From football fixtures to Eurovision, most events are currently cancelled, but with a little care and attention, there’s no need to add Mother’s Day to the list.
There’s plenty of ways to spread the love without actual, physical presence – you just need to get a little creative…
Video calls are your friend
There are some things for which a text simply will not do. A phone call is the bare minimum, but helping your parent set up Skype or FaceTime might be the gift that keeps on giving in the weeks to come. There’s a big difference between a smiling face and a disembodied voice, and your mum deserves the former.
Play a game together
If you’ve mastered the video call, games like chess and rummy can be played with a simple camera tilt, while word games and quizzes can be managed audio-only. Games like Scrabble can easily be played in two locations – simply plot both players on both boards. Or how about an online round of Words with Friends?
Send a virtual card
e-Cards have enjoyed a surge of popularity in recent times, and in the age of coronavirus they’re starting to really earn their keep. Jacquie Lawson Cards offer intricate, animated greetings featuring natural scenes, based mostly on hand-painted designs.
At the other end of the scale, Sloppy Kiss Cards serves up a menagerie of endlessly adorable cats and dogs, which will invade your chosen inbox with cuteness while wearing silly hats.
Subscriptions and vouchers
A long-standing get-out-jail-free card even in times of plenty, gift vouchers and subscription services are heaven for the housebound. Netflix and Spotify could certainly help keep boredom at bay (other providers are available), but not all subscription services are online only.
Even better, why not be a voucher to your local restaurant, spa or hotel? It will be something to look forward to for you both.
Normally an IOU smacks of disorganisation, but in the present circumstances, we think they’ll understand. Rock concerts, sporting events, and theatre runs have all been cut down by coronavirus, but they’ll be back, and if you pick the right future outing, it will definitely be the thought that counts.
Playlists and podcasts
If afternoon tea is cancelled, and your bouquet of peonies is still shedding petals in your kitchen, give them the gift of your opinion. Make them a playlist on Spotify, wire them a list of podcasts, or simply recommend a few movies.
More than a commodity, it’s a shared experience. Pop culture has been a reference point for generations, and once you’ve consumed the same things, you can talk about them.
Send a letter
We know, they may not get it in time, but older generations, in particular, appreciate the personal touch of pen and ink, and it’s impossible not to feel important receiving a properly addressed missive on elegant writing paper. The words may be the same as in an email – but the message is not.
A self-isolation hamper
If your mum is social distancing (she should be, and so should you), the ensuing weeks are going to be long, difficult, and most of all boring. Prepare an aid basket filled with her favourite things – face masks, magazines, seeds if she’s a keen gardener, perhaps a few immune-boosting supplements, and her favourite chocolate.
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This year, RTÉ is asking families across the country to celebrate mums online. Post your messages, videos and photos to social media using the hashtag #RTELoveOurMammies.