Celebrating Mom

by Guest Writer

Mother’s Day is upon us, and so it is the time to find ways to celebrate Mom. This year, I’m trying to find ways to show my mom how much I care, while still showing Mother Earth how much I care, as well. I’m hoping my husband will follow my lead (if my children don’t give him a nudge) to also remember the earth when celebrating me for Mother’s Day this year.

If your kids are still young, then I think nothing is more special than a card made by your children. Mothers and grandmothers alike treasure handmade cards and gifts. Personally, I like something that reminds you of the size of a child that particular year. A handprint, made from a child’s palm dipped in finger paint is a good way to document how small your child is. If paint is not your style, then you could also outline your child’s hand.

Plants are another great way to thank mom for everything she does on Mother’s Day. I would advise against cut flowers unless you are going to cut flowers from your own yard, then I say go for it. But, if you are planning to send flowers or buy them at a florist, it’s important to keep in mind that many times they come from outside of the US, meaning the carbon footprint can be pretty deep. Just think how much fuel will be wasted just getting the flowers here! Also, since you don’t know if the cut flowers you are sending will come from the US or not, you won’t know whether they’ve been exposed to harsh chemicals (outlawed in this country). However, if you have a mom who loves cut flowers, there is a company called Organic Bouquet, you can order flowers from. You can also go to your local florist and ask them where their flowers come from. Flowers that are in season are more likely to be grown close by. Essortment.com has a nice guide to buying cut flowers in a more eco-friendly manner.

If you’re like me, you would probably prefer a living plant to cut flowers. Living plants are wonderful for the environment. One of my favorites, is to receive an “offspring” of someone else’s plant. My mother is great at this. She has a Christmas Cactus that is an offshoot of one my great grandmother had. She has given my sister-in-law and me plants she’s grown from those. I think this is a very thoughtful gift to give someone, especially when it’s something that’s been grown through a family. It’s almost like the plant has taken root amongst us and continues to grow just like our family.

The old saying about gifts is “it’s the thought that counts.” This is especially true when it comes to many moms. Have you ever heard your mom reminisce about a particular item from her childhood—maybe a favorite doll, or a particular dish or anything that you can’t buy new anymore? This is a great opportunity to find that perfect gift. If you know the name of the item it will be much easier to find, if not a picture, description or sketch can help. I think most people know about ebay, which is a good resource for finding seemingly obsolete items. Another helpful site is yardsellr. Personally, my favorite site for finding items is Facebook. There are a number of local buy/sell groups on Facebook where you can tell people what you’re looking for, or browse through the items that others are looking to sell. These are usually closed groups, meaning someone who you know needs to add you to the group or you have to ask to join. In the event there is no such group in your area, you can create one yourself, inviting all of your local friends to join and ask them to invite their network of local friends. Most likely, you will be able to find some vintage goodies that your mom will certainly treasure.

If traditional gifts are more your style, then you’ll be glad to know there are a number of green options to choose from.  If you like to give bath items, why not consider going organic this year and creating a basket full of organic bath care items. You can buy a basket already made online, or you can go out to your local stores and hand-pick organic items that you think your mom would like. Rather than use a traditional basket, I would put the items in something my mom could really use. It could be different for every mom, but some ideas are a flower pot, a gardening bag, a reusable shopping bag, or even something as simple as a bowl (that she might be able to use as a serving dish).

If you have a mom with a sweet tooth, you could give her organic chocolates. Numerous companies make organic chocolates. According to an article on HubPages, the main difference between organic and non-organic chocolate is “organic chocolate is created using cocoa beans which have not been treated with synthetic fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides.” In addition, the other ingredients should also be organic. Some brands worth trying include: Lake Champlain Chocolates, Dagoba Organic Chocolates and Sjaaks Organic Chocolates.

Another favorite of mine is giving people photo gifts. The problem is that most of these items are not necessarily eco-friendly. I’ve used companies like Snapfish for years, mostly because I can create photo books online and then end up only printing what I want. While their practices may not be 100% eco-friendly, I do feel I’m cutting down on waste by not printing too many pictures, and then buying bulky photo albums in hopes of one day filling them with photos. Recently I found a company called LifePhoto. This service is similar to those offered by companies like Snapfish, however they have taken steps to be more environmentally friendly. Some of those steps include using chemical-free cleaners, and they use presses made from recycled materials just to name a couple.

My last suggestion is to give mom a gift certificate or gift card to her favorite place. Most places offer gift cards, all you have to do is go in and ask. My husband often gets me gift cards to a local spa so I can get a much-needed massage. If your mom likes the theatre, you could get her a gift certificate to the local theatre so she can choose a production she would like to see. The possibilities are endless when it comes to gift cards, and if you choose a local establishment, then you’re being extremely eco-friendly—you’re cutting down on fuel emissions, you’re supporting your local community, and you’re not creating waste (since your gift certificate can usually be recycled).

Lastly, I think it’s important to remember the moms who are no longer part of this earth. If your mom is no longer with you, you can still celebrate how wonderful she was and how much you miss her. I like the idea of planting her favorite plant in your yard as something of a memorial. It’s a nice way to remember her and feel close to her. It also offers an opportunity to talk to your kids about how special she was. Of course, maybe there’s another way you’d like to celebrate your mom— make one of her favorite foods or do something else your mom loved to do.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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