Roses and a card for mom

Photo: Thinkstock/Maria Teijeiro

Celebrating Mom
The pressure is on to get this crucial, fundamental, annual event just right. But how can you sum up everything your mother means to you in one day? Impossible, I say.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with the classic approach—a bundle of pink tulips, a brunch buffet and a new set of potholders with a pretty ribbon. But how about starting a fresh set of traditions that turn the year into a series of wonderful mom-moments?

Mix and match these ideas
Corsage of hydrangea

Photo: Thinkstock/John Block

Thoughtful Gifts
You know what makes a mom happy? Knowing she raised a wonderful family. So spend a loving Mother's Day with her that will put a smile on her face. You don't need to overthink or overdo; don't make your celebration feel forced. Just be present in the moments you're together. Here's what I mean.
  • First, remember your manners—be polite, sit up straight, don't drink too much or talk with food in your mouth. Sounds silly, but these little rules fall under the "because I said so" category, the same ones that some of us rebelled against as kids. Show her you were listening all those years!

  • Corsages are a classic touch. Modernize the iconic orchid by going with a wrist corsage, tied with beautiful satin ribbon. Make it yourself, or order from a florist. Or create a family heirloom by making a stickpin with a pearl from your wedding gown or from pieces of family jewelry. Use the pin to attach a flower to your mom's outfit every year.

  • Homemade trumps store-bought. Classic gifts like photos rank high on the list of what mom wants. Be unique with your presentation. Channel your inner artist and give her a series of three photos presented in chic black frames. Take black-and-white shots that don't capture straight-on smiling faces; try more of a documentary approach. Think photographic series! Capture the kids making the Mother's Day card. First, take a snap of the supplies before they begin; next, the kids creating the card; then show the kids proudly displaying their creations.

Plant a beauty garden
Family ready to plant garden

Photo: Thinkstock/Jupiterimages

Plant a Beauty Garden
Celebrate life and growth and renewal by enlisting the whole family to make mom a beauty garden. Whether you plant in a garden bed, patio pots or a plot in the local community garden, brainstorm garden ideas together, then divide and conquer the to-do list.

What are mom's favorite herbs, tea or salad ingredients? What beauty treatments would mom enjoy most—bath soaks, eye treatments, face scrubs? Google the keywords for recipes to inspire what to plant. Think lavender, lemon balm, aloe vera, basil, chamomile, thyme, rosemary, mint, cucumber and a variety of lettuces. Let the kids make signs to mark each variety.

When it's time for gift-giving, explain that you designed this beauty garden for her because she is beautiful inside and out! Attach the card to a special set of gardening tools and gloves or a farmers' market basket filled with delicious herbs and flowers (maybe even the ones growing in her beauty garden!) along with printed recipes for the homemade beauty treatments she will love. Don't stop there—make it a tradition to spend time in the garden with mom. Make it a Sunday morning ritual—herb scrambled eggs, anyone?

Plan a surprising, scenic walk
Women and girl walking

Photo Thinkstock/Jupiterimages

Plan a Scenic Walk
Channel a bit of "womentum" by planning your own walking tradition, in honor of your mom...and moms everywhere. Some planning tips (and don't forget sunscreen!):
  • Wrap up a new sports outfit or running shoes and send the gift, along with an invitation to take a walk with you on Mother's Day morning.
  • Scout a scenic route for your walk ahead of time. If you can, drive it or walk it with a pedometer so you can gauge the difficulty level for your mother.
  • Before you pick up your mom, gather some treasures and hide them along the route. The items should be personal, like a letter or homemade card, her favorite lipstick, mementos of your childhood (photos of you together, a page from a book she used to read to you), a sunhat with funny buttons pinned to it, a crazy whistle on a chain or maybe a corsage.
  • For extra credit, personalize iron-ons for shirts (or just hand-write signs to pin on your back). Yours might read: "I'm walking for my mom, the most beautiful woman on Earth!" Your mother's: "I'm walking for my daughter because she is making me." Ha!
  • Arrange for a big group to meet you at your finish line, complete with a round of applause.
Remember, the walking outfit is a nice splurge, and finding trail treasure is a nice surprise, but the gift is really the walk. Be sure to enjoy it! The only thing left now is to walk to brunch!

More great gift ideas for Mother's Day!
Bowl and blender wrapped in gift paper

Photo: Thinkstock/Jeffrey Hamilton

More Mother's Day Gift Ideas