breakfast in bed.

Okay, I've handed over all my basketmaking secrets. Now get on it!

Shannon Colavecchio-Van Sickler can be reached at or (813) 226-3403.

So what's in the basket?

Our Easter basket floweth over. Here are the items we included:

Romantic: Waterford champagne flutes, about $150 for the pair retail (go to for store locator); Moet & Chandon champagne, $35 at area liquor stores; Brighton necklace (on champagne bottle) inscribed with "peace, love, joy, inspire, believe,'' $38 at Marion's, St. Petersburg. And check out The World of Nat King Cole — winter is over, there's a spring in your step and Times pop music critic Sean Daly says there's no better soundtrack than Cole's effortlessly upbeat L-O-V-E.

Traditional: Basket, $7.99; Easter grass, 29 cents a bag; bunny candle, $6.99; set of six egg candles, $6.99; Lindt dark chocolate bunny, $5.99; Jelly Belly jelly beans, $3.99, all from Target. Don't forget yellow chick Peeps (99 cents).

Unexpected: Spring is here, so we added garden gloves ($5.48); a barbecue spatula ($6.97) from Lowe's; and sunglasses ($19.50) from American Eagle. You could also add a good book. Easter is all about redemption, the subtext of Lauren Groff's debut novel Monsters of Templeton, about a troubled narrator who finds her identity and peace of mind by unearthing her town's history. Times book editor Colette Bancroft also recommends Stephen King's latest ghostly tale, Duma Key, the story of a man's recovery from a near-death experience, and of the redemption he finds in art.

Easter baskets for adults only 03/19/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 9:42am]
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