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5 Sites for Giving Mom a Gift From the Heart

May 04, 2010
by Colleen Brondou
When you were a child, you might have given your mom some handpicked flowers and a homemade card for Mother’s Day. Guess what? That’s probably just the sort of thing she’d like to get again this year.

The Birth of Mother’s Day

With the news full of headlines on the ailing economy, many are trying to stick to a budget and avoid needless consumption, even on Mother’s Day. This type of thinking is exactly in line with what the founder of Mother’s Day, Anna Jarvis, intended. When Jarvis conceived of Mother’s Day in the early 1900s, she wanted to honor mothers with a simple white carnation (to her, a symbol of purity) and a handwritten letter. She never meant the day to become an opportunity for greeting card companies, florists, restaurants and candy manufacturers to reap profits.

So why not celebrate Mother’s Day as it was intended: simply, purely, thoughtfully?

Write Mom a Letter

The most inexpensive option also happens to be one of the most thoughtful (and the most true to Jarvis’ original concept): a heartfelt letter.

It’s probably been a very long time since most of us have sat down, put pen to paper and written a letter. If you’re feeling a bit rusty about how to begin, try Associated Content’s article, “Give Your Mother a Precious Gift for Mother’s Day—Write Her a Letter!” “People have saved letters from loved ones for centuries,” the article points out, making them especially valuable mementos. Think you can’t write? You don’t have to be a good writer to write a thoughtful letter. Think you don’t know what to say? The article offers a list of helpful questions to get you started on your letter-writing journey.

Need further inspiration? The Guardian issued a call for “letters to your mothers, living or dead, loved or loathed” to commemorate Mother’s Day in 2008. The letters present a wide variety of voices sharing personal revelations, fond (and painful) memories and simple expressions of gratitude and love. “Dear Mum, thanks for making me wear your knickers after I fell into the lake and nearly drowned on my seventh birthday,” reads one from a young man. “In spite of differences and huge exasperations, we love each other dearly. I am so lucky to have had you as my mother,” reads another. The letters can help you focus on your own mother, and put you in a letter-writing frame of mind.

Make a Donation in Mom’s Name

Show mom that she raised you right: make a donation in your mother’s name to a cause that supports mothers or women, or to a cause that is dear to your mom’s heart. CharityChoice offers what it calls the “original 100% tax deductible gifts, where you are the donor and your recipient chooses the charity.” Purchase a charity gift card with the design and amount you want (they start at $5) and send it off to mom. Mom can redeem her card at CharityChoice by choosing up to three charities from the site’s list of more than 100 charitable causes.

Prepare a Mother’s Day Feast

Sharing a meal with those we love is one of the simple pleasures of life and is all the more enjoyable on special occasions. Whether you want to treat mom to breakfast in bed, a classic Mother’s Day brunch in your dining room or a casual picnic that takes advantage of mild spring weather, Epicurious has you covered. The site’s picnic suggestions include recipes and video how-tos for a menu complete with fried chicken, cucumber-dill soup and lemon-poppy seed bars. You’ll also find homemade, no-cost Mother’s Day gift ideas for kids of all ages.

Share Something Special With Mom

Legacy Project, a “multigenerational education project,” has a thoughtful article on Mother’s Day gift ideas that are “meaningful and memorable.” The article says that what really makes mothers feel special “are the spontaneous moments when uncoaxed, unrehearsed, personal affection bursts forth.” Isn’t that what makes us all feel special? Look for ideas on replacing the usual gifts with items that will make a lasting impression on your mom: a memory jar instead of candy; a photo bouquet instead of flowers; quality time in the kitchen together instead of dinner out on the town. You’ll also find a long list of ideas appropriate for children, and plenty of ways to start new Mother’s Day traditions in your family.

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