Celebrating Mother’s Day with the Perfect Gift

This was last year’s Mother’s Day vintage egreeting…so charming, I hesitated spending the time sifting through a cache of old pictures in search of a new ecard for Mother’s Day 2010.

I was ready to declare last year’s card irreplaceable when I came across this telegram dated May 8, 1935:

Wired 72 years ago, the paper is softly faded, yet bears not the slightest tear. I imagine this telegram was stored safely in a scrapbook or empty Russell Stover candy box by the recipient, Mrs. Foquet. Perhaps Beth was her daughter, and had become a mother for the first time during the past year or the message was her way of sharing the news of her first pregnancy. Whatever the reason to Beth’s sending the telegram, Mrs. Foquet deemed it a keepsake.

My mother also kept the Mother’s Day cards she received from her six children. Upon her death, cardboard boxes arrived at our doorsteps, each packed with the letters and cards we’d individually sent her throughout our entire lives. Such an amazing gift, to see in my own handwriting my love and admiration for her. Written when I was nine, I shed a few tears for the days when our relationship was not so loving. The letters continue to bring me comfort, as keepsakes do.

I, too, deem Mother’s Day a keepsake occasion, especially the offerings from my sons. I’m eternally grateful to their primary teachers for making sure I received their handmade gift efforts of a pencil holder/decorated orange juice can, handwritten poems copied word for word off the chalkboard, and recipe holders, to which I glued their senior class pictures eleven years later.

It’s interesting to note that Anna Jarvis, the creator of Mother’s Day, wouldn’t have been happy with the commercial gift-giving that is a part of today’s Mother’s Day celebration. Over 100 years old, the first Mother’s Day was organized by Anna in 1908, as a way of memorializing all mothers and their dedication to nurturing their families. As the celebration became a retailer’s holiday, Ana was known for berating those she deemed too lazy to write a personal note to the woman who’d raised them. At one point, she was arrested at a Mother’s Day celebration and charged with disturbing the peace.

Anna never married and spent her elder years in a facility. She died in 1948, without the knowledge that her care was paid for by the florist industry.

Flowers are lovely and on Mother’s Day, practically de rigueur. But when it comes to the accompanying card, Anna had it right – there is only one true gift: a handwritten note.

Tie One On…an apron, of course!


  1. Ever since my mom passed on, I’ve been a bit ambivalent about mother’s day. This really inspires me to think about what the day means for my children. I get a kick out of the fact that the floral industry was paying for Anna’s nursing home bill. This year I will cherish the handmade cards my children give me and tuck them away for the future. Thanks for a great post!

  2. So true,,,
    This year I made a small memory pillow with a photo picture of my mother & I on it…and it was accompanied with a simple floral printed card to which I wrote to my mother, “thank you for loving me”….
    I love simple mother’s day tributes.
    Not the high picthed & hard sale by mass merchandisers to buy applicances, jewelery, handbags.
    What ever happened to just simply making a handmade card, or sweet breakfast of toast & tea or even just giving mom the day off and cooking dinner for her…even a BBQ with store bought potato salad would be a treat.
    Oh, and EllynAnne…Happy Mother’s Day to you.

Leave a Reply