May’s the month for stringing together uncooked macaroni shells for makeshift necklaces or, when you’re much older, visiting greeting card aisles, candy counters and the local florist while searching online retailers for Mother’s Day finds.
Mother’s Day was held Feb. 12 in Norway, and won’t take place until December in Panama and Indonesia. Here in North America, while Canada and the United States celebrate the second Sunday of May, Mother’s Day is celebrated May 10 every year in Mexico. Actually, they’re ahead by two days this year, since one tradition is to first gather May 9 for a family dinner.
However, it’s much of the Eastern Hemisphere that has the real jump on what they call Mothering Day in England, which was celebrated March 30 or earlier this year. Thus, we tend to find ourselves behind by a month or two in the annual reporting on gift ideas.
London’s Daily Mail, for example, reported in mid-March that a chocolate maker had teamed up with a 3D printing company to create three-dimensional molds from photographs of kids to fill with chocolate for their mums. The Daily Telegraph listed favorite recipes for hare, crumpets, pheasant and, with no translation needed here, macaroni and cheese.
The homemade touch
In the United States, Mother’s Day is a $20 billion operation, according to the National Retail Federation. That can be a scary number for kids, but it doesn’t have to be. A U.S. credit card trends and financial education company with the kid-friendly name of CreditDonkey in April 2013 asked moms what they really want for Mother’s Day. The most responses (36 percent) were that moms want to receive something homemade.
“While most sons and daughters plan to stick to tradition and give flowers, dinner and a greeting card, our survey suggests it may be time to consider being less predictable,” CreditDonkey.com founder Charles Tran stated in a news release reporting the survey’s results.
Adding a homemade touch to any present or outing is easy for kids of any age. In San Antonio, as in most cities around the country, restaurants will be celebrating one of their busiest days of the year. One of the biggest public celebrations outdoors is free, when Market Square in downtown San Antonio sponsors Mother’s Day Weekend May 10-11 with live music and folk dancing performances.
If mom’s a fan of the San Antonio Zoo, the zoo is celebrating its 100th anniversary, the Zootennial, through the end of this year. The Witte Museum is presenting Fairytale Fiesta all spring and summer with a display of elaborate San Antonio Fiesta parade gowns inspired by classic fairytales and myths. Kids can create a homemade invitation to ask their mom to spend a family afternoon at the park, the zoo, a museum or even a free crafts day scheduled May 11 at the San Antonio Public Library system’s downtown central library.
Alice Ragan, owner of the Cowboy Capital Candy Co. and Christmas Corner in Bandera, says she is delighted when customers ask her to personalize gift baskets for Mother’s Day and other holidays. One customer recently brought in a coffee cup with the logo for her mom’s favorite TV show to add to a basket of scented lotions and treats.
Ragan’s colorful store shelves hold giant jars of individually wrapped classic candy brands popular from the 1940s through today, with the latest versions of Tootsie Roll and M&M treats vying for space with vintage brands of rock candy, Mary Janes, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Slo-Pokes, Chuckles, Necco Wafers, root beer barrels and peanut butter logs. Sugar-free candies also are popular.
Kids with the smallest budgets can afford to present their moms, aunts or grandmothers gifts of a few pieces of candy that they loved as children, and so can older and grown-up children, she says.
“They need to get an idea of what grandma liked and what mom liked. Kids can do that if they want to add a personal touch,” Ragan says.
Other ways to personalize gifts include tucking an old photograph of mom as a child or of mom and the kids inside a gift basket, bouquet or greeting card. Kids can team up with siblings or other relatives to find photographs or collect small sums of money for a joint gift that’s decorated with drawings or pictures.
An investment in good-quality paper and watercolors can create a lasting memory for mom, says Lisa Mares, owner of the ArtWorks Art Studio in San Antonio.
“These are special to moms. They’ll keep them forever,” says Mares, whose studio offers art classes and summer day camps for children.
Kids can frame their art or simply roll it up and secure with a piece of ribbon in mom’s favorite color. A thank-you note to mom provides that extra touch.
“Kids can choose a memory or just a design,” Mares says. “Most kids will know what to do when you give them a piece of paper and paint.”
What Terrie Dodson, a San Antonio mother of two, says she treasures the most are drawings from her kids inside handmade cards.
“Kids grow up, people move and things get lost. But I’ve always held on to my cards with little drawings and the ‘I love mom’ notes,” she says.
Kids of any age also can add a personal touch with a Mother’s Day gift that involves no shopping or homemade crafts.
“Time is a gift, and it doesn’t have to be a whole day. Give me one concentrated hour with personal talk,” says Jo Marie Cano of San Antonio, mother of three grown sons. “Time is the most personal thing. It shows me they’re really thinking about me.”
Renee Hines is a San Antonio freelance writer.