I have seen the anguish, the backlash, and the horror the comes from planning Mother's Day gifts. It is NOT always pretty. Mother's Day can be a touchy subject because it either reminds women of what they don't have or what they aren't doing. Avoid getting stuck in the crosshairs by planning something your ward will actually appreciate this year.
To be fair, you can never make every single person happy. It's not going to happen. And really, we do appreciate any effort made to honor women. However, after reading through A LOT of comments and speaking with a lot people, there are overwhelming answers that will help most have a nice Mother's Day gift from you.
The most overwhelming response was a request for the men to take over all responsibilities for a period of time during church and let all the women meet together while enjoying some type of food. This will take time to coordinate and please remember all the callings such as ward librarian. It doesn't matter if it's 15 minutes or a whole 2 hours but some kind of time to allow the women to congregate and uplift each other is most appreciated. Best case scenario? The Bishop speaks about womanhood in a special meeting while the men take care of everything else. He also purposefully leaves some time at the end for women to mingle. The best part? You don't have to buy anything.
Many appreciate food during this time as well but it is NOT necessary. Food gets harder and harder to serve due to allergies, opinions, etc. However, if you do choose food be aware of all allergies in your ward! Even having that much of certain foods around is dangerous and some people are allergic to things you would never think about.
Popular Food Themes
I am amazed at how many wards are doing this already- kudos to you. Gifts of time are truly appreciated.
As a side note- this type of gift is also more comfortable for those that don't have children because it's more about womanhood plus when the Young Women or even the Laurels are invited, it's not as awkward.
The Next Best Thing
If that's not possible, finding a sub for all the women in the ward is the next best thing. From teaching primary to doing the ward bulletin, give the women a break and allow them the opportunity to visit Relief Society. This again, is a lot of planning. The down side? It really only gives to those that have Sunday callings.
If All Else Fails
Chocolate. Yes, this is a debated topic but it is the most requested item behind the other two. Most would prefer high quality chocolate or even truffles if possible. Even a chocolate chip cookie is great. Again allergies are a problem but allergies are also a problem with flowers, anything scented including lip balms, etc. There is always going to be someone left out. If you are a planner and know of those with allergies, you could buy an alternative gift for those sisters.
But Most of All DON'T
Don't give plants of any kind- flowers, tomato plants, etc. PLEASE just don't. Through the hundreds of responses I read only a handful of people actually liked getting plants. Most throw them away because it'll die soon anyway, they don't have any place for it, or they have allergies to the plants. Plus having to carry a plant with you through the rest of church pretty much guarantees it's demise. At least when chocolate gets smashed you can still eat it.
Also don't do something for Mother's Day and nothing for Father's Day or vice versa.
What's Your Vote?
What do you like to receive for Mother's Day? Would rather get a musical CD or have a donation made instead? Tell me in the comments below.