Gracias, Madre

“Just don’t get me anything for Mother’s Day. A card is all I need.” Are you sure, Mom? I know that the women in our lives often have everything they need, and it’s hard to find the perfect, practical, price-friendly gift for anyone on any occasion, especially mothers with high standards on their one day of the year. For moms, birthdays remind them that they’ve aged another year, and wedding anniversaries can grow duller with the decades. Mother’s Day is when the spotlight is on them, and they can truly shine.

Since Mother’s Day is Sunday, you literally have days to find a gift or card for the mother figure in your life. Whether it’s your mother, grandmother, godmother, sister, aunt, or close friend, show them how much you admire the maternal role they play in your life and others’. Give them a gift that reflects a comparable mother — Mother Earth. Yes, it’s cheesy, and probably what you expected, but ever since you were in nursery school, the women in your life probably appreciated every art project you ever hand-crafted. Parents hoard their children’s artwork because work by hand demonstrates an immeasurable labor and inexplicable beauty that is priceless. Since we no longer finger-paint, why not give them something similar — something made by nature?

Handmade soaps from a farm in Virginia, sold at the Dupont Circle Farmer's Market in DC.
Handmade soaps from a farm in Virginia, sold at the Dupont Circle Farmer’s Market in DC.

Handmade soap is one of my most frequently given gifts for Mother’s and Father’s Day. Often sold at the Dupont Circle Farmer’s Market, and probably many others throughout the city, these bars of soap are incredibly fragrant, vivid in color, and often can be packaged in beautiful wrapping by the vendor. If you don’t have time to slip by a farmer’s market the day of Mother’s Day, you can also try to make soap at home. Regardless of where you get it, handmade soap is a natural and simple gift that will be a much-appreciated addition to your mother’s bathroom sink.

A slightly pricier but similar gift is a product from Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics. One of my personally favorite stores, Lush is the mecca of handmade bath and beauty products: from face masks, to their renowned bath bombs, to lip balm, hair treatments, body butters, shower gels, and much more, Lush has it all. Furthermore, they have an exemplary company green policy, and all of their stores in 46 countries use 100% recycled materials and follow their mission of ethical buying. Fun fact: they also gift-wrap their soaps in colorful scarves, but at an additional cost. Lush has over 800 stores worldwide, and one is probably located near you!

A LUSH store the author visited in Santa Monica, California.
A LUSH store the author visited in Santa Monica, California.

To add to your mother’s love for soft skin, you have to let her succumb to her sweet tooth. Equal Exchange is just one of many brands of fair trade chocolate; it’s guilt-free as a consumer, and also pretty healthy for you with its high content in cacao. All organic, the chocolate bars range from Milk, Dark, and Very Dark Chocolate, to additional ingredients of coconut, raspberry, caramel, hazelnut, and more. Equal Exchange also sells amazing ground coffee — my family friends have raved so much about the French Roast in particular that I give it to them annually. While it does cost about $10 for 10 to 12 ounces of coffee, Starbucks Coffee can cost $15-35 for a bag of 8.8 oz coffee, and while it may be exotic, it still isn’t fair trade. Equal Exchange is a worker-owned cooperative that supports small-scale farmers and their families in Central and South America. They are affiliated with Fair for Life and Small Producers, a member of the Fair Trade Federation, and have a Gold rating from Green America.

It’s always safe to buy a Hallmark card and a coupon for the Cheesecake Factory, but you can make this Mother’s Day truly special for the ones you love. Just as they brought you into this world or have cared for you with a loving heart, give a present that shows your affection for this planet and your ability to be charitable and love others as well.

© Rissponsible Living, 2015

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