The same thing happens to me every year:
I ask my mom what she wants for Mother’s day, and she tells me, “I don’t want anything.” So, I get her a nice card. Then, about a day or two before Mother’s day, I get a call from my dad.
“Theresa, what did you get you’re mom for Mother’s day?”
“Um… I got her a card.”
“Just a card?”
“…Yeah, Dad. Just a…”
There isn’t a physical explosion, but my Dad doesn’t hesitate to show his disapproval at my lack of gift.
The sad thing is, the whole thing reverses on Father’s day. A few years ago, I told my parents that will be getting them gifts on Mother’s and Father’s days whether they want anything or not. The thing is, I am poor and cannot always afford a good gift, so the guilt trip continues and now includes birthdays and Christmas.
But, this past Christmas I figured out how to get away with a small budget and big expectations.
First, I don’t buy presents anymore – I’m too poor for that most of the time. However, I can make things for her. And no, she doesn’t need another scarf, but one year I made her some potholders for the kitchen table. I also beaded the word MOM onto a magnet. She still has both gifts.
But, that store of gift-giving ran out of appeal, too. Now I’m giving my mom experiences. One time we went to one of those pottery-painting places (which didn’t pan out) and sometimes I take her out to lunch or make her breakfast. Since I’m almost thirty, me making her breakfast isn’t the horror story it was when I was little.
But, when I’m in a bind, I go to a dollar store. When I was in high school the band did a Secret Santa exchange, and I drew the name of the girl who sat next to me. She liked Nascar and a specific racer, but I figured she probably already had all the paraphernalia for those that she could want. So, I went to the dollar store for ideas (and because we had a maximum $10 limit). I knew from her little idea card that she liked red, so I got her a little red stocking and stuffed it with a little red Hot Wheels, a red candy bar, and a couple other red knicknacks. All in all, not a bad gift.
Lottery scratchers are also a good gift. You can get ten of them for $10, and they can keep buying more from their winnings until they run out of money (as my parents do) or they can play and spend their winnings. As long as nobody belongs in a Gambler’s Anonymous meeting, everything should be fine.
So, what did I get my mom for Mother’s day this year? Can’t tell you, since she’s likely to read this before she gets her gift. But what are some of your ideas for affordable gift-giving?