Passing on the May Basket Tradition


Making and delivering May Baskets was an annual tradition in my family that I have passed on to my kids. It’s a way we love our neighbors and have a little fun.

May Day (May 1) traditionally celebrated the arrival of spring. May baskets are traced back to medieval Europe particularly in countries like England, Germany and France. May baskets are often filled with fresh flowers, small gifts, candy, baked goods and more.

The baskets are usually left in secret by hanging on the recipient’s front door knob or by place on the doorstep, ringing the doorbell and running away! In some traditions, if the giver is caught, the must be kissed by the recipient – a story that constantly scares my kids into hiding well in our neighbor’s bushes.

We make our baskets out of whatever I have on hand including:

  • Paper lunch bags, decorated with markers and stickers
  • Colored construction paper rolled into a cone and attaching a paper handle
  • Plain, small gift bags

You can include anything you want in your basket – ours vary based on how far we planned ahead and catered to the age of the neighbor we are surprising.

What to Put in May Baskets

  • Sweet treats – candy, homemade cookies, banana bread
  • Art or homemade cards with neighborly messages
  • Flowers – picked from your garden or more likely bought at the store
  • Homemade flowers – cut out a flower shape with bight paper and glue to a popsicle stick!
  • Flower seeds
  • Tea bags
  • Bubbles

In today’s world, it often feels like we forget to love our neighbors. This is a fun tradition to continue (or start) to remind you to spread a little love!

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Sarah McGinnity
Sarah is owner of Manhattan Moms and is passionate about encouraging and connecting moms - we weren't meant to do this alone! She grew up in Manhattan graduated from Manhattan High and K-State, worked for newspapers and for several marketing departments, and eventually got her master's in public administration. Sarah and her husband, Shea, have four kids - Henry (12), Clark (9), Lucy (7) and Caroline (1). She enjoys reading historical fiction, beating her kids at board games and traveling as often as possible.


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