I Got It for My Mama: How to Find the Best (Most Meaningful) Mother’s Day Gift
A New Approach to Thinking About Mother's Day Gifts
Mother’s Day, a day to acknowledge the special mothers in our lives and remind them how much they are loved and appreciated.
I skim through online articles, all claiming to know the best Mother’s Day gift, but most of the ideas are boring or typical, until I stumble upon Vogue’s 47 of the Best Mother’s Day Gifts To Give Mom This Year. The cover photo is Kim Kardashian, elegant and nonchalant as her kids drive miniature Bentleys around the kitchen. The list has suggestions ranging from a candle that costs over $70, to Swarovski crystal slides, to a $5,000 Chanel handbag. A $5,000 handbag is not within my Mother's Day budget. I could purchase the $74 candle, but that seems absurd. And what message is this photo supposed to convey about Motherhood?
I close my browser in frustration. There must be a better approach to the way we think about gifts. Mother's Day is not about giving the most expensive gift or making ourselves feel good, it is about giving a gift that will make the moms in our lives feel loved and appreciated.
We need to change the way we think about giving gifts by shifting our intentions from picking out the best gift to choosing the most meaningful gift.
Follow these three simple steps to find the best most meaningful gift for the mama in your life.
Step One: Focus on Your Mama
Start by thinking about the mother that you would like to celebrate on Mother’s Day. Put your own feelings and desires aside and think about what she enjoys doing, what is important to her, and what makes her feel loved (hint: the 5 Love Languages). Thinking about these questions places the focus on her and not the gift.
This is the most important step, so take as much time as you need to think about it. As you are thinking, write down your ideas or keep them in mind, because you will need them for step two.
This is also a good time to consider any subtle clues. For example, is there a project that she has been trying to finish, has she mentioned that she would enjoy folding laundry more if she could watch TV at the same time, or has she had her eye on a new pair of earrings. These hints can make great surprise gifts, especially if she thinks that you have not noticed.
In my own example, I have noted that my mom feels loved when we spend time together. She also loves chocolate and enjoys gardening. I am going to keep these things in mind as I move onto step two.
Step 2: Brainstorm for Your Mama
In step one, we thought about what our mother enjoys, what is important to her, and what makes her feel loved. In step two, we will use these thoughts to brainstorm gift ideas. There are many ways to do this, but I am going to give you two examples of how I like to brainstorm.
If you have thought of a “subtle clue”, then use your brainstorming session to enhance and refine your idea.
In step one, I gave the example of an unfinished project, being able to watch TV while folding laundry, and a pair of earrings.
There are several ways to help with an unfinished project and this is where both step one and step two come into play. Some people like to finish a project themselves, while others may not mind if someone finishes it for them. It is important to think about which she prefers and to plan accordingly. This may mean taking the kids out for the day, so she has adequate time to complete the project or letting her know that you would like to help her finish the project.
In my other examples, you could purchase a TV and hang it in the laundry room or buy the earrings sitting in her online cart.
The key things to think about is whether she will feel loved by this action and if you have the capability to accomplish it. Can you finish the project by yourself? Will you need to watch "how to" videos on YouTube? Do you have the money for the TV? Can you hang it or will you need help? Does she really want those earrings or is there a reason that they are still in her online cart?
It is especially important when brainstorming a “subtle clue” to make sure that you have thought through the details and that you remain focused on her.
In my second example, I am going to use the 5 love languages: physical touch, acts of service, quality time, words of affirmation, and receiving gifts.
Due to the current pandemic, this may be the most difficult gift to give this year to anyone outside of your home. If you are unable to give your mother a big hug this year, choose one of her secondary love languages. But make sure to tell your mama or write in her card how much you are looking forward to giving her a big hug soon!
Under ordinary circumstances, someone who feels loved by physical touch may appreciate a hug, a kiss or a shoulder massage. Make sure that you plan to provide the effort and time to ensure they are relaxed and feel loved by your touch.
Additionally, you may want to combine physical touch with their secondary love language by describing instances of when you thought they were a great mother (see Words of Affirmation below), spending additional time together (see Quality Time below), or surprising them with a physical gift (see Receiving Gifts below).
Acts of Service:
The act of service that you choose will vary greatly based upon the person. You could perform a household chore, help finish a home project, assist with work or a hobby, or watch young children while they enjoy time to themselves.
The act of service should be chosen based on something that you know you can accomplish, have taken the time to learn or know how to do, and will make your mother or significant other feel most loved.
Earlier, I mentioned that my mom enjoys spending time together, gardening, and chocolate. I plan to spend time with her on Mother’s Day by making her brunch. As part of my brainstorming efforts, I will plan the menu, and make sure that it is simple enough to accomplish before she arrives, so that I am engaged and present while we are together. She also enjoys gardening, so I am planning to give her a mini shopping spree to a local greenhouse, where we can spend additional time together.
If you know the mama in your life feels most loved when you spend time together, but you are unsure what she enjoys doing; keep it simple by making or picking-up a meal for her and spending time together. Other simple ideas are taking a walk, planning a family trip to the park, having a picnic, playing a game, or watching a movie together.
It does not need to be complicated, but you do need to think through your plan before executing it. If your mom or significant other has a work project they need to complete, communicate how much time you would like to spend with them, ask if you can help with anything, or if a different day would work better. This will help her feel more relaxed and enjoy the time together. Keep her in mind throughout your plan. The important part is that she feels special and loved by spending time together.
Words of Affirmation:
If your mother or significant other feels most loved by words of affirmation, take the time to write down or type out what they mean to you, things you like about them, or a special memory that you have of them. For your mother, you could tell her how special or loved she made you feel during a certain time or event when you were a child. Or you could tell your significant other the ways in which you think she is a great mother or a specific time you thought she went above and beyond.
It is important to be as specific as possible, quantity is not necessarily everything, but make sure that you write more than “Thanks for being a great mom”. Use specific examples, events or adjectives to describe how or why you think that she is a great mother.
Also, if you are going to write or type a note, take the time to pick out a card that is special. Minted.com is a great website for unique, beautiful, customizable cards.
Receiving gifts, typically seen as the most common way to show someone you care, is the last of the five love languages. If receiving a gift is the way that your mother or significant other feels loved; knowing the things she enjoys, what she likes to do, and what is important to her will help you determine what to buy or make for her. Use your notes from step one and spend time researching unique gifts that she would like to receive.
For example, if she likes to bake, you could purchase baking pans or decorating tools that she does not currently have. If she likes surprises, you can pick out something that she may not choose for herself but will enjoy. Or if she prefers specific items, give her a gift card and make accommodations, so she has the time to shop online or browse in a store. Always remember to keep her in mind when you are picking out a gift.
Step 3: Give it to Your Mama
In step one, we changed our perspective to focus on what our mama enjoys, what is important to her, and what makes her feel loved. In step two, we utilized our notes from step one to brainstorm ideas, thoughtfully plan our gift, and examine our intentions to ensure our idea will make our mama feel loved and appreciated.
The final step is to give the gift to the mama in your life. This should be the best part. The part where all your focus and brainstorming comes together in a meaningful gift.
This Mother's Day, close the browsers, skip the store displays, and use these three simple steps to think, brainstorm and give the best most meaningful gift to the special mother in your life. A gift that shows her how much you love and appreciate her.