Sunday, May 11, 2008

Last Minute, Free or Cheap, Creative Mother's Day Gifts

This year has been so in flux, that I haven't much thought about mother's day. Not for myself as a mom, and not for my mother, either.

But here I am on Mother's Day, with an unexpected day off from my brand new job, and I am wondering again, what are the ways I can celebrate my mother... or for that matter, what are the things I would like to have for myself that aren't about buying something or planning for it way back in January?

  • Pick a bouquet of wildflowers. (Please stay out of the neighbors' gardens.)
  • Take mom for a sunset picnic, weather permitting, or if a full meal is not in the cards, how about sunset tea and cake al fresco. Or if it's cold and wet, spread a blanket on the living room floor and make it an indoor picnic.
  • A List Poem about mom. There is no need to have flowery language or perfect grammar here. Just write up a list of the little things that make up who your mom is to you. Tell the concrete details that you come back to you when you close your eyes. The smells, the things she always wore or kept near her, the things she did that made you feel special, the sound of her laughter, her habitual sayings. Start listing. When it feels right, stop. Write it on a nice peace of paper, maybe with a pretty sticker or sketch to go with it, and there you are.
  • If the mom is the mom of young babies who can't quite make something, how about a simple hand print or foot print.
  • A cake, home made. I think we under appreciate the value of pastry made from scratch. It's not how fancy it's decorated, it's the effort and intention that goes in to making a treat.
  • How about cleaning the house top to bottom. I can't even imagine how excited that would make me.
  • Time off. An afternoon, a day, a week... whatever fits into your life. Give mom a break from the duties of being a mom. From being the primary care giver, house cleaner, cook, chauffer, grocery shopper, etc. Give her the time to focus on her own self.
  • If you want to, create the classic coupon gift book of services. Anything from the above housekeeping kind of services to kisses and hugs and back rubs. It depends on what the Mom in question likes, and can be totally personalized to her.
  • Or how about time. Give your mom time. Do you live far away? Schedule phonecalls on a regular basis. Do you live near? How about a weekly date with your mom for an activity of her choice.
  • Don't forget the good old home made card. If you earnestly put your heart into it, make it something she would love, write about your true feelings and gratitude, decorate it with images that are meaningful, this could become a keepsake, not just another Hallmark to get stuffed into the box in the back closet.
  • A collage of images. It could be one totally dedicated to her life, or your memories of her as your mom, or even of yourself, if she is distant and you want to share your life with her. Don't use valuable or irreplaceable original photos, you wouldn't want to ruin them. But you can easily color photocopy a whole page full and use those in your collage. Use paints and images and rubber stamps to fill the page. Write about the images, or tell stories.
  • Take out your camera, digital and/or film, and do a photoshoot of the family. Have everyone dress up and find a picturesque spot, and just take pictures of everything, both posed shots and live candids.
  • How silly is your mom? Would she enjoy it if you made her a princess crown out of tin foil and cardboard and a wand from a stick and Christmas tinsel? You could paint a sash with the words "World's Best Mom" or "Momzilla Princess" or "Our Sweetheart" depending on the personality of all involved. Drape her favorite chair with a pretty scarf and make it her throne from which to direct the evening-- her choice. A good tearjerker DVD. A family game of Monopoly. A Disco Dance Party. Or maybe kids and dad go out and leave the house to Mom, peacefully, quietly.

There are so many things you could do for your mother. All you have to do is think about who she is and what she likes. It really is the thought that counts, even if you don't have the money for a diamond tennis bracelet or the time for building her that backyard art studio.

Show her that you love her and want her to be happy, and that you are paying attention to who she is. I think that would make any mother happy.

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