What is a May Day basket? Do you remember making or leaving one for neighbors? May Day is barely celebrated anymore. But perhaps it’s time to bring back this beautiful tradition. Leaving flowers for friends and neighbors is an inexpensive way to spread joy. Read on for a few tips and May Basket inspiration.
WHEN IS MAY BASKET DAY
May Basket Day is always May 1. It dates back to the days of the Roman empire. First celebrated as a rite of spring, ancient civilizations marked the day with ceremonies, dances and feasting. By the 19th and 20th centuries, May Day traditions changed to leaving a basket filled with flowers on a front door.
Most often, children were the May Day culprits. They’d fill small baskets with flowers or candies, hang on a front door, ring the doorbell and run. Sometimes baskets were ways of courting and expressing love.
Today, May Day is all but forgotten. But why? Leaving a May Day basket is just what the world needs. A random act of kindness celebrating spring, friendship and giving.
MAY DAY PAPER CONES
Paper cones date back more than 100 years. They were easy and affordable decorations to make out of old newspapers, crepe paper and scrap paper. Often decorated with bits of lace, ribbon and buttons, these charming containers were one-of-a-kind. It’s still a great way to use up fabric, paper and trim scraps!
PAY IT FORWARD: Try making a bunch of these and leave them on doors in a nursing home or hospital. Be sure to ask permission first. This is a fun service project for church groups, 4-H or scout troops.
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- Scrapbook Paper (or any 12 x 12 or larger square piece of paper)
- Paper Doily
- Buttons, lace, stickers (whatever you find)
- Flowers a/o candy
Place the paper in corner down in front of you. Roll a cone starting at one corner. Trim if desired and secure with hot glue. Wrap doily around the outside and glue. Decorate with trims and twine. Punch a hole on each side of the top of the cone and attach ribbon for hanger.
Fill with candy, treats or flowers!
Note: if leaving real flowers, line the cone with a plastic bag.
HOW TO MAKE A MAY DAY BASKET OUT OF SCRAPBOOK PAPER
A fun alternative to a traditional basket, this paper basket is quick to make and budget friendly.
PAY IT FORWARD: This basket is not designed to hang on a door. Make it for co-workers, teachers or emergency services personnel like EMS and police. Leave on desks or tables.
- Heavy paper (12″ x 12″ sq. or larger)
- Ribbon, string or rope
- Candy, treats or flowers
Fold paper into a triangle. Punch 1 hole in the top corner (through both sides). Open the paper with outside pattern down. Punch 1 hole in the middle of each corner without a hole. Pull opposite corners to center and secure with a ribbon through the holes. Add glue for extra reinforcement. Repeat for the other 2 corners. Adjust paper as desired. Fill with candy, treats and flowers.
Note: To reinforce the basket, cut a square piece of cardboard to fit inside bottom. Glue to the middle of the paper before tying up. Use hole reinforcements to keep from tearing.
HOBBY THEME MAY DAY BASKET
Who says you have to leave a basket at a front door? Leave a treat for co-workers, teachers or children anywhere they’ll find it.
PAY IT FORWARD: Do you have a homeless coalition in your town? Make baskets to give out with essentials like bath products, non-perishable snacks and office supplies. But add some treats as well to brighten their day. Everyone loves getting flowers and a piece of candy.
- Bucket or container
- Markers, pens, pencils, art supplies
You can leave the bucket plain but it’s more fun to cover it to match your theme. Glue crayons in layers around the bucket. You could also use pencils, measuring tape or anything to match your theme. Tie a ribbon around the outside. Secure with hot glue. Now it’s time to fill! Art supplies are a fun alternative to candy or flowers. Presentation is key. Arrange the supplies with biggest and tallest items in the back.
WHAT TO PUT IN A MAY DAY BASKET
Traditional May Day baskets held fresh spring flowers or candy. But don’t limit yourself. Use imagination and creativity. Fill baskets with art supplies, gardening tools and seeds, bath and body products, hair accessories, hand-crafted gifts, cooking supplies, tools and more. Show us your baskets in the comments below!
Now all you have to do is ring the door bell and run!
Robin grew up on a farm in the rolling hills of southern Wisconsin. After years living "in town," she recently moved back to the country where she is renovating an old farmhouse. She's an expert on window blinds and drape installations, color consultation and blind repair. Her flagship store, "House to Home Designs" is located on the historic Square, downtown Monroe, Wisconsin. Read More
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