Mother’s Day is advertised as a day of relaxing and pampering, but what if you get stuck with (um, I mean, “receive the honour of”) hosting the gathering to celebrate it? Naturally, you’ll want to make the experience extra nice for the assembled moms, which may include your mom, mother-in-law, grandma, sister or sister-in-law, among others.
Ideally, the task of hosting shouldn’t mean a lot of extra work – after all, it’s your day, too. The good news is that moms appreciate little things that mean a lot. Here are a few creative touches you can easily add to make the day memorable:
Mom-and-Kid Photo Shoot
Every mom secretly craves a beautiful photo of herself (with nicely styled hair, clean clothes, and no bra strap showing) with her kids. The problem is, moms rarely appear in photos because they are always the ones taking them. You can correct this phenomenon by leading a mini Mother’s Day photo shoot. Bonus points if you alert the moms a few days ahead of time, so they can choose a favourite outfit or plan to properly blow-dry their hair.
You don’t need a professional photographer, but there are a few tips to keep in mind. Outdoor photos are best because natural light is more flattering than a harsh flash. Choose a simple, natural backdrop like a flower garden, hedge or large pine tree. Take a short walk to a nearby park if your yard doesn’t have the right scenery. If the weather isn’t cooperating, find an uncluttered indoor spot that has some natural light from a window.
Take a variety of pictures – mom with each child, mom with all the kids, the whole family, multiple generations, or any other combinations you can think of. Try traditional poses as well as more casual ones. To help babies or toddlers look toward the camera, enlist someone to call out names or sing behind you as you snap away. (My sister does an energetic rendition of “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt” that guarantees great smiles.) Take multiple shots of each pose so there are a few options to choose from. Use each mom’s phone or camera to take her family’s pictures, or take them all with one device and post them on a photo sharing website for easy downloading afterwards.
Hot Beverage Service
If you’re hosting a brunch, keep the food simple with muffins, bagels or fruit. The real “wow factor” will come when you show up with personalized hot beverages for each of the moms.
To pull this off, reach out in advance to get each mom’s tea or coffee order, down to the very last detail. Use a large mailing label for each person and print (by computer or by hand) the name and beverage specifications on it. When you go to the coffee shop, simply hand over the labels to be attached to the corresponding cup. When I presented a pre-labelled mega-order at my local Tim Horton’s, the employees seemed impressed and appreciative of my efforts. If you’ll be transporting a large number of cups, bring a cardboard box with you so the drink trays don’t slide around during the drive.
The Compliment Game
While each mom is sipping her hot beverage and sighing gratefully, pull her family into another room for a quick interview. On slips of paper, write down each family member’s response to questions such as:
“What’s the best thing about your mom?”
“What is your mom really good at?”
“What was the nicest thing your mom did for you this past year?”
For younger kids, you can just have them finish the sentence: “I love my mom because…”
Once you have all the comments, pull them from a hat one at a time and read them aloud. The group gets to guess which mom the compliment is about, and who said it. If the moms involved have a good sense of humour, you can also do a bonus round with answers to the question: “What was your mom’s funniest blooper or mistake this year?” Use your best discretion and only write down blunders that are harmless and amusing, not mortifying.
One thing is for sure: all moms deserve special recognition and TLC on Mother’s Day. If you’re going the extra mile and hosting people at your house, set aside a “treat” for yourself to enjoy after everyone leaves. It could be chocolate, bubble bath, a magazine, or a highly anticipated Netflix episode. When the socializing is over, reward yourself for doing a great job that day… and every day. Happy Mother’s Day!