Mother’s Day Dilemma: “You spend too much money”

This weekend is Mother’s Day. It’s one of those special days (next to Father’s Day, Christmas, Birthdays) of the year when some of us go a bit bananas trying to figure out gifts. It’s stressful as many of you know because it’s finding the right balance.

My mom always, ALWAYS starts with “You spend too much money!” before she even opens up ANY gift she receives. Then, I usually get a lecture about how I shouldn’t waste time and energy finding something because of some silly holiday.  That I should be saving money.

You kidding?

I know what really happens. I checked with all my asian friends. Our moms are similar. It could be a cultural thing but I’ve notice that within a few lecturing sentences she continues to happily put away whatever gift I get her. From what I’ve read in Lainey’s book  “Listen to the Squawking Chicken”  …there must be some bragging rights amongst mom’s circle of friends. (More about her book later as I had a great chat with Lainey recently!)

My mother-in-law is caucasian and it’s a totally different mentality. “Accept graciously” is her motto. I’ve learned with the western society to not be a killjoy. Have you heard that saying? Don’t burst anyone else’s bubble. In this case, they’ve spent considerable time and energy for you. Just be gracious…even if you don’t need another set of pajamas.

But as it’s crunch time for Mother’s Day, I know what my mom wants and doesn’t want. I think but I’m going to decide by tomorrow. So, maybe this will help you out too?

Pandora Essence Collection - prosperityPandora – I’ve lost count of how many charms and bracelets she has. It’s the one thing that she absolutely loves. The little lucky cat , the buddha, the koi fish..they are all her favourites. It may be part of our fabric to just love cute and adorable things. I don’t know if she noticed yet but there’s a whole new collection of charms that are more meaningful. I’m totally considering starting her on the whole Essence Collection at Pandora. Each charm represents an inner quality, hope, or value and made with meaningful materials. Charms include love, peace, prosperity, energy, strength with 24 in total. The bracelets are slightly thinner so it’s meant to be separate from the usual charms you find. I’m also lusting over the pretty bow rings myself. Have you seen them? I’d stack two or three. 

Photobooks – maybe a little late but still, it’s something that she loves. You could do one through Apple iPhotos and show her a slide show (complete with gushy music)  on Mother’s Day and follow up with the printed hard copy. I had ordered one for my mother-in-law and had received it 5 days after placing the order. I was surprised!

No Spas – I personally adore going to spas and being pampered. But the older generation of mommas aren’t so comfortable with anyone touching them. I’ve tried going with my mom and giving her a gift card to do whatever she wanted. She never used it. Unfortunately.

Photo courtesy of the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto. Time together – I know my mom really appreciates time together. Now that my parents are retired and spend so much time doing the same old same old…dimsum with friends, bus to the casino, dinner with friends….coffee with friends. It’s great to do something that’s out of their daily routine. I had recently visited the Royal Ontario Museum with my mom to see the Forbidden City exhibit. She loved it! I was happy to go through the exhibit and learn parts of our culture through her eyes. Make sure you check out the rare chicken cup from the Chenghua period (1465-1487) that is on display. This important piece made of the finest Ming Dynasty porcelain has recently garnered worldwide attention as another cup from the original set was auctioned at Sotheby’s Hong Kong for a buzz-worthy $36 million. Yes, one little tea cup! Visit 

I also know that she loves music and theatre. The Lion King is on now at the Princess of Whales Theatre (Toronto) and it’s a guaranteed visual spectacle with music she’s familiar with. Hey, she loves to sing along as much as I do! But there are a few that I’m eyeing for her as well. My mom is the biggest Elvis fan and Return from Grace will soon be at the Ed Mirvish Theatre so that’s a strong contender for her!  Visit for tickets and details.

Shangri-la Hotel Toronto. High Tea. Eating is always a good choice and it’s nice to check out somewhere that is going that extra mile for Mother’s Day. Shangri-La Hotel Toronto is hosting a special Mother’s Day Brunch and a High Tea in the Lobby Lounge. Limited seating and a special menu has been created for mom in mind. Check out their Facebook page for details or visit

Holt Renfrew on Bloor Street in Toronto will also host a exclusive brunch and private shopping morning for moms and kids that sounds amazing! Call the store to reserve and for more details at 416-922-2333

So, what are you planning to do for Mother’s Day? Any ideas? How do you find the balance of “you spend too much money” and showing mom you care? I’m grateful for everything she’s done for me and continues to do for me.

And if you’re a mom, what would you want…seriously.






Sonya is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of She is also a well-established contributing lifestyle writer to other sites and magazines sharing her passion for arts & culture, fashion, beauty, travel and food. Sonya is based in Toronto, Canada. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @theculturepearl

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