Activism 101: 10 Alternatives to Flowers for Mother’s Day

With Mothering Sunday just around the corner, florists are doing roaring business, restaurants are booked solid and chocolates are flying off the shelves.

Our mothers – and mother figures – are very lucky indeed… and we are lucky to have them in our lives, be they our biological mother, adopted mother, foster mother, grandmother, godmother and even aunts.

For those searching for an alternative to the flowers, chocolate and meal-out options, or perhaps for those who are searching for a meaningful way to commemorate Mother’s Day while supporting the cause to end violence against women, here are 10 alternatives to the traditional gifts:

Alternative to Flowers 1: Volunteer together! If your mom is active in your community – or even if she is not – it’s worth suggesting to her that the two of you could spend Mother’s Day morning volunteering at your local women’s shelter or rape crisis centre to help bring some joy to the mothers and children there. Have a nice lunch or dinner together afterwards.

Alternative to Flowers 2: Spread  Some Sweetness. If you and your mom enjoy baking, consider baking a batch of cookies, muffins, brownies, pies, cake and/or other sweet treats for the women and children at your local women’s shelter. Deliver it to the shelter in person and ask to help distribute it to the women and children. Share the experience of spreading smiles amongst mothers and their kids who have not had a reason to smile in a very long time.

Alternative to Flowers 3: Become Patrons. Get together with your mom to select a anti-Violence Against Women nonprofit/charity which you can jointly support for one whole year. Support can come in the form of volunteering together for a year, making recurring small donations to them or taking part in their campaigns.

Alternative to Flowers 4: Share the Day. If you are taking your mom out for a Mother’s Day meal and you know a woman who is suffering from domestic violence or recovering from rape, consider inviting her along and treating her to a meal. This may be the only respite she can get and it’s an understated way to show that you both care if you feel uncomfortable about talking about it.

Alternative to Flowers 5: Smart Shopping. If you prefer to buy your mother a beautiful gift, consider buying products from companies, co-ops and non-profits whose products and merchandise are sold to raise funds to support the end to violence against women. Some recommendations: Emerge Global has a jewellery range made by sexual abuse survivors in Sri Lanka. If your mom prefers perfumes etc, Avon is one of the few companies whose charitable foundation focuses on ending domestic violence.

Alternative to Flowers 6: Get Reading! If your mom is an avid reader, consider getting her a book (or e-book if she has an e-Reader) about violence against women. Some recommendations: Nick Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s Half the Sky, Lisa Shannon’s A Thousand Sisters: My Journey into the Worst Place on Earth to be a Woman and Nujood Ali’s I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced.

Alternative to Flowers 7: Get Watching! If your mom is a movie fan/film buff, consider getting her a movie which includes themes about violence against women as a thoughtful Mother’s Day gift. The movie need not be a no-holds-barred documentary, but it could be something ultimately uplifting that both of you could watch together and talk about later on. Some recommendations: Practical Magic weaves themes of dating violence into a magical settingWhat’s Love Got To Do With It showcases Tina Turner’s journey from an abused wife to independent superstar. If your mom is a documentary fan, try Sin by Silence by Olivia Klaus.

Alternative to Flowers 8: Get writing! If you’re a regular blogger with an interest in women’s issues including violence against women, take up the challenge of writing a thoughtful Mother’s Day blog post dedicated to your mom while raising awareness about violence against women. Post it. Share it. Submit it for a Mother’s Day blog carnival. Talk about it with your mom.

Alternative to Flowers 9: The YouTube Declaration. Get your digital recording camera out to record a YouTube declaration against violence against women dedicated to your mom. Submit it to The Pixel Project’s Wall of Support campaign and share the YouTube link with your mom.

Alternative to Flowers 10: Donate in Her Name. Make a small donation to a charity/nonprofit organisation working to end violence against women of your mom’s choice in her name. Send a cheque to your local anti-Violence Against Women nonprofit. Alternatively, go digital by donating to online fundraisers such as our Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign. A little as US$5.00 can buy a child in Women’s Aid Organisation’s refuge two nutritious hot meals per day or provide a free NCADV handbook for U.S. domestic violence survivors to help them get back on their feet again.

– Regina Yau, Founder and President, The Pixel Project

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