Ding & Dash – The Tradition of May Day

Ding Dong.  

The doorbell at your home rings but when you go to answer it, there’s no one at the door.  Then you look down and you see some little May Day baskets of goodies sitting there.  

Surprise! Happy May Day! 

This ‘ding & dash’ tradition occurs on May 1st, also known as May Day. Children, and adults too, enjoy putting together adorable May Day baskets and delivering them to neighbors, friends, and family. They sneak up to the front door with their May Day basket, ring the doorbell, and run away before they are seen – leaving their basket of goodies behind other to find and enjoy.

If you’re familiar with this tradition you know the excitement that comes with it. But if you’ve never heard of May Day, or if you have never participated, I definitely recommend giving it a try! Especially if you have kids.  

May 1st actually marks the halfway point between Spring and Summer, which is always something to celebrate. Plus, watching kids ring a doorbell and run away at high speed trying not to get caught while laughing and giggling the entire time is fun for everyone!

Deciding what to put in your May Day baskets and assembling them can be just as much fun as delivering them. You can be as creative or as simple as you want! Allow your children to help with this process and hear what ideas they might have. It could truly be a  family friendly activity in which everyone could be involved.

May Day baskets

Here is a list of ideas for a fun and exciting May Day.

Ideas for the Baskets:
  • colored plastic cups 
  • white Styrofoam cups
  • mini gift bags
  • white paper bags
  • brown paper bags
  • toy sand bucket
  • pipe cleaners (for a handle – if needed)
  • yarn or string (for a handle – if needed)
Ideas for Inside the Baskets:
  • popcorn
  • M&Ms
  • skittles
  • starburst candy
  • jelly beans
  • laffy taffy
  • juice boxes
  • gummy bears
  • gummy worms
  • stickers
  • bubbles
  • pixie stix
  • crazy straws
  • suckers

In addition to this, I do have to add that not all May Day baskets have to be kid-friendly.  Sometimes it’s even fun for the adults to get involved (other than helping our children put theirs together, of course) and make their own! I’ve received May Day baskets that have included some of the following items and I was just as excited as my kids when I found it at my doorstep.  

Ideas for Adult May Day Baskets
  • an adult beverage (mini liquor bottles, wine, hard seltzer, beer, etc.)
  • a mixer (pop, juice, ginger ale, etc.)
  • scratch-off tickets
  • face mask
  • trail mix
  • seeds (for planting – flowers or vegetable)
  • hand soap
  • nail polish
  • Chapstick

Whether or not you decide to participate this year in the tradition of May Day remember one thing; a small gesture such as a quick ‘ding & dash’ could really bring a smile to someone’s face.

Does your family participate in the May Day fun and if so, at what age did you start getting your children involved with ‘dinging & dashing?’  What are some of your favorite items to include in your May Day baskets?   


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Ashley is a ‘small town’ girl who moved to the ‘big city’ of Cedar Rapids after high school. A graduate of Coe College, Ashley is currently a kindergarten teacher and a true lover of yoga pants, cozy sweatshirts, chai tea lattes and cookie dough. Ashley and her husband, Mitch, first met each other back in middle school, dated when they were freshmen in high school, then reconnected one final time via Facebook back in 2006 shortly after Mitch returned from his first deployment. They've stood by their vows of ‘for better or worse,’ and as they approach their 10 year wedding anniversary, they aren’t afraid to admit that marriage isn’t easy. They welcomed their first child, Stella Grace Bass, in May of 2013 and their second child, Archer Mitchell Bass, in December of 2017!

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