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How to make Mother's Day a celebration with less stress and more meaning (+gift ideas)

By Saren Eyre Loosli

Power of Moms

Published: Saturday, May 10 2014 3:02 p.m. MDT

Saren Eyre Loosli and her children.

Power of Moms

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Mother's Day can be such a wonderful day. It's a great time to be with our kids and think about our mothers and celebrate all that we have and are as moms.

But Mother's Day can also be stressful. What can you do for your mom, grandma and mother-in-law that would mean a lot to her? What are your husband and kids planning? Sometimes our hopes and expectations of ourselves and our loved ones can get a little out of whack and rob us of the beautiful things the day can offer.

To help you figure out how to make this Mother's Day full of meaningful giving and reduce the stress that can be involved, here are some relatively simple, tried-and-true ideas for you — and some you might want to pass along to your husband and kids (they generally appreciate some "hints"). You'll see that the ideas here are mostly things you can do with a computer, a camera, and paper and crayons because that's what I know.

For your Mom, Grandma and Mother-in-Law

Sometimes we get caught up in the lovely gift ideas we see on Pinterest, on blogs, etc. I think it's important to keep focused on what would really mean the most to our moms and what would best fit with our abilities and bandwidth. Our moms love to be remembered and honored, but fairly simple, heartfelt things often mean the most. Here are some ideas I've done and some I've gathered from others and hope to do one of these years.

MEMORIES: Write your mom an email or handwritten note including some favorite memories you have with her. Include photos if you can. If you live near your mom, you could treat her to lunch and/or a manicure or pedicure. While you're together, tell her about some of your favorite memories with her or share specific things you appreciate about what she did for you growing up. Here's one favorite memory of mine that I shared with my mom and emailed to her along with a photo (I did five memories and five photos. My mom likes emailed stuff that she can keep digitally, but some moms would rather have a hard copy):

When I was 6, I remember shopping with you for a new coat and I found one that I absolutely fell in love with — gray/blue velvet with fake fur trim — the most beautiful coat I'd ever seen. But it was wasn't exactly cheap, and you were all about shopping on the sales racks and making do with whatever was a good price. So I was over the moon when you agreed to buy me that coat. It was my most cherished piece of clothing for years. And then one day it disappeared from the school cloakroom. That was a sad, sad day for me. Here's the coat (and my best friends, my sisters).

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT YOU: Create a simple list or a little book of specific things you and your kids love about your mom or mother-in-law (you could also include favorite things from your siblings and their children). For a gift that keeps giving all year long, you could include 52 things, one thing for each week of the year. Here's a really easy idea for making a "jar of love"; your mom can pull out one thing a week for a full year (click here for instructions). Even my non-crafty self could totally handle this one:

PHOTOS: Gather favorite photos of your mom with her children and grandchildren (you might have to secretly raid your mom's photo albums and get friendly with your scanner). Create a collage if you like, put a favorite photo in a frame, make a little photo album, or simply email or create a blog post of some old photos that will bring a smile to her face.

Here's a nice collage I found online (you could do photos of all your moms grandchildren around the edges or photos of yourself growing up). Click here for an actual template for making a collage/book like this for your mom or grandma.

I recently did a special post on my personal blog as a tribute to my mom where I gathered tons of great photos of her into one place. (Click here to see my whole blog post about my mom, if you like.) She loved it so much! And I'm glad to have so many favorite photos in one place now.

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