A Mother’s Day Less Plastic

By Rebecca Rockefeller

Celebrate your favorite mom(s) and your favorite Mother Earth in plastic-free style this coming Mother’s Day.

While the old-fashioned advice that “a hand-made present is the best” still stands, of course, you may have reached a point where you’d like to gift your mother with something other than a ceramic creation from art class, or a necklace of fresh nutmeg (just two of the many hand-made gifts I’ve given to my own mom over the years). We’ve got a few ideas, and we’d love to hear from you about plastic-free, zero waste Mother’s Day gifts that are wonderful to give and to receive.

Give the Gift of Experience:

Remember all the things your mother taught you to do? Now’s your chance to pay her back in kind. Has she always wanted to climb a mountain? Does she love to bake? Write? Garden? Relax? Learn? Travel? Whatever your mom’s favorite activity, there’s bound to be a gift certificate to a class, lecture, trek, or other activity. It’s best to gift your mom with the promise and let her choose the dates herself to insure that she can actually enjoy your generosity.

Trekking in Nepal. Photo © Liesl Clark

Trekking in Nepal. Photo © Liesl Clark

Give the Gift of Good in Mom’s Name:

Make a donation to your mom’s favorite charity or non-profit in her honor. If she doesn’t have one yet, find a group whose mission is in line with something your mother holds dear, or a value she instilled in you. I’m sure your mom didn’t raise you to throw your money away, did she? Make sure your donation will actually end up doing good by looking up the organization you’re interested in with a tool such as Charity Navigator.

Help Bring Literacy to Nepal. Photo © Liesl Clark

Help Bring Literacy to Nepal. Photo © Liesl Clark

Give the Gift of Service:

If you live close enough, sign yourself up for work! Mothers always have chores to assign, no matter how old their children are. Can’t do the work yourself? Consider a gift certificate for house cleaning, gardening, gutter cleaning, home or office organization; pick your mom’s least favorite chore and take it off her list for at least one week. If she really doesn’t have any chores to do, volunteer your time in her honor at a local community service organization, or plant a garden in her name and donate the produce to your local food bank. Don’t just tell Mom that she taught you to make the world a better place – Show her that you’re doing just that!

Give the Gift of Gratitude:

Write your mom an old-fashioned letter telling her exactly why you love her. This works even for families where feelings aren’t normally expressed. If your mom is too shy to talk about it, she’d still love to hear, in your own words, that you love her and that you’re grateful for everything she’s done for you. It doesn’t have to be a long letter, or in fancy words. Just tell the truth, plain and simple and straight from your heart.

Cleo's Handiwork

Need a Mom to Love On?

Visit your local senior center or nursing home and ask if there’s a woman there who could use a little Mother’s Day attention. Cheer someone up with your company, your best listening skills, and maybe some fresh flowers or a plant for their windowsill. Know a single mom? Chances are she’d love a bit of recognition for everything she does, especially if her children are young and unlikely to let her sleep in on Sunday morning. Even a simple note or phone call telling her what a great mom she is will likely be much appreciated. Have a friend who has lost her children? Shower her with love, following her lead – She may have a Mother’s Day ritual she finds solace in, or she may want company to distract her – It never hurts to ask and to support her with your presence or your absence, as she desires.

Have a Favorite Mother’s Day Tradition?

Our Mother's Day Tradition is Baking Strawberry Rhubarb Pie. Photo © Liesl Clark

Trash Backwards Co-founder Liesl Clark’s Mother’s Day Tradition is Baking Strawberry Rhubarb Pie. Photo © Liesl Clark

We’d love to hear from you! Is there a special way that your family celebrates Mother’s Day, something that doesn’t involve shopping or plastic-wrapped gifts? Please do let us know. We’d love to share a link to your blog post, article, or photo in our database of life less plastic ideas at TrashBackwards.com.

Click Through For Environmentally-Friendly Party & Gift Ideas at Trash Backwards

Click Through For Environmentally-Friendly Party & Gift Ideas at Trash Backwards

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Categories: DIY, Plastic-Free Living, Think About It, Trash Pile - All Our Stuff


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5 Comments on “A Mother’s Day Less Plastic”

  1. May 10, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

    While I have been working for years to convince my adult sons I don’t want or need gifts on mothers say, both do something each year. My eldest son and his wife bake something which they bring to enjoy with me. My youngest this year was proud of his choice. He knows I use the library for almost all my reading, but some things just aren’t available. He also knows I like to reuse and when I shop would rather buy used. His gift to me was a gift card to Half-price books, and he, his wife and 2 year old joined me shopping. It was a fun time for all and fit my values perfectly….now to convince him he doesn’t have to give me gifts!

  2. May 10, 2013 at 8:26 pm #

    What a lovely family you have, Lois! That is the perfect gift.

  3. May 12, 2013 at 8:21 am #

    Reblogged this on Rock Farmer and commented:

    Happy Mother’s Day to all of those who celebrate it – Here’s a quick round-up of ideas less plastic that I wrote up for Trash Backwards. I’m celebrating with a cup of coffee and a morning reading of Harry Potter with my girls.

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