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    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

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    Ding Dong, It's May

    Time for the May Girls' May Day Baskets

    May denise dd 1962 church

    My sister and I off to church on Easter morning. We were already
    experienced in the May Day Basket project by this age!

    Every year in preparation for the First of May, my sister and I were commandeered by our mother to make May Baskets. With a surname like "May" and two little girls, Mom was not about to let this opportunity for creative expression pass by.

    I don't remember much about the actual basket construction; they may have been put together with paper plates folded into a cone and filled with plastic flowers. It was the '60's! But I DO remember the delivery protocol. Strictest secrecy.

    My sister and I ran from house to house hanging garish handmade baskets on the doorknobs of each of our neighbors on the short little cul-de-sac where we lived in Orange County. Then, with giggles we rang the doorbell and ran away to watch our neighbor's feign surprise at the lovely gift on their front porch.

    Mom, the consummate scout leader and crafter, was in her element refilling our supplies and enjoying the fun.

    I recently came across a box of little baskets leftover from a year when my sons were young and I tried to get them interested in making May Day baskets. They thought the baskets were better used for starting fires and I quickly abandoned the project.

    To all my genealogy blogging friends, Ding Dong HAPPY MAY!

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    Reader Comments (10)

    A nice post about the now rare May Day basket tradition! You and your readers might like the one I posted today on the same subject with a May Day basket note from May 1, 1849. You can see it at Filiopietism Prism ("The Prism") at this direct link

    May 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

    I forgot about this tradition. It was fun. Too bad we still don't do it.

    May 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

    This post made me remember when, as a school girl, we'd make little May baskets out of the half-pint milk cartons we'd get at lunch!

    May 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChristine M.

    I'd forgotten about those milk carton baskets, Christine. Isn't it funny how a little nudge can make the memory come back? Looks like we weren't the only ones making and delivering May Baskets. Thanks for sharing the link to your post about the tradition, John. Great story.

    May 1, 2013 | Registered CommenterFamily Curator

    What a wonderful remembrance of May Day. I also remember decorating the May pole at El Cerrito Elementary School. It really is too bad that this tradition has long passed.

    The thing about traditions is that before they became "traditional" (a long-established custom or practice) they were probably observed sporadically, in pocket areas, and by small groups -- which means if a past tradition has fallen out of favor or waned in acceptance or practice, the trend can be reversed and the tradition brought back and restored! Those with an interest in genealogy and traditions are just the group to do it! In that spirit, I made a May Day basket for my wife today and suggested to my married son that he do so for his wife. BRING BACK THE MAY DAY BASKET ONE BASKET AT A TIME!! ;-) And run slowly so you get caught . . .

    May 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn D. Tew

    John, You are on to something here! I'm posting this link on Facebook, maybe 2014 will be the time for a revival.

    May 1, 2013 | Registered CommenterFamily Curator

    What a sweet tradition! I've never heard of this before.

    May 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJana Last

    What a cheerful photograph! I can't tell if you are the older or the younger sister, but I would guess the older one. Certainly I remember those dresses that my sisters and I also wore--especially the older sister's with the gauzy skirt material (I forget the name--organdy?) and the puff sleeves. Not to mention the patent leather shoes with white cloth socks. Oh my goodness.

    We never had a May Day tradition at our house. I think we missed out.

    Happy May Day, one day late!

    May 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMariann Regan

    Hi Denise,

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a great weekend!

    May 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJana Last

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