What to Do for Mother's Day

shironosov/iStock/GettyImages

Celebrating the Woman Who Means So Much

They give the best hugs and make the best cookies. They wipe away tears—and so many grosser things too. Moms truly do it all, and one day a year, the people who love them most get to show them how much they're appreciated. But after breakfast in bed is over ... what next? Whether you're planning a tribute to your own mom or hoping to nudge your loved ones into planning the perfect Mother's Day celebration for yourself, this one day has to express a year's worth of gratitude—so it can't be just another Sunday.

A Day of Pampering

One day of pampering isn't enough to make up for 364 days of hard work, but it's a start. Booking Mom a full day at the spa is pricey and would take her away from the kids who love her, so bring the spa to her instead. Putting on a cozy robe in the middle of the day is a luxury any tired mother can appreciate. Use scattered rose petals, dim lights and soothing music to set the scene; then set to work with the pampering session. Mom can soak her toes in a foot bath while the kids take turns rubbing her shoulders, followed by a (probably messy) manicure and pedicure. Finally, let her open her gift: a gift certificate for a massage or other spa service from a real pro.

Take Her Out

Never underestimate the simple joy of being served a meal that you don't have to prep, cook or clean up after. For a mother who does any significant portion of the cooking at home, a meal out at a restaurant is a treat. Better yet? Take her out for multiple meals on Mother's Day. Start with a leisurely brunch, followed by a nap at home and out to another restaurant for dinner. A day that ends without a single dirty dish hitting the sink is a special day indeed.

A Day of Service

Giving time to a charity that has special significance to Mom is a lovely tribute to her. If she lost her own mother to breast cancer, spend the day canvassing the neighborhood for donations to a breast cancer charity. Head out to her favorite walking trail with garbage bags and gloves to clean up litter, or, if she's an animal lover, volunteer to walk dogs at the local shelter. Mom may want to join the activities, or you can plan your day of service for the day before Mother's Day and spend the actual day with her at home.

Have a Tea Party

True—some moms are more into monster trucks than finger sandwiches. But, for a mother who loves all things girly and fancy, a tea party is the perfect sweet treat. Set the table with fine dishes, a lacy tablecloth and a vase of her favorite flowers. Dress up in your fanciest clothes, don white gloves, and put your pinkies up as you dine on cookies, toast points, cucumber sandwiches and pots of her favorite tea.

Netflix and Chill

By the time Sunday rolls around, many women would love nothing more than to lounge and recuperate from a busy week. For most moms, that just isn't feasible—but on Mother's Day, it is. Celebrate the stressed and overworked mom in your life by giving her the couch potato day of her dreams. Announce in the morning that you're all going to stay in pajamas all day. Give Mom the remote and let her choose the show or movie she wants to watch. Line up a selection of movies about moms to celebrate the day thematically.

Head Out Into Nature

Take advantage of the fact that spring has sprung by spending Mother's Day outdoors together. Head out for a long bike ride, take a walk along a nearby lakeshore or boardwalk, or take a family trip to the closest state park for a day of hiking and picnicking. For moms who love all things floral, visiting a local garden or flower farm might be the perfect activity. Be sure to gift her with a bouquet at the end of the day as one small way of thanking her for all that she does.