Mother's Day : Creative Homemade Gifts
Creative Gift Giving Ideas for Mother's Day
'Outside the box' of candy, jewelry and flowers
By Chris Dunmire
In the weeks leading up to Mother's Day we're bombarded with television, radio, and Internet advertising telling us what 'Mom wants' on her special day. (Or perhaps it's really big business telling us what they want us to buy from them.)
This pattern repeats itself each year like the design on a bolt of fabric. Jewelers parade their precious metals and stone-embedded creations before our eyes. Candy companies assure us that it's their rich, chocolaty nutty nougats Mom craves. Flower companies remind us that a bouquet of roses is the standard fare to 'say it' best.
And, of course, greeting card companies always have a staple claim in the celebration no matter what the gift or occasion is.
Ah yes, and then there's the practical side to the gifting opportunity manufacturer's bet on. Instead of giving something romantic or frivolous, family members use the Mother's Day opportunity to buy something Mom needs: a kitchen gadget, housekeeping appliance, or the latest self-help book featured in Oprah's book club. (Just watch the sales papers in those weeks leading up to the BIG DAY and see how attractive those Hoover vacuums and George Foreman grills get!)
And it's completely fine if your Mom likes and wants jewelry, candy, and flowers; or needs a new dishwasher or self-help book. And if she does, choosing your Mother's Day gift will be easy as pie. But if you're thinking about gifting her something a little more 'outside of the box' this year for Mother's Day, read on, because you're about to be inspired.
It's the Thought that Counts, Isn't It?
Keeping in mind that the thought behind the gift is what truly counts in any gift-giving relationship, you might consider making something filled with loving intention and heartfelt effort. It's easy to go to a department store and spend $20, $50, or $100 on something you can have the store gift wrap for you to bring home, but why not use that same money to invest in some art and craft supplies from your favorite crafting store and spend a few hours creating a more meaningful gift from you to her.
Need some ideas? Craft stores like Michael's, Hobby Lobby, and Jo-Ann Fabrics are keyed in to the demands of the creative gift giver around Mother's Day and offer tons of gift giving ideas and inspiration down their aisles and on their Web sites. Still need a nudge? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Mother's Day Greeting Cards
There's no rule that a Mother's Day card needs to mimic anything you see in a traditional greeting card aisle. Use your creative imagination to design a card that reflects your unique relationship with your Mom or something that she loves.
Card Material: Design your card on (or using) a variety of unusual papers or card stocks, or on 'untraditional' surfaces like wood, paint canvas, felt, foam, or fabric. Sheets of tissue papers, scrapbooking backgrounds, wrapping papers, and acid-free card making papers are available in a wide variety of designs, textures, and colors.
Card Size and Shape: Make the card big or small. Fold it book-style or in quarters. Shape it circular or triangular. Design it as a 3D cube collage or other interesting sculpture. Remember, an envelope isn't mandatory!
Card Art and Decorations: A walk down the rubber stamping and scrapbooking aisles will reveal endless options for designing and decorating your card. Rubber stamping, stencils, collage, decoupage, glitter, stickers, wood, foam, felt, and fabric are all creative fun. Mix and match as you wish, just don't go overboard.
In-Store Inspiration: Still don't know where to start? Sign up for one of the store's mini workshops in the weeks leading up to Mother's Day, or browse their book section for greeting card making (and similar topic) books. Open one up for instant inspiration! Your local library will also have books you can check out for free on crafts, cards, and gift making.
Crafting the Perfectly Different Mother's Day Gift
This is one of the best parts of the Mother's Day gift: creating something that can't be bought off the shelf. And if you still believe the best gift for your mom is a bouquet of flowers or a fine piece of jewelry, make it extra special by creating a one-of-a-kind design for her yourself.
Jewelry Pieces: A quick browse through the bead and jewelry making section of any store (or online) offers hundreds of gems, stones, wood, and other synthetic jewelry making materials you can use to design earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. You can even custom-design unusual shapes and decorated beads from clay (see below).
Flower and Wreath Arrangements: If flowers are Mom's thing, make your own paper flowers or visit a florist (or the floral section of a store) to hand pick a bouquet of her favorite flowers and other greens in a variety of colors, textures, and materials (silk and plastic last forever!) Choose a unique planter and some florists foam, and design a beautiful spring centerpiece for her. Give scented oils or candles with the arrangements for a nice aroma-therapy add-on.
Shadow Boxes: Combine your art and design skills with some precious mementos and make mom a shadow box she'll treasure for years to come! Base shadow boxes are usually found near the picture frames and come in a variety of shapes and sizes for an endless array of gifting creativity. (And they're less expensive than buying them in greeting card stores.)
Framed Art and Prints: Does your mom have a favorite author or artist? You can buy prints of famous art by Monet, Picasso, Rembrandt (and others) and then have them custom framed to match her home decor. You can also buy inspirational posters by SARK, Georgia O'Keeffe, or Anne Geddes and mount them in less-expensive stock frames. Or if you're an artist yourself, consider creating and giving her an original work of your own art!
Clay Sculptures: Do you like working with clay? Consider creating a unique sculpture, keychain, or jewelry elements with FIMO or Polymer Clay.
When it comes to artistically crafting a gift for Mother's Day, you can see the options are endless. All it takes is some planning, a trip to the craft store, and a few hours of your time to make mom a precious gift from the heart.
And if you just feel mom deserves much more than what you can create on your own, consider combining your special creation with a traditional gift or a gift certificate to her favorite store, spa, or restaurant. And remember, give from your heart, and your gift is surely to be remembered and cherished for years to come. •
© 2005, 2007 Chris Dunmire. All Rights Reserved.
Chris Dunmire is the founder of the award-winning Creativity Portal community. She's studied creativity coaching with Eric Maisel, PhD, and Kaizen-Muse founder Jill Badonsky, MEd, and inspires artists, writers, and creatives at every level to find and express their unique voice. More »