It's your mom's birthday and you want to do something that shows her how much you care. Throwing her a special dinner does this beautifully by taking a chore off her usually full plate and providing an evening of fun the whole family can enjoy.
Make a quick call to grandma and discover mom's favorite foods as a child. Set them up buffet style on a table that is decorated with her childhood memories. Sprinkle the table with photos of her as a young girl, copies of old report cards, artwork and anything else you can find to spark nostalgia. For dessert why not serve up some vintage candy? Lemondrops, Charleston Chews or Dots are 1950s staples and are easy to find at large candy stores.
A Moveable Feast
Act in cahoots with a few of your mom's closest friends to throw a moving dinner party. Start at one person's house with cocktails and appetizers, then move to another's for dinner and finally a third for dessert. Invite surprise guests to stop by so that each house will be a reminder of all the people in her life who care. For example, the first house can be childhood friends, the second her church group or work buddies, and the third family.
To make the evening a classy affair, hire a private chef to cook all of your mother's favorites. This isn't as expensive as it sounds and can even be more affordable than going out to dinner. Benefit: the chef does all the shopping, cooking and clean-up so you are free to concentrate on the birthday girl.
Veronica Peterson is a freelance author and editor specializing in sustainable design and green living. Her writing appears in California Home + Design, Care2.com and Design^Sprout. She lives in San Francisco.