Meaningful Mother’s Day Ideas

Mother’s Day is this Sunday, and if you’re like most of us, you’re still figuring out what you’re going to do for Mom. In America, Philadelphian Anna Jarvis began campaigning in 1906 for a day on which American would celebrate their mothers.  After only three years of speaking at church meetings and sending letters to government representatives and businesses, Jarvis convinced 46 states to celebrate Mother’s Day.  In 1914, during the Wilson administration, Mother’s Day became a national holiday, celebrated annually on the second Sunday in May.

Happy Mother's DayMother’s Day is celebrated differently around the world, often taking on religious connotations.  The earliest celebrations, for example, date back to the Ancient Greek celebration of Rhea, the Mother of the Gods.  Greek celebrations ranged from wild festivals that were eventually banned in certain areas to eating honey cakes and sharing flowers on the morning of the celebration.  In many parts of England during the middle ages, “Mothering Day” provided a one-day reprieve from Lent fasting and a day off for servants to visit their families.

Mother’s Day still has religious aspects in some cultures, but for most around the world, it is a day to celebrate Mom’s in whatever expression best fits the individual and culture.  Although the pressure exists to commercialize Mother’s Day, there are lots of other ways to show your Mom you appreciate her that don’t involve buying jewelry or a lavish bouquet.  Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Give Mom a day off.  Cook meals, do some housework (inside and out!), or run errands.  If your mom is like mine and doesn’t like other people doing her work, offer to do these things with her, if not on Mother’s Day, then a day in the near future.  Doing housework or cooking together can be particularly meaningful and a great time to catch up on lost conversation.
  2. Make a donation in her honor.  If your mom is one of those women who has everything she needs or is socially conscious, make a donation to her favorite charity in her honor.
  3. Share an experience.  Take your mom to the movies, a local play or concert, a museum, or even just out for coffee.  Often experiences can be more meaningful and memorable than things.
  4. Support your mom’s health.  Whether she’s been too busy to take care of herself or just neglectful, offer to take your mom to her next mammogram or other doctor’s appointment. She’ll feel supported and you’ll be able to provide an extra set of eyes and ears.  Or, support your mom’s health by taking her to a nutritionist or giving her a subscription to a healthy magazine such as Cooking Light, Real Simple, or Health.
  5. Go the traditional route and make brunch for Mom and the family.  If you do, here’s a great—and slightly healthy—recipe for French Toast Casserole that I made last year.

French Toast Casserole
Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

24 slices cinnamon-raisin bread
4 cups milk
2 cups egg substitute, divided (or eight eggs)
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 blocks reduced fat cream cheese

  1. Lightly spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. Trim crusts from bread.  Place half of the bread on the bottom of the pan.
  3. In a large bowl, combine milk, 1½ cups egg substitute, and ½ cup sugar in a large bowl.  Pour half of the mixture over the bread in the pan.
  4. Combine ½ cup egg substitute, ½ cup sugar, cream cheese and cinnamon in a food processor and blend until smooth.  Spread cream cheese mixture over the bread in the pan. Arrange the remaining bread slices on top of the cream cheese mixture and pour remaining milk mixture over the bread.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Uncover casserole and bake for one hour.  Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing.  Serve warm with maple syrup.  Enjoy!

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