A creative approach may be a good option for Mother's Day in a pandemic

Creativity and thoughtfulness are always welcomed by mothers when their special day rolls around each year.

Those traits are even more desirable now with the 2020 edition of Mother's Day set to be unlike any other.

The kids aren't bringing special gifts home from school this year. Scrap plans to go to Mom's favourite restaurant for traditional brunch. And physical distancing presents even more challenges.

This may be the perfect opportunity to think outside the box for Mother's Day plans.

Event planner Karen Garscadden said thoughtfulness is most important, especially when the usual Mother's Day interaction may not be possible due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I think it might make Mother's Day that much more meaningful because it's going to be more wholesome and more organic," she said. "I think it'll be special in its own way."

A driveway or window visit may be as close as a son or daughter can get this time around. However, there are still plenty of fun options and ideas that are sure to put a smile on Mom's face.

Many restaurants are offering delivery packages for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. Some caterers will arrange personal items like a "picnic in a box" as well.

"For something like Mother's Day, you want to totally personalize and make (things) really, really special for your mom," said Garscadden, who runs the Karen G Events company in Thornhill, Ont.

That could mean arranging activities online or setting up video engagements. Garscadden said it's possible to create an all-day experience for Mom if desired.

"We're going to start out with a fitness class, and then we're going to do a cooking class and then we're going to do gardening, and then we're going to watch a great movie together," she said. "And so together apart, we could be participating in a day full of activities."

If Mom lives far away, perhaps arrange to have her favourite restaurant drop off a meal you know she loves. A delivered flower arrangement would always be welcomed too.

Garscadden also suggested supplying Mom with materials for an online baking or cake decorating class. That could be another way to do something fun together on video.

"You say, 'OK at four o'clock, tune in, I'm going to be in my kitchen and you're going to be in your kitchen.' And you sort of all do the project together," she said. "So that could be fun."

Other ideas include creating a photo collage of 'treasured mom' moments or giving her a spa package that she can do from home.

Of course, maybe Mom wants a break. It could be a great idea for Dad to take the kids and give her some precious alone time.

"Go take a shower, lie in bed, play on your phone, read a book," Garscadden said. "So encouraging the other parental unit to take the kids out of the house and give (Mom) the house to herself for a couple of hours."

With more people spending time at home, a subscription to a magazine, channel, app, newspaper or audio book service could also be a good fit.

"Maybe they've never treated themselves," Garscadden said. "So this is a great opportunity. Those are sort of at-home activities that could certainly be appreciated at this COVID time."

This can also be a challenging time of year for a variety of reasons. Stress levels may be higher due to the pandemic and Mother's Day could heighten anxiety levels depending on the situation.

Kim Hellemans, a neuroscience professor at Carleton University, suggested an approach of trying to focus on what can be done this year instead of what cannot.

"The way that we can think about positive mental health is you can't control the pandemic, you have no control over that," she said from Ottawa. "You have no control over being physically distanced from your loved ones. But what you can control is your reaction to it."

For many, Sunday will also be a day for Mom or Grandma to be remembered if they're no longer with us.

However, many cemeteries will be closed to prevent large crowds from gathering.

Montreal's Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery -- the country's largest -- will not be open. A memorial mass planned for Sunday at its chapel had to be cancelled due to the pandemic.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 9, 2020.

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