Have you ever heard of May Day? It’s celebrated a lot of places, but I think in the USA it’s somewhat of a dying tradition. I celebrated a few times growing up and now that my girls are 4 and almost 2, and we have spent the last few years actively trying to build relationships with our neighbors, I figured this year would be the perfect time to start and continue the tradition with them.
If you don’t already know, May Day was on May 1, 2019. It is nothing fancy, but a day to drop baskets (or bags!) of flowers or goodies (or just a card, that’s fine too!) on the front doorknob of a friend or neighbor for no reason other than to say hello! You can celebrate however you want to: flower crowns, poles, festivals, baskets. I remember in elementary school my friend and I filled up baskets of flowers, cookies, and a card with her sister and took them to neighbor’s houses, placed it on the front stoop, and rang the doorbell. Before they answered, we would all run away to hide in a bush and giggle—and it’s so much fun because it’s not teasing, it’s leaving someone an unexpected gift! How much does our world need these random acts of kindness right now?!
When I was little, my neighborhood playground even had a festival and we all wore pretty dresses and danced with ribbons around a May Pole, and now I’m finding myself wondering how I can get one for my neighborhood next year…
May Day may be passed by the time you read this, but doing genuinely nice things for your neighbors is never frowned upon, so feel free to do it late, or just bookmark this for April 30 next year! I found tons of super cute ideas on Pinterest and Instagram but we didn’t have time to execute with that much precision, so instead I went to the Dollar Tree down the street.
Our May Day bags included:
-a small brown paper gift bag with tissue paper or Easter grass, on which I doodled “Happy May Day, neighbor!”
-a small spring sign, “bloom where you are planted” or something similar
-a hand-written card saying hello and briefly explaining the tradition (and thanking them for letting us celebrate with them), which my kids could sign
-a small scented candle
-small plants, either lavender or succulents, or a small bag of seeds for planting
-sidewalk chalk, or some other toy/trinket (particularly if we knew there were kids in the house)
They don’t have to be elaborate; it’s the thought that counts! Lots of people just roll up newspaper or doilies into cone shapes with a string to hang on a doorknob and then fill it with flowers. They’re so fun to make, and you don’t have to make a ton! We only made 5 this year, and we only did the 5 houses we could easily and safely walk to, considering the ages of my little ones.
Next year, with a little more planning, and since my kids will be 5 and 3, I think we can have a lot more fun getting them involved in picking out and stuffing the bags/baskets. It was such a practical way for me to show my kids how we can go out of our way for those around us for no reason other than to show them kindness. Claire this year asked me why our neighbors that we don’t know needed presents, was it their birthday? What a neat opportunity it was for us to show her that we can take things we like to our neighbors who are our friends, but we can also take things to people who aren’t (yet!) our friends, too. Her favorite part was definitely hanging them on the doorknobs, ringing the bell or knocking, and trying to run away as quickly as possible! Only one neighbor caught us — and we got to say, “Happy May Day, Neighbor!”
Did you celebrate? What did you do for your neighbors? Better yet, did anyone give you a May Day gift? Share in the comments!