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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

Dont worry about whether you've got access to all the photos you'd like to include. It doesn't have to be perfect to be meaningful.

NOTES: Have your children write down the top five things they love about their grandma. Their own handwriting and spelling is precious. Here's my son Oliver's letter to his Grammie ("Gramy," as he spells it). I asked him about the artwork at the bottom, and he said it means that Grammie is colorful and fun and she loves art.

VIDEO: Make a video of your kids sharing their favorite memories and/or singing "Happy Mother's Day" (to the tune of "Happy Birthday to You"). If you upload your video to YouTube, you can easily send the link to your mom and/or grandma.

POSTERITY: Gather photos of all your mom's children and grandchildren and make a collage that shows individual shots of all your moms' posterity. You could put them all into a huge photo collage frame (my sister did this for my mom one year). Another idea is to gather some favorite family photos over the years and create a simple collage with those. I made this one below for my mom.

GIFT CERTIFICATES: Create a special personalized gift certificate for your mom from you. The certificate could be for an afternoon together doing something she loves, a favorite treat or dinner you'll make for her, etc. You could also help your kids create gift certificates of their own for Grandma. The certificates could be for hugs, songs they'll sing to her, doing a job for her at her house next time you're there, etc. There are lots of nice templates online that you can use. The one below is from a group of nicely designed templates that you can personalize at Certificate Street. But handmade works great, too.

ART: Create some original art that captures how you feel about your mother or have your kids create art for their grandmother. I asked my 9-year-old daughter Eliza to make something — whatever she wanted — for her grandma. She came up with this beautiful piece. She said the "G" in the middle stands for grandma and that all the pink is for love, and all the spikes are for excitement, and the happy faces are for happiness, and the purple is because purple is Grandma's favorite color and the waves are for calmness.

RECORDED MEMORIES: Record yourself sharing your favorite memories with your mom (you could call it something like "The 5 Best Stories Featuring My Mom"). Put it on a cassette tape, a CD or simply an audio file. You could even use freeconferencecall.com (we use it for our podcasts) to discuss favorite memories with your siblings, record the call (it's so easy) and send your mom the MP3 file (seriously not hard at all). Just set up a time and have everyone call the phone number provided.

MUSIC:

Make a CD of favorite songs from growing up. What lullabies did your mom sing? What were her favorite songs to listen to in the car? What songs remind you of fun times together as a family?

For Your Mom-Friends

Many of our good friends are moms, and while we'll probably want to focus on our own moms, mothers-in-law and grandmas when it comes to Mother's Day, it's nice to do something simple for our friends as well. These ideas take just a few minutes at your computer and could mean a whole lot.

Send a quick email or handwritten note to a few moms you admire or who've impacted your life in meaningful ways. Is there someone whose example has really made a difference to you? Someone who's helped you in a time of need? A simple note stating what you've seen in them that made a difference to you could mean so much! I received a note one Mother's Day from a woman who usually sat a few rows behind me at church. It said, "I've noticed how you lovingly help your children behave so appropriately in church." After years of working so hard (and often failing) to help my children sit reverently in church, it was such a treat to receive that note! I told her that I really appreciated her note, but she'll never know what a sense of accomplishment that note gave me. It was like finally getting an "A" in a class that was a real challenge.

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