I moved to Boston in 1994 (yikers!) fresh out of Iowa State and I was an anomaly within my firm. I worked within an interior architectural firm where nearly everyone was from New England. They for the life of them could not remember where I was from. At one point I photocopied a map of the United States and x-ed through Idaho, Ohio, Illinois and Indiana with a big circle around Iowa with arrows pointing to it and I posted it over the photocopier. Not only was I strange for being from anywhere but the Northeast, I also brought with me traditions that they shook their head at! One of which was celebrating May Day!
Growing up in Northwest Iowa we always celebrated May Day (May 1st) with cups (baskets) of candy mixed with popcorn and you would leave them on the front step of your friends and either ring the doorbell or not, but you would get out of there before anyone saw you so that it was an anonymous gift. It was such a fun treat and was very low tech, low maintenance. So on my first May Day I brought everyone in the office ziplocks of buttered popcorn with M&Ms–the salty and sweet combination can never be beat.
They were accepted with mixed replies like, “What are you a Communist?” (apparently Communists celebrate May Day) To my reply, “Um, no, I’m from Iowa!” I was crazy green and had no idea what they were talking about! Needless to say, the popcorn and M&Ms won them over and they were sought after every May 1st for all 10 years that I worked there!
Fast forward a year or a bjillion, and no one celebrates May Day anymore (especially here) and it’s my personal mission to see a resurgence! So last year the boys and I put our heads together and decided that even though we might be thought as crazy, we were going to deliver May baskets.
First we had to find our “baskets”. I went looking at Target and tried to look at everything with a fresh eye as to what could be used as a receptacle. We always used Solo cups growing up, but I also found fun party hats and printed hot cups. We decided to move forward with the party hats!
We decided to treat the teachers as well. So we found colored mason jars and mini pinwheels that would hold flowers and we delivered them before school on the 1st.
They were a big hit and Zain was so proud to bring them in.
For the ones for the boys to deliver to their friends, we made a gluten free version of our White Chocolate Party Mix, which is like crack with gluten free pretzels, cereal and bunnies along with the M&Ms. We typically leave out the nuts. We filled the baskets, added a sticker wishing them a Happy May Day and it said who it was from. In the middle of nowhere Iowa you can leave something on someone’s doorstep and not think twice about it. Here…not so much!
We still just hung them on the front doors, or at the garage. Wherever we knew they would find it when they came home and then took off! We also tried our hand at some May pole cupcakes. One tradition of May Day (way back when) was to wrap the May pole with ribbons. So for these, we added flower sprinkles a striped paper straw and then tied it with a bow to appear like a May pole.
A great way to wrap up cupcakes as a gift is to put them into a clear cup and then wrap in cello.
You still have time before May Day, so won’t you try it? Deliver a couple, it’s so much fun! Help us bring back May Day!! #bringbackmayday