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    Celebrate Your Mother, Woman of the Year

    This Mother’s Day, we encourage you to go beyond gadgets and oven mitts and to see your mother as Woman of the Year. How deeply do you know your mother as a person? Did she sacrifice interests and talents to BE a mother? Who IS she as an active driving force in her social world? Do you know her unspoken hopes and dreams?

    There is a straightforward answer to Freud’s famous question, “What does a woman want?” A woman wants to be valued as a human being, to be attractive, to radiate vitality and intelligence, to feel free–and to be listened to. All too often, women disappear as individuals to assume various roles: “The Mother,” “The Spouse,” “The Caregiver,” “The Eye-Candy,” “The Entertainer;” even “The Housekeeper.” It’s time to go deeper, and honor the feminine.

    All product recommendations this year have been tested and approved by yours truly. And, as always, we receive no compensation from the brands we mention.

    For the Athena in Her Nature

    This year, honor your Mother’s inner scholar with a gift subscription to Audible, for downloadable audiobooks of her choice that she can enjoy at her convenience. Or give her a gift certificate to her favorite bookstore.

    A sure treasure would be an Amazon Prime membership plus a gift certificate, so shipping is free and she can preview pre-publication ebooks every month (along with a host of additional benefits!). If she prefers film to literature, give her a subscription to Netflix or Hulu–or both. Think of something she loves but “never has time for,” like theater tickets, a film series subscription, anything to open her world and restore old interests.

    For Her Inner Cleopatra and Florence Nightingale

    Honor your Mother’s inner beauty with natural body care products so she can enjoy revitalized skin and hair, take care of her tired feet, and fight incipient arthritis (which we all get to some extent as early injuries age).

    Here are some product lines that I have found actually work as promised: Badger, a Certified B Corporation, produces USDA certified organic salves, creams, face oils and a fantastic Damascus Rose Beauty Balm that will scent her sleep with roses. Their Arnica Blend “Sore Joint Rub” doesn’t radiate that signature potent menthol aroma, and soothes sore muscles, joints, hands and backs.

    Badger products are also available at some natural supplement stores, through Amazon and iHerb.com–another possible gift certificate idea. iHerb.com has an impressive range of natural and organic products from bath oils and makeup to shampoo and vitamins.

    Another tremendously effective natural pain reliever is WiseWays Herbals Arnica Boswellia Cream, a superb blend of herbal extracts, beeswax, essential oils, flower and gem essences. I can attest to the fact that this cream limits pain when nothing else is working.

    A line of superior facial products to minimize fine lines, improve skin tone, restore the outer layer of skin, and take the years away is Andalou Naturals, with certified Fair Trade, Non-GMO, and organic ingredients. Everything from their cleansers and toners to an impressive range of specialty facial creams (“Age Defying,” “Brightening,” “Clarifying”) is also paraben- and sulfate-free, vegan, and cruelty-free. My favorite is “Sensitive,” called 1000 Roses, with a light foaming cleanser, emollient toner, and both Day and Night moisturizer–all packed with enough rose oil to satisfy even Cleopatra.

    Avalon Organics offers everything from purifying facial towelettes to wonderful shampoos and conditioners designed to thicken, strengthen, and add shine and highlights to hair.

    Burt’s Bees has extended their product range from the ever-useful tinted and untinted lip balms and foot creams to new serums and moisturizers. Their “Renewal Intensive Firming Serum” really does magic away crow’s feet and add suppleness to the skin. Their new sheer Body Lotions spray on easily and leave skin silky for hours.

    More natural skin care and cosmetics are included on our website.

    For “The Star” She Is

    Every little girl I know goes through a phase of wanting to be a movie star, an ice skater, a ballerina, or a rock star. Most of us can’t pursue these careers, no matter how talented. But you can’t hide natural charisma and star power, so give your mother new ways to shine!

    Cork by Design, photo by Lisa Davidson

    Unique stand-out accessories, like this water- and stain-resistant handbag from Cork by Design, handcrafted in Portugal from natural sustainable cork – “nature’s leather” – accentuate a vibrant spirit. Several other brands that make bags from cork and other sustainable materials are highlighted on our website.

    Finally, instead of resorting to the traditional cut flowers (see our post on flowers) or chocolate (see this post), why not give your mother a living plant to replant in the garden, or a handcrafted clay or ceramic pot for the windowsill? Often, potted plants are root-bound when you buy them and need to be repotted shortly after purchase to provide their roots with the space they need to spread out and absorb nutrients. So add a bag of composted organic soil to help with the transplanting and make sure your gift thrives.

    Ideal gifts for Mother’s Day nurture her vibrant spirit, mind, and body. Non-traditional gifts honor her youth and femininity, not her years of service to your family. Don’t forget a note with a heartfelt message, instead of a Hallmark sentiment. These are the treasures that women want: most essentially, the knowledge that we are known and loved and valued.

    Looking for further inspiration? Our website highlights brands offering sustainable clothing, home goods, coffee and tea as well.

    – Lisa Davidson

    Headline photo by permission of Melvin Ah Ching

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