11 heartfelt ways to spoil mum (without hitting the shops)

Living Well | Wendy Hargreaves | Posted on 28 April 2020

Here’s how to give Mum a gift from the heart this Mother’s Day.

Remember when a last-minute dash to the shops for a Mother’s Day foot spa was standard behaviour? As the world huddles in COVID-19 lockdown, the idea of rushing anywhere for a pointless electrical appliance seems ridiculous.

Even if you go online to buy Mum a shiny new gadget, Australia’s buckling postal service will struggle to deliver by the second Sunday in May. And who has spare cash to splash anyway?

But there’s a silver lining from life in social isolation. Most of us have plenty of spare time. So bypass the servo box of chockies and set aside some time to do something from the heart. Here are a few ideas for gifts to share with your favourite matriarch on 10 May.   

Colourful paper flowers in craft studio

11 heartfelt gift ideas for mum this Mother's Day

Write a letter

When did you last sit down and pen a letter to Mum, or anyone for that matter? Hand-written letters feel slow and archaic compared to emails and texts, and that’s exactly what makes them special. 

Find the best-quality paper you can and tell Mum how much she means to you. Recall funny and poignant childhood memories in detail to make her smile. The more detail the better. What did she teach you that makes you a better person today? Thank her for everything. Then think about a home-made present. It’s the thought that counts, right? 

Make her a bunch of flowers

If you don’t have a home garden in bloom, buying a bunch of flowers can be an expensive exercise. Here’s a way to get creative and make your own paper flowers. Laneway Learning is teaching simple techniques to transform gift wrap, newspaper, crepe paper or whatever you have on hand. Join this hands-on class via Zoom on 7 May from 6.15pm to 7.30pm. And it’s a bargain at $14.

Artist Marloes  Bakker-Marsden will teach several flower styles. All you need is colourful paper, scissors, elastic bands, string or curling ribbon and skewers or pipe cleaners for stems.

Gratitude video

This Mother’s Day project is almost guaranteed to have her reaching for the tissue box (in a good way). Ask every member of your family to record heartfelt video snippets on what they love about the woman of the moment. Use a simple editing app to stick them all together into one long love message. 

Plant a kiss 

Flowers are a lovely gift, but a living plant keeps on giving and succulents are the hardiest of the lot. If you have succulents growing at home, take some cuttings and find a pretty bowl, cup, jar or any sort of container, fill it with potting mix and create a hardy little garden.

Build her a playlist

Jump into Spotify or iTunes and create a playlist of Mum’s favourite tunes, or songs that remind you of her. If she isn’t a music app native, give her instructions on how to download the app when you send her the playlist, or listen together via video call.

Rolls of white string
Pink journal sitting on table with pencils on top
Homemade body scrub


Sweet hand and body scrub

No need to spend a fortune at the cosmetics counter. These sugar scrub ingredients read more like a cake recipe, and the end result smells just as delicious. Mix 2 ½ cups of sugar with ½ cup of liquid coconut oil, 2 tablespoons of finely grated orange peel, 1½ teaspoons of vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract. Store the scrub in airtight containers (little Mason jars are perfect). It’s a lovely way to soften skin in the bath or shower. 

Journal your memories

Fill a notebook with your favourite family memories, thinking back as far as you can and adding as much detail as you can muster. Trawl through your digital snaps of holidays, family get-togethers and special occasions to jog your memory. Glue in photographs and mementos, sketch pictures and generally get creative.

String something together

Big in the ’60s and ’70s, string art is making a comeback. All you need is a block of soft wood (such as pine), some wool or string, linoleum nails and a hammer. Then draw a pattern on the wood and hammer the nails evenly along the lines before weaving the yarn. Bunnings has a great instructional video on a simple string love heart.

Brush up on your presentation skills

Why should the ubiquitous PowerPoint be the domain solely of boardroom meetings and school projects? Dig up your precious family photos for a heartfelt home presentation. When you add Mum’s favourite music, happy waterworks are almost guaranteed.

Home-made paperweight

Take the old-school pet rock idea to new heights and make a unique paperweight for Mum. Find a smooth rock in the garden and get creative. Permanent markers are a great place to start with a special message. Then add sequins, feathers, buttons, paint… whatever you create, she’ll think of you every time she uses it. 

Garden markers

It’s easy to get lost in the online world of Etsy when looking for Mother’s Day inspiration. Garden markers are as cute as they are practical, and they’re easy to make. All you need are wooden spoons, acrylic paint, permanent markers and any other bits you’d like to stick on.