It’s been a YEAR for many mothers, whether it’s meant home-schooling and juggling WFH, or being isolated from adult children and grandchildren. Make sure she feels loved and appreciated this May 9th with a thoughtful gift or gesture. A great starting point? The 5 Love Languages, the concept outlined in Gary Chapman’s 1992 book that helps people figure out the way they most appreciate receiving love. While the original idea is for couples, it can be applied to anyone and any relationship. Ask your mom to take the quiz and have her report back which of the five is her love language — quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, words of affirmation or physical touch. Then refer back here for ideas that will make her feel seen and lucky to be your mom.
This mama loves getting your personal attention.
If you can spend the day together:
1.Take her for a walk or bike ride, with a cafe date afterward.
2. Get her an “Adventure Challenge” book — it has family activities that you can do together. Encourage her to use it with others as well.
3.Think about a favorite memory of the time you spent together and try to recreate it, even if it’s on a smaller, local scale. For instance, maybe you had an amazing time on a catamaran while vacationing in Hawaii. Find a place locally that does sailing excursions and take her for a Mai Tai afterward. Or maybe you had a memorable meal together; try to recreate it for her at home and reminisce while you enjoy the meal together. Did you have a tradition when you were young? Maybe it was pizza and a movie on Saturday nights, followed by hot chocolate and marshmallows. Recreate it with a classic movie night in.
4. Does she love board games? Have a board game night, you bring the snacks.
5. Is she outdoorsy? Take her hiking and pack a picnic lunch to enjoy together.
6. Book a class together — it could be cooking, a wine-tasting seminar, gardening master class, dancing or another fitness course —anything you think would make her smile. Or a simple manicure will do the magic.
7. Plan a staycation and do a tourist activity in your hometown. Make sure to document with photos and you can put together an album for her on another occasion (Mother’s Day 2022).
8. Book tickets to something that you can attend together.
9. Ask her to make a bucket list and pick a few of the things on it that you could do together.
If you’re long-distance:
1.Do something “together” via Zoom, like cooking a recipe together and then enjoy eating it together on-screen.
2. Put on music and have a virtual dance party with all the siblings dialed in.
3. Play virtual charades.
4. Have a meal or snacks delivered to her, then watch a show or movie at the same time together so you can discuss/share reactions.
5. Plan a trip to see her as soon as humanly possible. It will mean the world to her.
Presents go a long way with this person.
1. Flowers are a Mother’s Day go-to but can you think of a way to make them extra-special? Look up the significance of her name (maybe there’s a flower or plant meaning?), the flower of her birth month or maybe what she carried on her wedding day.
2. Make a scrapbook or photo album of favorite photos of the two of you.
3. Give her a MasterClass gift card so she can pick a skill she’s been wanting to hone. Maybe she wants to learn photography with Annie Leibovitz or cooking with Gordon Ramsay.
4. Spoil her with Sunday Riley Fairy Godmother shimmering body oil. This tropical-scented, vitamin-infused gel gives the skin a subtle golden shimmer. It’s the type of a treat she may not buy herself but will think of you every time she slathers on a bit for instant hydration and glow.
6. A fruit basket may seem super old-school but if your mom loves fresh produce or healthy food, she’ll love some hand-selected superfood treats delivered to her door. Try Frog Hollow Farm and Raw Generation. Or put together your own version of a health-foods basket, filled with her faves from the local farmer’s market or green grocery.
7. Gift some glam with the new Rouge Coco Bloom lip color from Chanel. These highly pigmented lipsticks, available in 20 shades, are hydrating and high-shine. Plus, what mama wouldn’t appreciate a little Chanel?
8. Nothing makes you feel nostalgic like old Polaroids; set her up with a FujiMax so you can start capturing memories together that you can physically hold (because let’s be realistic about the frequency of actually printing pics off our phones).
Acts of Service
This person feels loved when you go out of your way to make her life better or easier.
1. The obvious winner here: Coupons for jobs that you can do for her. But make a point of actually doing them (unlike when you were 8 and hoped she would forget about the coupon book you made her every year). Ideas of vouchers to include: Laundry duty for a week, dinner one night, back rubs, weeding, breakfast in bed, car wash, window washing and what every mom craves — an afternoon of uninterrupted alone time.
2. Give her one hour of your time each month (or whatever set amount of time) to do whatever she wants to do, whether it’s doing a job for her or accompanying her somewhere.
