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May Day Baskets, A Favorite Childhood Tradition

May Day Traditions Vintage Hankie

I spent some of my early grade school years growing up in Lincoln, Nebraska. One of my fondest memories of those years was the annual tradition of making May Day baskets for our friends and neighbors. The traditions of celebrating the coming of Spring is found in areas all over the world. The actual practice of making baskets and sharing them with others started in the late 1800’s.

I grew up in a household of six kids, where my mom always fostered our creativity as well as our doing kind things for the people around us. Making May Day Baskets fit in with both of these family values.

This was always done using items we had around the house, creating a small container that would hold the fresh spring flowers we picked around our house, maybe even drifting over to the neighbors to find something in their gardens. I remember using the bottom of milk cartons or cans, construction paper, tissue paper and paper doilies to make our sweet creations. We would share them with friends, but also with the elderly neighbors that lived near next door.

It has been many years since I celebrated this bygone custom. But this year I plan to revive it and share some baskets with my loved ones. There are lots of ideas on Pinterest! If you look around, you might find the supplies right at home.

I am using some of my vintage hankies and embroidered napkins wrapped around some baby jars.

Here in Colorado, there are not too many things blooming in my garden yet so I will be filling it in with all the greenery such as my plentiful mint! Scraps of ribbons and lace trim will complete the look. You can also add treats like candy or cookies!

This vintage illustration shows a basket made from a paper plate and ribbon!

If you would like more historical information about the May Day basket tradition, NPR did a wonderful report three years ago that I found very informative. You can find it here:

Did you ever celebrate with spring baskets on May Day? What are your traditions? I would love to hear your stories. Please leave a comment if you would like to share!

DIY May Day Basket Vintage Napkin


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