Social distancing and stay-at-home orders are changing the way we live everyday life. By now many of us have gotten better than we ever thought at coordinating virtual meetups with friends. I’ve still struggled with a sense of loss, though, during holidays and special occasions that have been modified or foregone due to current restrictions.
I’ve been thinking ahead to how I can make sure Mother’s Day this year still feels special for my mom. While many of our go-to Mother’s Day gift options are not currently possible, alternative gifts abound. Here are some creative ideas to make your Mom’s day — even in the era of social distancing.
1. Share quality time
Go a step above your usual communication dynamic this Mother’s Day. Carve out time to speak intentionally, longer than your usual phone calls. Have a virtual dinner date. Stream the same show at the same time (maybe even a virtual Mass service if that’s important to her). Coordinate a group video chat with your siblings so your mom gets to see all her kids at once.
Set up recurring quality time, too. Select a book or movie to finish together over the next few weeks and then plan a date to discuss it.
You can also give your mom the gift of quality screen time with her friends and loved ones. Teach her how to use Zoom or other video meeting platforms if those are unfamiliar to her. My mom, a Baby Boomer, has been delighted to find that she can still meet with her book club and womens’ groups on Zoom. She’s just now finding this technology and I’m sure she’s not the only one!
2. Send kind words
Send your mom a handwritten letter or a note. Describe her favorite traits or ways she has inspired you. Share a story of a favorite memory together. Simply let your mom know that you would love to give her a big hug if you could. Coordinate with your siblings, their children, or other relatives (e.g., godchildren) to write a note with a memory or something special about your mom.
3. Plan acts of service
Provide your mom with acts of service from afar. Send shopping money and arrange with another member of her household to cook a meal for her that day on your behalf. Order her a delivery of groceries or a pre-made meal kit. Send a care package of items that will make life stuck at home just a little bit brighter. But plan ahead — many online delivery services are now running slower delivery.
If you’re stuck for ideas, reach out to your dad or to your mom’s girlfriends to brainstorm helpful tasks you could do for her as a surprise. Maybe she would love some help with her taxes. Maybe she could use a hand researching new healthy recipes to try or with finding a new indoor exercise routine. Or maybe she’d love if you could help set up her new laptop.
4. Create a photo album
Compile a photo album from the boxes of Kodaks and Polaroids in your closet. Create a digital photo book using services such as Mixbook or Snapfish. It’s easy: upload your digital photos, arrange them within pre-made templates, and order the completed book to your mom’s doorstep. She’ll love the thoughtfulness of the gift, as well as the chance to revisit happy memories.
The normalcy of maintaining holiday celebrations can be its own gift in uncertain times like these. Plan ahead and think creatively, and you can show appreciation to your mom this Mother’s Day. You may even find favorite new traditions in the process.