It’s Mother’s Day again, and with any luck, this holiday will be better for you and your mom than last year. Your mom may be vaccinated. Maybe you are, too, and you can safely celebrate together.
Pandemic or not, we’re still looking for meaningful ways to celebrate holidays like Mother’s Day without breaking the bank.
If you’re looking for ideas, we have some low-cost suggestions on how to celebrate Mother’s Day, which falls on May 9 this year.
— Take your mom for a walk.
— Do a chore for your mom.
— Take your mom out for lunch.
— Make your mom lunch.
— Give your mom a homemade coupon book.
— Create a memory.
— Give a sentimental gift.
— Consider a subscription gift.
[See: 25 Practical Gift Ideas.]
Take your mom for a walk
In any other year, this might feel like the cheapest gift ever, but after the year everyone has had, and to some degree, are still having, it would be a really nice gift, says Dawn-Marie Joseph, founder of Estate Planning & Preservation in Williamston, Michigan, and a mom herself. She has five adult children and six grandchildren.
“Taking your mother on a simple walk outside this Mother’s Day would not only cost you nothing, but it would make your mother smile for a week,” Joseph says.
Do a chore for your mom
This is another idea of Joseph’s, and it’s a solid one.
If you’re a kid reading this, you know that there have to be a gazillion things around the house you could do for your mom.
If you’re an adult, well, hasn’t your mom been bugging you to clean out your old bedroom for years, so she can turn it into an exercise room? Or maybe you know that the attic needs emptying out? Or maybe your mom would appreciate some help with the yard or flower garden.
Helping your mom should be seriously cheap, unless you hire a professional landscaper to help out with the flower garden.
It also “allows the two of you to spend quality time together,” Joseph says.
take your mom out for lunch
If you’re both vaccinated, and depending on the rules in your area, this might be a safe activity and a welcome one, if your mom hasn’t been to a restaurant since pre-pandemic days.
Make your mom lunch
If you’re not feeling ready to go out yet, and especially if you, your mom and the family are vaccinated, why not invite your mom over — or invite yourself over and take over the kitchen — and make a nice meal?
You could go for something fancy, or maybe cook a family favorite that your mom made when you were a kid.
This is, of course, assuming you can cook. If the smoke alarm tends to go off when you’re in the kitchen, bring takeout.
Give your mom a handmade coupon book
“The absolute best gift I’ve received on Mother’s Day is a handmade coupon book from my kids that includes creative and adorably decorated slips of paper redeemable for all kinds of things, like a back rub, 10 minutes of silence, sleeping in, kids make breakfast, walking the dog, any chore of my choosing, a fully prepped and planned family hike and picnic,” says Emily Greene, a mother of three in Bethesda, Maryland, and the author of “School, Disrupted: Rediscovering the Joy of Learning in a Pandemic-Stricken World.”
She has three sons, ages 17, 14 and 8, and she says the coupon book has been such a hit that her boys have been giving her one for every Mother’s Day for some time now.
It’s also a gift that adults could give their mothers. You just have to be really prepared to actually come over and clean out the garage, run errands for your mom or whatever you put in your coupon book.
Create a memory
Greene likes the idea of younger children or adult children planning something along the lines of a family hike and picnic.
“Best day ever for mom,” she says. If you have a little extra dough, you could actually buy your mom a picnic basket with a fully packed lunch inside, Greene adds.
“Also, as part of the picnic, the dad or the oldest child could be the designated picture-taker, so Mom is actually in some of the photos,” Greene advises.
Give a sentimental gift
Wendy Terrill, a retirement planning counselor and the founder of Assurance & Guarantee in Burlington, North Carolina, says sentimental gifts are always a great idea.
Which, yes, is obvious, but Terrill has a suggestion for coming up with a sentimental present. Attach it to a sentimental memory.
“For this Mother’s Day, think of something your mother used to do or maybe still does,” Terrill suggests. And then base the gift on that.
Terrill says that she used to sing to her boys, who are now both in their 20s, “You Are My Sunshine,” every morning to wake them up. Last year, one of her sons gave her a little music box that plays “You Are My Sunshine.”
If your mom used to plant a certain flower, consider getting her those flowers this Mother’s Day.
“Remember, money is not the important thing,” Terrill says. “It is the sentiment. Something as simple as a picture of you or your family could go a long way and cost nothing.”
Consider a subscription gift
Subscription gifts can be expensive, but it isn’t like we’re suggesting you buy your mom a car, and so maybe it still belongs on this list.
Greene likes the idea of buying your mom a yearlong subscription to a service that she’ll love and “that will keep adding value for a whole year but that she might not be willing to spend the money on for herself.”
She recommends something like Obé Fitness, MasterClass or Gaiam for yoga as some suggestions.
How to create the perfect Mother’s Day schedule
First of all, we know that nothing can be perfect and everybody’s family situation is different. Maybe you’re a 14-year-old reading this, and maybe you’re 41. Your mom might live in your house, across town or across the country or world.
So take this schedule with a grain of salt if it isn’t feasible for you. But an ideal Mother’s Day schedule might look like this:
1. Breakfast in bed. If you live with your mom or are spending the night at the house, you really should start the day right. Make breakfast or bring over doughnuts or breakfast sandwiches from a nearby eatery. She’ll love it, and the Mother’s Day breakfast may be such a hit that you could pretty much stop the day there. But don’t. Price range: Highly unscientific and depends on how many people you’re buying for, but let’s say $20.
2. Mid-morning. This would be a good time to create those memories. You could go on that walk, bake something together or look at photo albums. Price range: Assuming you’re giving an experience instead of a gift, the cost may be zero.
3. Have lunch. Well, you’ve got to eat, and if you’re spending the day with your mom, this would be the perfect time to go on that picnic or go to a restaurant that you feel safe going to. Price range: Let’s say $30, though if you’re buying lunch for a lot of family members and throwing in an actual gift like flowers, candy, jewelry or more, obviously you may end up spending an amount closer to or north of $100.
4. Do some chores. This could be a good time to put some sweat equity into your mom’s day and pull weeds out of the garden or clean out a room or closet. If your mom wants to help, let her. The idea here is definitely to do something nice for your mom but also to spend time with her.
Price range: Hopefully zero. Maybe a little more if you want to get some gardening tools, or hundreds of dollars more if you hire a professional junk-moving service to clear out your mom’s garage or basement.
5. Give your mom a goodbye hug. Again, maybe you live with your mom and aren’t heading back to your house. Either way, assuming you’re vaccinated, give your mom a hug. She deserves it. Price range: Free, and it’s a priceless gift — for both of you.
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Editor’s note: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.