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Filling Easter Baskets

Filling Easter Baskets
Easter baskets have been around for as long as there have been eggs to fill them. Lucky for us, today sweet treats and other diminutive gifts join colorfully dyed eggs (or chocolate ones) in these charming holiday tokens. Its easy to create your own unique Easter basket. All you need are a few well-chosen treats and a bit of imagination.

Any container works as a basket, though one with a handle makes it easier to carry when embarking on an Easter egg hunt. Line the basket with shredded "grass" cellophane or with fresh grass clipped from your lawn or purchased at a nursery. Other live linings include creeping ivy or thyme or sphagnum moss (dont forget to soak it in water first). Combine different plants for a lovely layering of hues and textures. When using fresh grass or plants, first line your basket with plastic to protect it from water and dirt. If the basket is deep, crumple tissue paper in the bottom before adding grass or other lining.

Now for the treats! Choose sweets that include a variety of sizes and shapes, with a larger item, such as a chocolate bunny or a sugared panoramic egg, as the focal point. Place the taller treats in the basket first, leaning them against the handle if they need support. Next, arrange the smaller treats, and finish by scattering jelly beans, foil-wrapped chocolate eggs or other small candies around the interior of the basket. Home-baked cookies and individual egg-shaped cakes are lovely additions, as well.

For a finishing touch, wrap the handle in ribbon or ivy, or insert a few spring blooms, such as daffodils or tulips, into water-filled glass vials and tuck them around the perimeter of the basket. Add a bow and a card, if you wish.