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Creative and Budget-Friendly Ideas for Mother's Day

As a lifelong reader and writer, Liz writes articles and poetry. She also enjoys watching and reviewing movies.

What Is the Purpose of Mother's Day?

Some will argue that Mother's Day is nothing more than an excuse to pimp all sorts of products from candy to perfume to fancy and pricey greeting cards, and they would not be wrong.

(Interestingly, Anna Jarvis, who came up with the concept in 1908, became so disgusted by 1914 by how commercialized the day had become, that she spent the rest of her life trying to have it removed from the calendar!)

Commercial though it may have become, it's also so much more.

Regardless of the origins, the reasons for earmarking a special day to remember our mothers are many, and it makes sense to stop, pause, and remember our moms—whether they are still with us or have passed on.

Mothers come in all shapes, sizes, styles, and abilities. Some are biological mothers; some are adoptive mothers; some are foster mothers. Some are wonderful; others less so. All of them fulfilled a critical role in our lives, and without them, none of us would be here in the first place.

I had a relative who refused to wish anyone but his own mother a happy Mother's Day because each person has only one mother—and none of the others was his mother. I say, “hogwash!” That is not the point. Anyone who has children is someone's mother, and that is the point.

So, to honor Mom on her special day, I suggest going all out—to the extent that your budget will allow.

Greeting cards are a traditional way to celebrate Mom; the sentiments range from comical to mushy.

Greeting cards are a traditional way to celebrate Mom; the sentiments range from comical to mushy.

Treat Mom Like a Queen

Serve her breakfast in bed! For a change, she won't need to be the first one up to take care of everyone else's breakfast. How wonderful! Just be sure to clean up and not leave her with a messy kitchen!

If she likes flowers, buy her a nice bouquet; one that comes with a pretty vase she can have as a keepsake.

Let her do whatever her heart desires on her day, and don't let her do any housework.

Pamper Mom with breakfast in bed!

Pamper Mom with breakfast in bed!

Dinner Out? Maybe. Be Creative Here!

You can take her out to dinner, although in my experience, that's one of the worst days to try and get into any restaurant since they are booked solid and wait times for a table can exceed an hour!

That's not fun. If you can get reservations made ahead of time, go for it, but be aware that some places (even if only on such high-traffic days), won't accept reservations for parties of fewer than six to eight people.

There's no reason not to make it a family affair; then you can have your six people, and lots of memories for Mom on her special day with all the family together at once. Mother's Day is about celebrating her, so it really isn't the time for a romantic just-the-two-of-you dinner; save that for your anniversary.

Alternately, you can use the trick we used to, which was going out to dinner the day before or the day after. You will find zero crowds and you won't feel rushed to clear the table for the next party. Plus, it extends the celebration. Win-win!

Oh, and a biggie: Make sure all cell phones are off during dinner, wherever or whenever you decide! No, not just tucked away in a pocket, but entirely off! No interruptions of Mom's special dinner. It's about her, not about who did what on any social media.

Flowers are another traditional go-to for Mom on her special day--just be sure she's not allergic!

Flowers are another traditional go-to for Mom on her special day--just be sure she's not allergic!

More About Extending the Day

If you want to make a really special day of it, then extend it past the actual day. Or even plan for a few days before. Take her out to get her hair done, have a facial, or a full spa treatment if that's her "thing." Maybe shopping for some new clothes would be something she'd enjoy doing as well.

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I remember one Mother's Day, my daughter took me for a facial (a first for me, as that's not in my budget), a haircut, and also got me some new nice clothes to wear. (I typically hang out in jeans or sweats!)

Then, for the actual day, we spent a very enjoyable day up in California's wine country, sampling the wares (carefully paced, I assure you), and then had dinner on the way home. It was a lovely and very memorable day.

Cards? Flowers? Dinner? Oh, My Aching Wallet!

Never fear. There are less pricey alternatives for the budget-conscious that can make an equally memorable day for Mom.

If you still have young children at home, encourage them to create cards of their own to give her. Any adult children can also do that or shop for a pretty card.

Breakfast in bed is still an option even with a limited budget. Plan to fix a favorite meal for dinner (and again, don't forget to clean the kitchen!), and maybe splurge on a special dessert she loves.

Be creative. Maybe you can't afford a fancy bouquet; look for some pretty wildflowers to pick and present them with a flourish. This is also a good idea if there are still children in the home; what mother wouldn't adore one of her precious moppets presenting her with a bouquet of their own choosing?

