wooden heart surrounded by clover and dandelion flowers

Grandma Jennie loved Mother’s Day. I could give her a bouquet of roses and a beautiful card and she was as happy as could be.

My mom, on the other hand, never wanted flowers. She gave my siblings and me an earful about how they were “too expensive” and “they don’t last.” But she did like cards (especially if they had some scratch-off lottery tickets in them). She usually displayed her Mother’s Day cards on top of her TV for about two weeks so she could enjoy the greetings from her children and grandchildren.

To celebrate Mother’s Day, we usually took Mom out for a meal at our favorite clam bar. She would order her favorite dish, linguine with white clam sauce — and of course sangria with lots of fruit in it. We would also give her some money to go to the casino at a later date and spend a few hours having fun. My sister Virginia always gave Mom her favorite night cream (Mom wouldn’t buy it for herself because it was too expensive); it was our go-to gift for Mom for any occasion.

I wonder what I would have done for Mother’s Day this year if Mom were still around. Because of the COVID-19 crisis, restaurants are closed and the local casino has been converted to hospital space.

I think that I would reserve a takeout order for some barbecue (another one of Mom’s favorites). Maybe I’d order an edible bouquet of chocolate-covered fruit and buy some nice sangria for our meal — or better yet, make the sangria. I think that she would have also enjoyed a small gift bag full of scratch-off lottery tickets. And of course, there is always the night cream!

When I think back on it, Mom’s gifts were pretty sustainable. We ate in a local restaurant and bought the wine, lottery tickets, and face cream locally. Even the casino was right in our borough of Queens.

Best of all, Mom savored and enjoyed all of her presents and wasted nothing. I think that is the key to enjoying Mother’s Day: Tailor the gifts and experiences to mamma’s likes so nothing is wasted and enjoy the day!

Feature image by pasja1000 from Pixabay 

By Joanna Lacey

Joanna Lacey lives in New York and has collected thousands of ideas from the frugal habits of her mother and grandmother. You can find her on Facebook at Joanna the Green Maven.