I used to stress about what to get my mom for Mother’s Day. For years they were flowers, cards, clothes or even decorative elements for her house. As I got older, I realized that the things she kept and bragged about the most were the things that cost little or nothing but came from true love. You know, the handprint in plaster and/or paint, the mug with the picture of us together at the zoo, and the glitter-covered handwritten card that said nothing more than “I love you, Mom.”

Well, I’m not a kid anymore, but I still notice that my mom likes best gifts that create or retell good memories together.

It was at that very moment that I knew I had to do something different at my Mother’s Day gift-giving. She needed more of me and us and much less just for her. Moms aren’t about taking, it’s about giving… especially giving yourself to those you love the most. I needed a Mother’s Day gift that would not only show that I appreciated everything she had done for me, but also remind her that our time together really meant something she couldn’t miss.

Now that I know the real secret to what mom really wants for Mother’s Day, it’s become one of my favorite holidays and one we both look forward to every year.

These are just two of the ideas that have kept my mom bragging for months to her friends and the rest of the family.

Mother’s Day Gift Idea #1: The Keepsake Letter

I got this idea from the old glitter covered card I still had from my school days. I just took it to a new level.

Very simple, I downloaded some free stationery pages to use as decoration. Then I sat down and made a list of some of the best moments I’ve ever had where my mom played a big part. Vacations, shopping trips, long drives to sporting events, anything that brought a vision of my mother into my head. The bad times she made better for me were even better.

So I just sat down and put those stories on paper. You know… “Dear Mom, do you remember when…” and I filled several pages with those vivid memories. In the end, I just wrote, “Mom, it’s the little things you did that I’ll always remember the most.”

Then I printed out the stationery pages (I have lousy handwriting, so I typed them) in the stationery downloads and sealed them in a nice envelope that said, “To the mother with love – Don’t open until Mother’s Day” and put that envelope inside another to send by mail.

They told me that tears of joy fell for days and she reads the letter several times a year. I got the biggest hug in the world the next time I was home for a visit.

Mother’s Day Gift Idea #2 – The Photo Memory Journal

The idea for this one came from the photo mug I made for him when he was a teenager. Again, I just took the basic idea and moved it up a few runs up the ladder.

This happens in two parts. part One, purchase an inexpensive journal or journal at your local retail store or bookstore. If you’re really strapped for cash, you can also download some free digital stationery page templates, print a few pages, and tie them together with a ribbon or lace. Your mom will not care how much it costs, since it will be the second part that makes the gift.

The second part:

This is what really makes it special. Plan a day (rain or shine) that you both have off, preferably just a few days after Mother’s Day. You can do it before, but I think it’s better if the second part happens after. Choose a special place, such as a garden, park, tea room, or other photogenic place. You can even plan an afternoon tea followed by a trip to the tropical gardens etc.

On the first page of the journal, you’ll put the expected date, pick-up time, and a note to dress for rain, dress for casual wear, or dress for formal wear. Nothing else but Happy Mother’s Day Mom and your signature.

The anticipation will build over the next few days leading up to the event and that serves to set the mood and ground the memory. If your area is prone to spring rain/snow or other similar weather, make sure you have backup planned if it’s not an indoor event.

The real key is that you are going to do something special together and you will be taking pictures and journaling memories to go along with it. I even had the rest of the family show up at the end and had professional photos of the entire family taken…for the first time in over 10 years. My point is that you can do this for next to nothing or you can, if you have the means, spend a little money and get professional help. The result is the same… Joy and a new treasured memory you made together that will be cherished for many years to come.

Now that you get the idea, take a look around your mom’s house and in her closets…ask her if she still has any of your childhood gifts or art projects. Then use a little imagination and turn it into an updated Mother’s Day she won’t soon forget.

One last note.

We filled just a few of the pages of that first diary with memories and photos. Now, we plan little trips together a couple of times a year so we can complete the rest of the book. She treasures these times more than I can tell you and one day when she is no longer with me I have no doubt that I will be treasuring the book even more.

Memories of Happy Mother’s Day…

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