December 19, 2014

Sharing a Blessing: Blessing Basket Tradition

Mar27

I pulled in the drive way and eyed something on the steps.

A bag. A large, heavy grocery bag.

Curiosity peaked, I hauled it inside the house and peered inside.

Goodies and groceries, soup cans and staples.

I opened up the enclosed envelope and a gift card to our local grocer floated to the table. I searched to see who sent this generous gift, but the card had no signature.

Anonymous.

A bag of blessings freely given with no expectation of anything in return.

May Day Basket - give to friends and neighbors anonymously

Tears rolled down my face as a steady stream of emotions washed over me.  From despair and embarrassment to pure unadulterated relief and gratitude, I knew that  during our time of great need, the Lord met us through someone tangibly living out, “It is better to give than to receive.”

That first period of unemployment took place over ten years ago, and that gift of anonymity cemented a critical life lesson in my memory.

I’m sharing the rest of that story, its impact on our family, as well as our first experience of giving Blessings Baskets, over at (in)courage today.

Join me over there for the background, but stay here for the craft inspiration.

Spurred from the tradition of old, May Day Baskets are such a special way of sharing encouragement to those around you.

There are varying historical renditions based on which part of the world one lives in, but I enjoy the sweet and innocent past time that is shared in The American Girls Handy Book (a reprint of a book published in 1887). I bought this book for our girls years ago and it whisks me back in time to an innocent era when amusement was simple.

It mentioned that May Day Baskets were “a very pretty custom observed in Merrie England of fastening bunches of flowering shrubs and branches upon the doors of neighbors.” The author writes how those in New England hang the May Baskets upon the door-knobs of friends spring-offerings in the shape of small baskets filled with flowers. They would hang them and flee.

When I was a child, we called this game “Ding, Dong, Ditch,”  but we didn’t leave something special.

Am I aging myself?

(Holiday Handcrafts from 1938)

When we began this tradition with our “Good Lawn Guy,” I called them “Blessing Baskets.” I wanted our children to know the importance of blessings others and giving generously without expecting anything in return. That’s what I love about the anonymity of this special tradition. It allows us to understand a true heart of generosity.

beautiful crafted example by the Field Journal

While traditionally, May Day Baskets carried flowers, our first Blessing Basket didn’t even contain one flower. It was just stuffed with notes, candy and varying treasures the kids choose to share.

Use recycled cans to share May Day basket greetings. Great ideas

You can make them cone shaped or use recycled cans and decorative tape like those at Uncommon Goods. 

This is not about waiting until your gift is pinterest perfect.  It’s about the heart attitude behind it. For me, it’s about putting the procrastination aside, being intentional and proactively putting time aside to bless others no matter what the crafting project.

Isn’t this simply stunning? ElsieAStyle has put so much elegance into her creations.

May Day Basket created in a very elegant style

There are so many creative and inspiring ways to put your own personal twist on these Blessings Baskets, but there is no need to over think it.

Please feel free to print off my simple blessings basket template which I used above.

It says,  “Thank You for Being a blessing,” or you may print one that states, “Thank you for being super special.” :)

It’s nothing fancy, but it has brightened people’s days for years.

Once printed, just cut along the line, and either use it as a template for thicker card stock or fabric.  Form the shape into a cone, and glue, tape or stitch with ribbon along the edge, add a handle, fill it with your favorite goodies and share with others. You can make one in less than five minutes, yet bring years of lasting memories.

Have you ever heard of May Day Baskets or been blessed by something anonymously?


Comments

  1. I’ve never heard of them being called Blessing Baskets before. I like that :)

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  2. {Melinda} This brings back such good memories! When I was a little girl, my mom would help my sister and I make May baskets and it was such fun to take them to the neighbors’ houses, ring the doorbell and run, giggling! :)

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  3. elsie a style says:

    Understanding and sharing the message that simple gifts bring great joy.
    Thank you for including my work in this very lovely post. Best, Laurie

    [Reply]

  4. elsie a style says:

    oops!
    Didn’t finish my statement…
    Sharing this message is a gift in itself.

    [Reply]

  5. We moved to Texas a few months ago. On May Day we gave May Day baskets (nothing as elaborate as yours) to women my 7 year old has grown to love. Today at church, we were discussing her gift and none of the ladies- most grandmothers, had not heard of
    May Baskets. Is this regional ?

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    Jen Reply:

    That is a good question. I wonder if it is. I will be asking around now and find out. :)

    [Reply]

  6. Lovely! I’ve been looking for something even I can do! I’m great with paper projects so this is perfect! Thank you so much for sharing. :)

    [Reply]

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