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pancakes for mom

Mother’s Day and the Mother of Invention

By Lynda Spence, Family & Consumer Sciences Extension Agent at UF/IFAS Extension-Marion County
Reviewed by Martie Gillen, PhD, Department of Family, Youth, and Community Sciences, University of Florida

We all know mothers are the queen of saying “It’s the thought that counts!” How about taking that old adage to heart this Mother’s Day? Given a nudge, you may be surprised by how resourceful you can really be. With a little creativity, you can also save your wallet from being “malled” during the build-up to this holiday. Make this the Mother’s Day you decide to do it your way, not the advertisers’ way.

First, examine your reasons for giving a gift. If your intentions are pure, the goal of the gift is to give pleasure to the person receiving it, not to impress her with how much you spent. Remember, the gift isn’t for you; it is for the recipient. Gifts don’t have to be tangible for them to mean a lot.

With that in mind, here are some meaningful but inexpensive gift ideas to consider.

1. Homemade gift certificates are gifts from the heart.                                                                                            

Consider giving gift certificates for errands, chores, or favors. Whether it’s baby-sitting, odd jobs or a home-cooked meal once a week, your time may be one of the best gifts you’ll ever give. In most cases, the mother will appreciate the thought behind the gift, and not be concerned with the cost of the purchase. Older adults will also enjoy the gesture. Just be sure to follow through! In some cases, your recipient will need a gentle reminder to “redeem.”                                                                                                                                

Dear ________________,

As my gift to you, I will___________________

  • Record your favorite music or movie
  • Do your laundry
  • Teach you how to use the internet
  • Wash your car
  • Prep food—cut/peel fruits and veggies, shell nuts, prepare food for freezer
  • Take you on a country drive
  • Clip coupons
  • Run your errands
  • Clean your cabinets
  • Prepare your favorite dish
  • Read your favorite book to you
  • Mow your lawn
  • Do your ironing
  • Weed your garden
  • Clean your refrigerator
  • Put your photos in albums
  • Remove you from junk mail lists

2. Pass it on.

We all lead busy lives. The gift of talent is invaluable. Do you have a special interest or talent? How about offering a lesson?

Dear ________________,

As my gift to you, I will teach you about___________________

  • Candy making
  • Cake decorating
  • Guitar playing
  • Kite flying
  • How to change your oil or tires
  • Painting
  • Canning
  • Crochet, knitting, sewing
  • Wood working
  • Bread making

3. Re-gifting can be remarkable

Consider giving away the last great book you read. Include a note about what the book meant to you and why you want the recipient to have it. Or what about that painting or vase that Mom has always liked so much? Wouldn’t it give you pleasure to see her enjoying it?

Put a new Mother’s Day gift-giving philosophy into practice this year. It’s guaranteed you’ll talk about it for years to come. Better yet, make it your new Mother’s Day normal.

(Photo credit: Mother’s Day pancakes by Michael Coté. CC BY 2.0, cropped.)