(Just be sure not to pick the wrong kind of flowers or greenery; no one wants a pretty, yet itchy poison ivy leaf in their bouquet! So adult supervision is strongly suggested!) Remember to not lop off the best buds from her prized garden.

Tissue paper flowers are easy for kids to make, and won't trigger any allergies either.

Tissue paper flowers are easy for kids to make, and won't trigger any allergies either.

Hit the Dollar Store

Sure, it sounds cheap and cheesy. Normally, the ready-made gifts you find there are. But with some imagination and a little time, you can usually find the raw materials for coming up with something very nice to make just for mom.

While there, you might find a nice little basket, some pretty scented soaps (our local dollar store carries a nice lavender-scented bar), colored tissue paper from which the kids can create flowers that won't wilt or cause sneezing (in case mom is allergic). You could even find a nice selection of artificial flowers, some of which are quite nice, some snacks she might like, and bubble bath which is a nice relaxing treat!

While there, you can also find plenty of craft supplies suitable for making your own from-the-heart cards, but also most likely a nice offering of ready-made cards, for only a buck, instead of five!

Arrange all the items in the basket you've found (or use one you already have), scrunching up the colored tissue for the base, and tie with a pretty ribbon.

The "Two Buck Chuck" from Trader Joe's is actually a fairly decent wine, although the price has gone up marginally from the original two bucks.

The "Two Buck Chuck" from Trader Joe's is actually a fairly decent wine, although the price has gone up marginally from the original two bucks.

Some Things Are Budget-Friendly, Even at Niche Markets

If you are near a Trader Joe's store, you can grab a bottle of their “Two-Buck-Chuck” wine. It's generally a pretty decent wine, and you can add that to the dollar store basket, right next to the bubble bath!

Bubble bath with wine and candles. Ahhh. relaxation!

Bubble bath with wine and candles. Ahhh. relaxation!

One Final Thought

Above all else, don't forget to tell her how much you love her! Yes, she knows, but it's nice to hear, as well. If you're feeling poetic, you can tell her your own special reasons why.

Or you can read aloud that famous poem by Robert Burns, A Red, Red Rose. (Just make sure your Scottish brogue is well tuned up!) Valentine's Day need have no corner on love.

May each and every mother enjoy a wonderful day dedicated just to her!

© 2018 Liz Elias


Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on May 16, 2018:

Awww, thanks Audrey.

Bittersweet, indeed; I'm so sorry. I know that's the kind of loss/hurt that never really goes away. But it is good that you have two children who are thoughtful (and I hope not ONLY on "mothers' day).

Yes, being assured that one is loved is always a wonderful feeling.

Bright blessings upon you!

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on May 16, 2018:


I hope you enjoyed your Mother's Day! Mine has been bitter-sweet since the loss of my firstborn. But my remaining daughter and son always remember me and I always appreciate their love and kindness.

Beautiful hub with marvelous, helpful suggestions. For me, hearing the words "I love you" touches me the most.

Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on May 10, 2018:

Hi Paula!

So sorry about your mom and sister! Those kinds of absences never get easier, and are especially hard on holidays. :-(

Yes, it's a JOB and a half, and half the time doesn't get the recognition or appreciation it deserves And the pay scale? That's not too difficult to calculate! LOL

I saw an article once that added up the value of a mother by totaling all the wages from the various jobs she performs: teacher, nurse, chauffeur, mediator, cook, dishwasher, housekeeper, laundress, etc. I forget the actual number, but it was in the 6-figure range! Much easier to calculate than to obtain monetary compensation for...and no, most moms don't expect money, yet in the case of her being laid up, and needing to replace her services, it is an important factor.

Suzie from Carson City on May 10, 2018:

Hey Dizzy! Wishing you a "Happy Mother's Day," I love this hub. Pretty flowers, chocolates, a special dinner, bubble baths.....Yes, bring it on, I'm ready for it all.

I'll be thinking a lot about some very wonderful Moms who are no longer with us, including my own Mom and my dear sister. Oh, how I miss them.

Actually, Dizzy...I know I'm one very lucky Mom. My boys are as sweet & thoughtful as can be and spoil me every day of the year, but always go one step further on Mother's Day & my birthday (which I just had in April) I like to make sure I wish a Good day to all mothers I know! Of course, we do the same for Father's Day. Dads are pretty terrific too!

