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 firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3403.