mother's day -
how to find the perfect gift?
There's no such thing as one type of mother. She can cover a huge range of ages as well as tastes and needs. This means there isn't a single mother's day gift that fits all. But the idea of a special day is to pause and celebrate all that mothers give and mean to us. Above all, whatever we give or do for her, it is a way of showing how much we appreciate the comfort of home and all it stands for. This is how Mother's Day came into being as a 'something special' occasion. Have a read about its origins and, if you need them, we've a few ideas to make the day memorable.
Mother's Day is a celebration honouring the mother of the family, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of
mothers in society. It is celebrated on various days in many parts of the world, most commonly in the months of March or May.
Mother's Day is celebrated across the world, in more than 50 countries, though not all countries celebrate it on the same day.
Arguably, the tradition of a day to celebrate mothers can be traced back to the ancient Greeks, who held festivities to honour Rhea, the mother of the gods.
Many countries (from Brazil to Belgium, Namibia to New Zealand) commemorate Mother's Day on the second Sunday of May. In Mexico, and other parts of Latin America, Mother's Day always takes place on 10 May. In Thailand, it is celebrated on 12 August, the birthday of the current Queen. Argentina honours Mums in October; Russia in November. And the UK is different again...
In the UK, the date is linked to Easter, which is different each year as it is determined by the lunar calendar.
The UK's Mother's Day always falls on the fourth Sunday during the period of Lent, when people typically give up certain luxurious certain foods or bad - but fun! - habits for the days leading up to Easter. In 2021 Mothers Day falls on the 14th March.
History of Mother's Day
During the Middle Ages, the custom developed of allowing people who had moved away from where they grew up to come back to visit their home or 'mother' churches - and their mothers - on the fourth Sunday of the Christian festival of Lent.
At the time, it wasn't uncommon for children to leave home to work when they were just ten years old, so this was an opportunity for families to meet up again. This became "Mothering Sunday" in Britain.
Mothering Sunday - How it started
As the dates of Lent vary each year, so does the date of Mothering Sunday. The food item traditionally associated with Mothering Sunday is Simnel cake - a type of fruit cake with two layers of almond paste (one on the top and one in the middle). These days, Simnel cakes are more usually linked with Easter.
Although it's often called Mother's Day in the UK, it has no direct connection with the American Mother's Day.
The English colonists who settled in America discontinued the tradition of Mothering Sunday as, presumably, it would have been a long trip to return to their mother church for the day!
Some believe that Mother's Day on the current US date was accidentally started by Mrs Juliet Calhoun Blakely. On Sunday 11 May 1877, her son, the pastor of her Church, had to leave the pulpit abruptly. Mrs Blakely, on her birthday, stepped into the pulpit and took over the rest of the service, calling for other mothers to join her.
Later, her children felt so moved by their mother's actions that they returned every year and urged others to honour their own mothers on the second Sunday of May.
But credit for the day gaining national status undoubtedly goes to a Philadelphia schoolteacher called Anna Jarvis.
How Mother's Day Started in the US
In 1907, Anna Jarvis started a movement to set up a national Mother's Day. She was inspired by her own mother, who had been instrumental in developing "Mothers Friendship Day", an initiative to help the healing process after the Civil War. Miss Jarvis wanted to set aside a day to honour all mothers, living and dead. So she and her supporters began to write to ministers, evangelists, businessmen, and politicians in a crusade to establish a national Mother's Day. The first observance was a church service on the second anniversary of her mother's death, when Anna handed out her favourite flowers, white carnations.
Finally, in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May as a national holiday in honour of mothers. Anna specifically noted that "Mother's" should be a singular possessive, for each family to honour their own mother, not a plural covering all mothers in the world. You can learn more in this history of Mother's Day video from Town and Country Magazine in the US.
One Mother's Day tradition is the wearing of a carnation. A coloured carnation signifies that a person's mother is living while a white carnation is used to honour a Mom who has passed away.
If your mother loves jewellery, you can't ignore the classics: pearls, the richness of gemstones, or precious metals like gold and silver. They may be traditional but you can always choose something with a twist or a slightly different treatment. Think sets: bracelets, necklaces and earrings. If she might feel overwhelmed with all three, you can introduce her to one for Mother's Day then add to the set on future celebrations, on her birthday or Christmas!
Even if your Mother seemingly has everything, there's always scope to create something special for the perfect Mother's Day!
Your time and attention is something money can't buy - it's priceless. Simply spend some precious time with her and reminisce.
Why not chat about family history? You could do some ancestry research beforehand and then and make up a book together. Or, if she's energetic and loves the outdoors, plan something special like a future trip together and book tickets etc as something to look forward too. If she is a book lover give her a card with a audio book club subscription or indeed a longed-for book. Always consider current interests and splash out on an item she can enjoy repeatedly rather than just on the Day.
After a terrible 12 months, we hope this year will be full of hope and the consideration and appreciation of others. Even if you still can't be together, this is an opportunity to make a perfect mother's day and give her something she will get joy from even in your absence.
Mother's Day gifts could include... A monthly subscription linked to her interests is a prime example. A house plant or outdoor plant or tree she can enjoy throughout the year. Or luxury gardening equipment that she wouldn't treat herself with - she'll always remember where they came from.
The best Mother's Day gift to give a Mum who is not living nearby is a video call. See if you can get other members of the family or friends she likes on a surprise group call. Instead of typical mother's day cards, why not record and send her a video message from your whole family wherever they are around the world. (And plan any help she might need with the tech!) There are also a host of options of gastro-quality deliverable food for a special Mother's Day. Either wholesome fare or something exclusive from her favourite restaurant.
The world's your oyster here.
If she is a Mum with children the best gift is probably your time helping to free up hers. A thoughtful present trumps mere purchases.
A little pampering never goes amiss. Do the stuff she does as routine.
Then find her a gift that acknowledges her individuality, not just her role. Stylish and sexy? Personalised?
If you're giving jewellery, it could be a time to splash on something she can wear to dress up or, for everyday wear, make it simple and go with everything. Her character will tell you which is best (or ask a Bestie!).
Mother's Day gifts? Older mothers know what they like. They've been there and got lots of T-shirts!
Instead of the typical mother's day flowers, this is the time to acknowledge them as a person and to find clever gifts that will help them enjoy their interests and feel a little pampered.
A subscription to a book or music or wine club? Some indulgent hand lotion after a day in the garden, or a ticket for a glamorous trip she will enjoy in the future.
Love this video we found.
A wonderful celebration of incredible energetic mothers in all their varieties.
Mums the word!
"Mothers can forgive anything! Tell me all, and be sure that I will never let you go, though the whole world should turn from you." - Louisa May Alcott
"All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother."
- Abraham Lincoln
"All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That is his."
- Oscar Wilde