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13 Ways to Celebrate Your Mom on This Very Unusual Mother's Day

Holidays Family Travel
by Noelle Alejandra Salmi May 4, 2020

Many of the usual ways to celebrate Mother’s Day are not an option this year. With restaurants closed, you can’t take her out to brunch. Depending on the state you live in, florists may or may not be open. And even Amazon is plagued with delays. How, then, can you communicate how much you love and appreciate your dear mom or grandmother? We have some ideas.

1. Give her a restaurant gift certificate.

We all need something to look forward to in these crazy times, and there’s hardly a better thing to look forward to than one of the pleasures we once took for granted: a nice meal out together. So buy a gift certificate to one of your mom’s favorite restaurants and tell her you’ll be having that Mother’s Day brunch, or dinner, a few weeks (or months) late this year. You can even suggest the menu items that each of you will order when you do go out.

2. Savor the same meal.

When we spoke with families who live far apart, they told us that cooking and eating the same meal is a bonding experience — even if distant time zones mean they eat at different times. Now you don’t necessarily want your mom to cook an extravagant meal on her special day, whether she’s living on her own or with her partner. But maybe you all just eat spaghetti on Sunday and have a video chat to commemorate it.

3. Splurge on a spa certificate.

Mother’s Day is often about pampering. Maybe your mom won’t be ready for a facial when spas open up again, but she might like a nice pedicure. If there is no expiration date on the gift certificate, she will really be able to use that gift certificate in confidence in the future. Just deciding whether she’ll go for a deep tissue massage or a brown sugar scrub is sure to make her feel good.

4. Make a video for her.

Person on laptop

Photo: fizkes/Shutterstock

If you have siblings, you can coordinate to have each family member record a special message about why they love your mother, and put it all together in a video. If you or any of your siblings have kids, have the little ones say something for the video as well. If you’re an only child, you could make a video with a short introduction by you, followed by a slideshow set to music of photographs of memories you shared with your mom. Whether a group effort or a solo labor of love, the resulting product is sure to be cherished.

5. Jump on a family group video call.

If your mom hasn’t Zoomed yet, Mother’s Day is the day to gather with your siblings and get on a Zoom call with her. Take the time beforehand to patiently walk her through the process of downloading the app and getting signed up. If Zoom is still too complex for your mom, but you all have iPhones, there’s an even easier solution. Just create a text group with whoever will be on the call, and then click on “FaceTime video.” All mom has to do is answer her phone.

6. Set up a Zoom call with her friends.

The most elderly among us are suffering the most during this pandemic. Not only are they at greatest risk from the coronavirus, but they’ve had to socially isolate more intensely than others. That level of distancing can have negative emotional and cognitive consequences for seniors. Do your grandma or older mom a favor and set up a Zoom call with her friends. This may take some time and patience on your part, especially if none of them have done a group video call before. Once you make it happen, though, the effort will be seriously appreciated.

7. Do some gardening.

Person with flowers

Photo: Tyler Olson/Shutterstock

If your mom has a yard and she feels comfortable with it, you can bring over some seeds or starter herbs to plant or just offer to do some weeding for her. Just be sure to stay six feet apart and work on a different part of the garden. You’ll have the joy of speaking in person and sharing an activity together. If there’s not enough space for you both to stay apart, you could just drop off some flower pots with seeds or starters already in them and give your mom instructions on taking care of them. Whether you brought them to her or you planted them together, your mom will think of you every time she cuts a sprig of thyme or admires the new daffodils.

8. Send her music.

If your mom is tech savvy enough to listen to, say, Apple Music or Spotify, then share a playlist with ‘70s disco, ‘80s tunes, or whatever it is she likes to listen to. If she doesn’t listen to Apple Music and doesn’t have a Spotify account, you could even send her a YouTube playlist. At a time when we’re all a bit stressed, music is a definite mood booster.

9. Send her drawings or an actual letter.

If you have kids, have them draw a card for their grandma. You can email a photo of the cards or send them in the mail. Even if you don’t have kids, consider taking the time to send an actual letter. Whether your mom is 50 or 80, and obviously anywhere in between, she remembers a time when people sent handwritten letters to those they cared about.

10. Make a donation in her name.

With Amazon deliveries delayed, and the risks of deliveries themselves to older recipients, you could bypass the whole process and make a gift in your mom’s name instead. If your mom loves animals, donate to a wildlife conservancy affected by the pandemic. If she’s concerned about people who’ve been economically hurt by the lockdown regulations, donate to a food bank. Ask her what charities she likes to support, and then make that donation.

11. Bake something delicious.


Photo: Suheil Kapadia/Shutterstock

If you can’t have a meal with your mom, but you live in the same area, you can still drop off something she’ll enjoy eating. If you’ve been on the same bread baking spree as the rest of the world, how about dropping off a fresh loaf of your walnut wheat or rosemary rye? If the whole bread baking thing is not your jam, you can keep it simple and bring her some home-baked cookies.

12. Make her a recipe book.

If your mom is one of those mothers who likes cookbooks, then she will love a personalized one. If you’ve been on a cooking spree while you shelter in place, we hope you’ve taken some photos of your creations. Even if you haven’t, you should still consider putting together a homemade cookbook of your creations. You can even get it bound into a regular photo book with a service like Mimeo or Shutterfly and have it sent directly to her at a later date.

13. Take her outside, if you can — and maybe not on Mother’s Day.

We think spending time outside is a great way to celebrate your mom. You could just hang out in her yard, if she has one. Another option would be a socially distanced walk in the woods that you both drive to separately. Just know that on Mother’s Day itself, beaches or parks that are open may be too crowded for comfort. So consider Saturday or, better yet, Monday, and explain to your mom why you’ve chosen a less busy day to get outdoors. Remember the placement of the day itself is arbitrary, and what really matters is dedicating time to remind your mother how much you care.

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