Here's to all the ladies who have brought little gremlins into the world and worked hard until they became beautiful Human's a JOB!! Peace, Paula

Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on May 09, 2018:

@ Linda--Thank you; I'm glad you enjoyed my tips. I've always been one to look for the inexpensive or 'freebie' route, growing up as I did the child of a pair of Yankees! ;-)

@ Venkatachari M, True, simple, down-home family ideas are usually the best, easiest, and therefore the most stress-free way for Mom to spend her special day. Thank you for your observation.

@ carolynkaye, Awww...thanks so very much. I'm pleased I was able to give you money saving tips as well as ways to splurge.

@ Chitrangada Sharan, You are absolutely correct! Love is what it's truly all about, and the one thing all moms want and need above all else. Thank you for your wise words.

@ Shauna, Ha! your mom sounds a lot like mine. My mom LOVED crossword puzzles; the harder, the better. She even did the ones where the clues were puns! ACK! Way beyond me! Sadly, she is now on the other side, but I know she still keeps an eye out, and perhaps pulls a little joke on us now and then.

Ohmigosh! That Tim Conway bit was so funny; but the part where they are laughing the hardest, I never did figure out what was all that funny, becuase they were laughing so hard, you couldn't understand what was said!

Thanks much for your added suggestions, and may you enjoy a wonderful visit with your Mom!

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on May 09, 2018:

I love this hub, Liz. Moms are special people and I'm not just saying that because I am one!

I just mailed my mom's card today. She'll be 80 in June. Can't believe it! She doesn't act it, look it or move like she's 80. I'll be going down to visit in July. I'm looking forward to it.

Other great gift ideas are mind teaser books, crossword puzzle books (my mom works the New York Times crossword puzzle every week), a CD of her favorite artist, book written by her favorite author, funny movie, etc. Not too long ago I sent my mom a DVD of Tim Conway skits from The Carol Burnett Show just because she loves to laugh. And that she did!

Happy Mothers Day to you, Liz. Enjoy your day and celebrate you!

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on May 09, 2018:

Beautiful article about Mothers and Mother’s Day!

I think the most important thing, a mother wants is the love of her children. But a little bit of pampering sounds good, whether with gifts, flowers or any other thing.

You have some great suggestions here. Thanks for sharing!

carolynkaye from USA on May 09, 2018:

Hi Lizzy, This is a really nice Hub for Mother's Day! I like all the creative ideas for every budget. Thanks for sharing :)

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on May 08, 2018:

Great ideas for celebrating the Mother's Day. You offered some simple budget-friendly alternatives to aid the people.

A simple family celebration with a joyful and delicious dinner at home itself can be of a much satisfying event if planned beautifully.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 08, 2018:

There are some nice suggestions for celebrating Mother's Day in this article. I especially like the tip about visiting the dollar store to find craft supplies. I've found some lovely materials for crafts in the dollar store near my home. It's great to be able to create unique gifts relatively inexpensively.

Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on May 08, 2018:

Going to the movies is another great idea! If, of course, there is something playing that mom would enjoy! ;-)

What a wonderful memory you had with the salt & pepper shakers! I do know the feeling of becoming tearful when packing up the posessions of a loved one--especially a mom--who has passed.

RedElf from Canada on May 08, 2018:

My son took me to a movie for Mothers' Day - a week early because he'll be out of the country next week, but it's the thought that counts. Awesome article and great tips for creating a gift, as opposed to spending a lot of money.

My mom "collected" salt and pepper shakers, and kept every set we ever gave her for Christmas, birthdays and Mothers' Day.

We always thought they were kind of silly thing to collect, but she really seemed to like the darn things.

It took me becoming a mother myself to realize she "collected" salt and pepper shakers because they made an easy to find, and inexpensive gift for her children to feel good about giving her.

When she passed and we were packing up some things, we found dozens of sets, each one different. We shed a few tears and shared some great laughs over our memories of purchasing them for her. And she had kept every one.

Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on May 08, 2018:

Hi Nell!

Lovely to see you again. I know the holiday is celebrated on various days in various countries, but I was surprised to learn yours is that early in the calendar year. I should know better: I do know what "assume" spells! LOL

I still miss my mom, too; she's been gone now for nearly 20 years, but there's not a day I don't think of her and miss her.

Thanks much for your nice comment!

Nell Rose from England on May 08, 2018:

Lovely hub Lizzy, our Mother's day was back in March, but I do still miss my mum. Have a great Mothers day!

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