Clothing, candy top Easter shopping lists, but other items included


March 31, 2012 at 4 p.m.
Updated March 30, 2012 at 10:31 p.m.

Between the warming weather and blooming wildflowers, it's apparent that spring has sprung.

But it's not just Mother Nature keeping busy. Wannabe Easter bunnies are also making sure their holiday gear is up to snuff.

Nationwide, people plan to spend an average $145.28 on Easter this year, according to a National Retail Federation news release. That's up 11 percent from last year's $131.04.

Overall spending will reach an estimated $16.8 billion.

While, at $3 billion, clothing and accessories remain one of the season's top sellers, the retail federation said candy follows at more than $2 billion and other things, such as greeting cards, flowers and more also join the ranks.

A few Crossroads retailers offered up other gift suggestions.

Much of what religious bookstores offer year-round works well for Easter gifts, said Rebecca Gaytan, with The King's Courtyard Christian Bookstore.

She suggested decorative crosses for the holiday, noting the symbolism of the cross itself is a good way to remind people what the season is all about.

Other items, such as jewelry and Bibles, also work well.

"If people have a certain gift in mind, stores can always try to get it for them before Easter," she said, noting it takes a bit of advance notice.

Like Gaytan, JoEllen McCoy, assistant manager at About the Gift, said Easter gift items aren't just about the baskets.

About the Gift offers holiday flags and stakes for the garden, she said, and even home decor items with rabbit and duck themes.

At Blessed By the Gift, Bibles were the store's No. 1 suggestion for gifts, said Wanda Williams, the store's co-owner. The store provides free personalization, with the recipient's name printed on the cover.

Williams said other personalized gifts also work well, such as CDs and DVDs with children's names included in them and engraved keychains or bookmarks.

"It gives it a special touch," she said.

At her store, Easter-themed books and stuffed animals are big sellers for small children, while VeggieTales DVDs are popular for the slightly older bunch.

She also suggested Resurrection Eggs, a popular seller each year. The plastic eggs come in a carton, she said, and each one contains an item that helps tell the Easter story.

"It's something they can use year after year," Williams said.

Kathy Hoskins, who owns Sister's Gift Shop in Port Lavaca, suggested the items inside the Easter baskets should be as unique as their recipients.

Themed baskets are a good idea for people with specific interests, she said, noting nautical varieties are one option, while flip-flops and T-shirts work well in summery baskets.

Cookbooks, gourmet coffee, scarves and body lotions are other possibilities.

The key is to think about the person at hand, Hoskins said.

"There are different ways to be creative with it," she said. "Make it fun, but something that's practical, too. You want to include things they'll use."



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