Throw Back Thursday: 4 ways to Celebrate May 1st

May Day Girl's night, 2009
May Day Girl’s night, 2009 (what is happening with my face?)

A little Throw-back Thursday: I posted this bit about May Day last year, but it’s worth another read. Enjoy!

May Day is quite possibly my favorite holiday of the year. I have to thank my neighbors for sparking this excitement in high school. After moving into the neighborhood, we didn’t know many people well. But one special day, the 1st of May, we received a sweet small basket of flowers and candy on our front porch. Eventually, we figured out who gave it to us, and I have kept the favor going ever since.

Today, I want to share my favorite traditions for the holiday. Some are old and founded somewhere in Europe, others are my own yearly habits that everyone can enjoy.

IMG_2851Delightful Ding-Dong-ditch: Prank your neighbors with kindness. Drop off a beautiful basket to brighten their day. Just remember to catch them before they leave for work/school, or the goodies might freeze/go bad. If you plan to give home-baked goods, you may want to break the tradition of being anonymous; let your neighbors know you aren’t a creeper.

Lei Day!!! Hawaiians have their own tradition for May 1st: put leis on everything! I plan to join them this year, and I hope to pass on a few leis to friends (and perhaps their cars) throughout the day. My game will be simple: if I give you a lei, you can either wear it for Lei Day, or pass it on to someone else for the same reason.

Leaving a basket for your beau: The morning of May 1st, drop off a basket at your boyfriend/fiance’s front door. Traditionally, if the gentleman catches the lady, he is rewarded with a kiss. Now what girl isn’t loving this opportunity to flirt so openly but still play hard to get?

IMG_2846I go into full stealth mode for May Day with Shane. The first year I gave him a basket, he didn’t have a clue what was going on. The next year, he just wasn’t fast enough to catch me. He enjoyed lemon-snowflake cookies for breakfast, and I escaped without a kiss. He definitely made up for it later, and every May Day since.

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The baskets prepped and ready

Girl’s Night In: Host a girl’s night to prep baskets the day before May Day. (Or you can do this as a family with your kids. May Day is a great opportunity to teach them the joy of self-less giving, with no expectations of return.)

Ask each friend to bring a dozen of one item to contribute. You can collaborate the loot, swap, and share when you make the baskets. Here are some suggestions:IMG_2847

  • Flowers/Pinwheels
  • Vases (or empty bottles)
  • Bottled Soda
  • Cookies or scones
  • Fruit
  • Candy
  • Gardening Seeds
  • Tea bags
  • Baskets (check the Dollar Tree!)
  • Note Cards
  • Leis (for Lei Day!)

Be unique: 

  • Make your own basket!
  • Make “flowers” out of candy, tea bags, or gardening seed packets.
  • Give a box of bottled soda: empty one soda bottle to use as a vase for flowers. (Thanks to my former neighbors for this idea!)
  • Paint an inspirational quote on a small canvas.
  • Share the greatest gift of all: include a small Bible or devotional book. IMG_2844

Know your neighbor? Give something more unique and personal.

  • If you are May Day-ing your room-mate, include a cute pair of flip flops or slippers in her size.
  • Know a house full of girls? Use nail polish and foot massaging cream.
  • Ding-Dong-ditching some guy friends? Make a bacon basket. Include jerky. Make it manly.
  • Giving some love to neighbors with little kids? Include juice boxes, bubbles, play-doh, or crayons.

IMG_2848Don’t just give a basket to people you know. Share the love with new neighbors, your mailman/woman, or people in a completely different neighborhood (perhaps a low-income neighborhood nearby.) Even a homeless man on the street could use a basket of cheer.

Keep a few extra baskets with you throughout the day. Pray about who God would want you to bless and expect a joyful encounter.IMG_2842

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  • Marlene Stratton

    Hi Becky, this is so sweet! When we were kids (many long moons ago!) we used to pick Mayflowers and put them in baskets we made ourselves, and take them to neighbors (knock, leave the basket & run!) It was a fun tradition. Thanks for reminding me! Marlene