Sunday, May 1, 2016

Do You Remember May Baskets?

When I was a small girl, at least 60 years ago, there was a spring tradition that has since gone by the wayside.  That was the tradition of giving friends and neighbors May Baskets.

About the middle of April Mother would set out paper and scissors and glue and help my sister and me make May Baskets.  These weren't traditional baskets but looked like these.

 If we had colorful construction paper, we would use that.  Or often we would use wallpaper left over from wallpapering a room in our house.  Mother was frugal.

Some followed the old tradition of filling the baskets with spring flowers.  In our neighborhood, candies were put into the baskets.  Sometimes there were jelly beans saved from Easter and other times Mother would make a batch of caramels, wrap the pieces in waxed paper and fill the baskets.  Still other times, Dad would make a batch of molasses taffy.  That was the most fun, for we got to pull the taffy until it was just right.  Waxed paper wrapped taffy pieces then went into the baskets.

The morning of the first day in May would find us hurrying through breakfast.  As soon as Mother was satisfied that we wouldn't starve between breakfast and lunch, our May Baskets were carefully stacked in a cardboard box and off we would go.  The way to deliver our baskets was to sneak up on a neighbor's front porch, hang a basket from the doorknob, ring the bell and scurry off around the corner of the house to peek and watch the reciepient claim their prize.

Mother made sure that there were enough baskets for each house on the block - both sides of the street.  There was even one for the grouchy old lady on the corner.  I remember being astonished at seeing a smile on her face when she found her basket.

When the last basket had been delivered, we hurried home to find several May Baskets waiting for us, filled with all sorts of sweet treats.

That was a more gentle time.  It was nice to have been given baskets of treats, but the fun was in the giving.  Too bad we don't do that any more.


  1. I don't think we ever did anything like that, but it seems like a nice tradition.

  2. Harry...It was a nice tradition. But my family kept it up only while living in town. When we moved to the country it just didn't work. Guess I thought about it because it reminded me of a time when life was gentle. There's probably some law against it now. :)

  3. Such a charming custom! We didn't do that, but in grammar school we had the maypole dance in the playground. Funny, I haven't thought about that for years and years. Thanks for the memories! :o)

  4. I have never been involved in a maypole dance, mostly because my overly religious mother considered such things to be pagan and sinful. :) But the May Basket thing was such fun. These days I can't remember what I ate for lunch yesterday, but the childhood memories come flooding back. That irritated me for a while, but now with the world around us in such a state of chaos, I welcome those memories of a more calm, happy time, where maypole dances and May Baskets were common.

  5. Dear Vicki, This is my first visit to your blog, and what a pleasant surprise it has been.
    Yes, I do remember May Baskets and the fun of hanging them on a doorknob, the look of happiness on the faces of the person discovering the basket. In my part of the world at that far away time violets, forsythia, crocus and many other spring flowers were available.
    We also had "Pagan" May poles and practiced not twisting them into chaos.
    Thank you for the memories of a gentler time.

  6. Granny...Thank you for stopping by for a visit and welcome. I have always thought that traditions like May Baskets were such fun. It was all about giving happiness to those around us. Part of the fun was giving something we as children had spent the time and effort to create ourselves. Sadly, that seems to have been lost somewhere along the way. I often long for those more gentle of days.