Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Homespun Holidays: Mother's Day

Ah, we all love Mom! She's done so very much for us that we love to express our appreciation. Sometimes, however, Mom is the hardest person to shop for. If your Mom is anything like my Mother-In-Law, her answer to the question 'What would you like?' is usually 'Oh, nothing. I'm just happy with you doing so well!' Don't let that answer fool you, because Mom loves to get pampered and be surprised with gifts. Mother's Day, her birthday, or Christmas, these ideas can help you put together one of the best surprises for Mom this year with no need to go to the store and buy something.

From the Kids

We may remember giving Mom a fistful of dasies from the front yard or covering the refridgerator with artwork in Mom's honor. These time honored gifts of appreciation from children are going to always have a special place in Mom's heart. Sometimes, we want to get children into the spirit of giving Mom a nice surprise but it's hard to pick what the best thing is because of the age of the child in question. Using that fantastic natural creativity and imagination, kids can do some truly amazing things that will be cherished for years.

Babies, Toddlers, and Pre-schoolers

The youngest member of the family doesn't need to be kept out of the fun of surprising Mom. Very young babies lack the motor control and coordination to do any art work, but with a little help a lovely gift can be put together. A dab of non-toxic water washable paint can be spread across the baby's hand (or foot) before being pressed to a sheet of paper. That hand (or foot) print can be framed when dry with a printed poem devoted to the special bond between Mother and baby.

A little creativity can also turn foot prints into butterflies and hand prints into turkeys with a few strokes of the brush or gluing on a few snips of colored paper. This creates a special work of art that not only honors Mom but is a precious keepsake of a fleeting time of life. Older babies (1 to 2 years old) can take more independent action with art supplies. Large crayons and finger paints, when supervised, can provide a great deal of entertainment. With any art activity at this age, it is most likely going to be messy and you need to make sure that the child doesn't ingest their art supplies.

Toddlers and preschoolers (3 - 4 years old) have enough skill to begin making their own artistic masterpeices. This is where a little bit extra effort can make the special gift drawing stand out from the myriad that have taken over the refridgerator. Purchasing an inexpensive picture frame, decorating it, and placing the drawing into the frame elevates that picture out of the pile and into the something special category. Making a batch of salt-dough and baking it to give the sculpture of your budding Michelangelo permanence. Artistic efforts of the littlest ones need not be the only gift available from them. Having the child pick out their favorite picture of themselves with their mother and a frame is also an excellent option.

School Age Children

School age children are generally more independent and self-reliant than their younger counterparts. The benefits of this fact far out weigh the fustrations that come along with this fact, especially in the gift giving department. Take time to talk to your child about the special occasion for Mom, because their ideas may be far better then any of the suggestions here. If you and your child are at a loss for ideas, consider the following:
  • Mommy Time Coupons - Take a stack of 3x5 cards (or colored paper cut to size), colorful markers, a hole punch, and a length of string. Punch several cards and tie together. On each card, write: This card entitles the bearer to ______ minutes of Mommy Time to be used at any time. Fill in on the blank a length of time that seems reasonable. 15 to 30 minutes seems to be popular with the school age children that I know. Mommy Time is a special block of time that Mom can have un-interrupted.
  • Flower Cookies - Using a basic recipe for sugar cookies and a tulip shaped cookie cutter, make a dozen cookies. Frost with brightly colored frosting and wrap with clear plastic wrap. Secure the plastic wrap on the back/unfrosted side of the cookie with a small peice of freezer tape. Tape a popsicle stick to the back of the cookie. Gather the cookie flowers together and place in Mom's favorite coffee cup for presentation.
  • Dinner Delight # 1 - Have the child help in preparing Mom's favorite meal for dinner and setting the table. When the meal is finished, have the child help with clean up. The more effort the child put into helping cook, the less they should do on clean up this way they don't feel like they're getting all of the burden.
  • Dinner Delight # 2 - Have the child help plan and prepare a special dinner for Mom.
  • Special Helper Coupons - Similar to the Mommy Time coupons, the Special Helper coupons are for the child to give Mom the gift of their time and effort. On the coupons write: This card entitles the bearer to 1 Special Helper to be used at any time. Similar coupons can be made for household chores that the child can complete on their own but are not usually part of their assigned tasks.

Teens and Adult Children

Teenagers want to take on the world like the young adults they are. The gifts they give to show their appreciation of Mom should reflect this. While it may not be possible to go out and buy Mom a stunning diamond tennis bracelet, there are plenty of options available. In giving jewlery or any other very personalized gift, like perfume, it is important to keep the tastes of the person recieving the gift in mind. If Mom hates the color yellow with a passion, getting her something that is yellow may not be the best idea. The same holds true for clothing (setting aside the challenge of making sure it's something that would fit right).

A good option is to choose something that reminds the giver of the person who is recieving the gift in a flattering way. It truly is the thought that counts in gift giving, not the price tag. Homemade gifts are almost always near the top of the list of favorite gifts recieved. Consider the many simple and quickly assembled gift ideas available in your home. A special pillowcase with a unique design drawn on to it with fabric marker is just as lovely as a batch of decadent homemade brownies.

Many times, the biggest and best gift that can be given to Mom is a heartfelt letter telling her how much she is loved and how thankful you are for her. It may not be half as fancy as the two dozen roses in a crystal vase or the luxurious weekend away at a stylish spa, but it will be something that she will treasure. Hand delivered or sent by mail, the letter describing your love for Mom and some of your favorite memories featuring her from your childhood will make you a gift giving hero.

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