3. Without having to ask, think of what she needs or wants to be done and do it. Maybe it’s cleaning the house while she’s out or planting a new tree in the garden — there is always something she needs help with. Always. And you taking the initiative to do it will surprise her that much more.
4. Have groceries delivered so she doesn’t have to do the shopping.
5. The classic: Breakfast in bed. And then let her relax in bed afterward, in peace.
6. Order a meal-delivery kit; one less dinner she has to think about.
7. Hire a gardener or house cleaner to help lighten her load.
8. Wash her car and fill it with gas.
9. Command her to take a relaxing, pampering bath, complete with a body scrub (gift her Sunday Riley’s Charcoal Smoothie), while you do some housework.
10. If she has a fur baby, take care of it — walk it, get it groomed — whatever it needs.
Words of Affirmation
It’s invaluable for this person to hear (and read) positive, encouraging words.
1. Write 52 love letters to your mom, one for her to open each week of the year. They don’t need to be long, but something that will make her smile — something you like about her, a happy memory you have, something she cooked you that you liked, something she taught you or a funny inside joke. Write them on beautiful notecards from Macy’s or Urban Outfitters.
2. Fill in and gift her a “You Make Me Smile” book. Examples of the 50 fill-ins: “I love how talented you are at BLANK” and “If you were a color, you’d be BLANK.”
3. Write a poem (funny, heartfelt, whatever!), or if you have musical talent, write her a song.
4. If you have siblings, coordinate a video where each of you shares a message about how much your mom means to you, then compile them together to make one special movie she’s sure to watch repeatedly.
5. If she likes public words of affirmation, be sure to post about her on social media.
6. Find a bracelet with words that suit her. Try a leather wrap bracelet from Dillon Rogers. They have lovely little phrases like “the little moments become our biggest memories” and be sure to tell your mama why you chose it specifically for her. The Little Words Project has dozens of one-word options like “strength,” “gratitude” and “fearless” — pick the word that epitomizes your mom.
7. Hide notes around the house (make them a distinctive color) with little messages you have written specifically for her. It could be something like “I appreciate how you make my birthday special every year,” or “Thank you for all the laundry you’ve done throughout my lifetime,” or “You sacrificed a lot for me and I appreciate it,” or “I feel proud to have you as my mother.” You can send her on a hunt to find them all or just let her discover them — it’ll instantly perk up her day when she finds one.
8. Make a scrapbook album of the best photos you can find of her — the ones that show her personality and beauty, like her own highlights reel. And next to each one, write something about why you love this photo of her. Maybe you point out her beautiful smile, or how her eyes look like they’re brimming with love, or that you love how her face scrunches up when she’s laughing uncontrollably hard.
9. Make a poster using products in place of the words. For example, if she has a sweet tooth, make a candy bar poster (like the ones seen here and here) with phrases like “You’re the best mom in the Milky Way even when I tell you Whoppers about where I’ve been.”
This person feels love through a physical connection.
1. Get her a massage candle (Sunday Riley’s Come Upstairs is incredibly relaxing) and give her a shoulder or foot rub. If you can’t be together in person or lack massage skills, get her a back massager (like Zyllion’s rechargeable one) or a gift card to a nearby spa.
2. She’ll love Sunday Riley Good Genes. This lactic acid smoothes out uneven, bumpy skin, so it’s ideal for someone who’s tuned into how things feel. Bonus: It’s suitable for all skin types, even sensitive, so it’ll be a winner with any mama.
3. Pamper her hands: Give them a soothing rub with Jo Malone Lime Basil and Mandarin Hand Cream , followed by painting her nails with a universally-flattering creamy beige, like Deborah Lippmann’s new Despacito.
4. Do something where you can hold hands (and laugh!) like ice skating or roller skating, or even just walking. It might feel strange at first, but she’ll savor the moment.
5. Because she responds well to touch, she’ll appreciate a decadently soft robe (check out this one from sustainable brand Parachute), cozy blanket (try an organic cotton one from Boll and Branch), snuggly slippers, luxe sheets (try Nest Bedding’s Tencel sets) or comfy socks (cashmere and wool anyone?).
6. Is there a sensory experience in your area she might enjoy? Like a petting zoo? Or making pottery? Or get a kit to make bath bombs at home — she’ll love the relaxing fizz in the bath that night.
7. Splurge on a pair of slippers that use LED lights designed to relieve foot pain and stiffness. Perfect for the mom who’s on her feet all day.
8. Give her a hug. A truly big, warm hug that lasts long and conveys how much you love and appreciate her and everything she’s done for you.
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