Mother’s Day has come and gone and now the stores are gearing up for the “Dads and Grads” season.

It’s time to think about buying more presents.

But let’s face it.  After the kids are grown and the macaroni pencil holders and hand-print artwork are not the anticipateded gifts (and you KNOW you loved those), Mother’s Day and Father’s Day come with a lot of pressure both for the parents and their off-spring.   Birthdays carry the same pressures.  What should I buy; what do they need?

It was easy to find presents for my father because he lived with me and I basically bought him something he needed: a headset for his television so that he could hear it better, slippers that gripped the floor so he wouldn’t fall, (notice that I did NOT mention a radial arm saw) etc.  Men are generally not that into gifts in the first place. But my mother …….was always difficult.  She re-gifted; she exchanged;  she actually returned the flowers I sent to her because she didn’t like the “disgusting pink bow”.  (She used to be a floral designer.)  I finally gave up and started sending gift cards.

I also know the pressures of being the gift recipient.  What if my kids don’t remember?  Will they actually send a present that gets here on time so that I DON’T think that they forgot ?  Will they sign their card with “I love you” or just their name?

With my mother, I decided to try a new tactic and it seems to be working so I wanted to share it with you.

Because she lives in another state (actually another country now), I don’t see her often.  In order to let her know that I’m thinking of her, I now send little “monetarily meaningless” gifts every so often – if she doesn’t like them, she can throw them out and it won’t upset me at all!  I have sent a miniature clipboard with a flowered notepad attached that she can keep by the phone, a box of tea in a pretty package, an antique baby cup with some pot pourri in it, pot holders (who doesn’t need a new pot holder now and then?) and various other trivial items.  Because these are unexpected surprises, there is no pressure for her to like these items and no pressure on me to make sure they’re the PERFECT gift.

So far I’m loving this tactic and may even try it out on my kids!


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