WITH Mother’s Day around the corner, you’re likely brainstorming gift ideas to show your mom some love.
Being a good mom takes a lot of work, so it’s important to show these committed caretakers some extra appreciation during the May holiday.
Etiquette expert and author Jacqueline Whitmore, who founded The Protocol School of Palm Beach, revealed some of the biggest mistakes you can make on Mother’s Day—like gifting faux flowers—and the things you should do to ensure your maternal figures feel loved.
WHO TO THANK
On an occasion like Mother’s Day, common sense tells you to reach out to your mom in some form or fashion.
But besides your actual mother, there are other people you may want to send a message or a gift to—whether that’s a mother-in-law, an aunt, a grandmother, or even a teacher who helped mold you into the person you are today.
“Even though I've never had children myself, I have mothered other people's children. So, I appreciate texts on Mother's Day saying, ‘Happy Mother's Day. Thank you for making a difference in my life.’
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“And mothers don't have to be female,” she adds.
“You know, there are people who were raised by two fathers, yet one feels more like a mother.”
How close you are with the person in question should determine what kind of recognition you give them.
While Whitmore believes a card is “always appropriate because it shows you made an effort,” a simple text will go a long way for someone like your friend’s mother who always looked after you.
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“Especially if you're the very first person that they get a text from on Mother's Day. Don't wait until like 8:00 at night to send it—although that is better than nothing.”
And, as always, if you’re going to someone’s home on Mother’s Day who isn’t actually a mother to you—still be sure to show up with some sort of treat. A bottle of wine will do.
When it comes to coming up with a creative gift, some people turn to handmade ones.
Although these are especially popular among young children who make “I love my mom” arts and crafts at school, Whitmore thinks adults can put their own spin on homemade gifts as well.
“I know a lot of moms that treasure things that their children make for them, even when their kids are older,” she explains.
“For example, I have a girlfriend who knits. She knits sweaters and caps and scarves, and she likes making her mother something every year.”
A handmade gift can also come in the form of a baked good, like a yummy pastry, or a hand-picked flower arrangement from your garden.
“I'm in favor of these because I think they require a lot of time and effort, versus going online and just hitting the purchase button.”
Although the Dollar Tree is a convenient store when it comes to quick buys and things like cheap cleaning products, it’s probably best to spend a little more on your mom for this special occasion.
“The only things I would get from Dollar Tree are things that I would add to a gift basket.”
Rather than purchase the main present at the chain retailer, you could use it to buy inexpensive filler presents.
“You want to put some more thought and effort into your gift.
“They have cards at Dollar Tree, they have candy, table favors. Those kinds of things are good to add.”
One of the most common go-to’s when it comes to gifting a woman is a bouquet of flowers.
While Whitmore believes flowers always make for a nice gift and a good impression, she says you must avoid one common mistake:
Do not bring flowers that are still in the cellophane wrapping from the grocery store.
“Make sure they’re already in a vase.
“Because if you hand someone flowers in the cellophane, then it takes them away from their guests. They have to go find a vase. They have to fill it with water. They have to trim the stems.
“It makes their job a little bit easier if you've done the work for them.”
She says it doesn’t matter what type of flowers you bring, as long as they’re the real deal.
“Artificial flowers I would just totally avoid.”
Aim to pick something that you know your mother will enjoy—whether that’s orchids, tulips, or even a succulent.
Many people look to framed photos as another way to show their loved ones that they appreciate them.
If you do this, just make sure it’s not all about you.
“If you choose a multi-photo frame, be inclusive of other family members in the pictures.”
Don’t only showcase photos of you and your mom if you have other siblings that might be offended by the singular homage to you on the wall.
When it comes to giving money or a gift card, you should evaluate how the receiver will feel about this kind of present.
“You have to know the person, because some mothers are more old-fashioned and they might prefer a handmade gift over an Amazon gift card.
“But then if you have a special aunt who loves books, then an Amazon gift card would be a perfect for her.”
Another appropriate way to show your mother how much you love spending time with her is by taking her out to lunch or dinner.
But if you choose this route, know that you must foot the bill.
“I believe the person who does the inviting should do the paying. That is proper etiquette.
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“If you invite your mom out to lunch, you should not expect her to pay or split the bill. That would be completely tacky.”
If a nice lunch out is out of the budget for you, plan a simple picnic in the park instead—and buy the groceries yourself, of course.
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