With Mothering Sunday just a week away, florists are doing roaring business, restaurants are booked solid, cakes are being ordered and iced, and chocolates are flying off the shelves.

Our mothers and other female role models and carers are very fortunate indeed… and we are equally fortunate to have them in our lives, be they our biological mother, adopted mother, foster mother, grandmother, godmother and even aunts.

For those searching for an alternative to the flowers, sweets and meal-out options, or perhaps for those who are searching for a meaningful way to commemorate Mother’s Day while supporting the cause to end violence against women, here are 10 alternatives to the traditional gifts:

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Alternative to Flowers 1: Volunteer together! If your mom is active in your community – or even if she is not – it’s worth suggesting to her that the two of you could spend Mother’s Day morning volunteering at your local women’s shelter or rape crisis centre to help bring some joy to the mothers and children there. Have a nice lunch or dinner together afterwards.

Alternative to Flowers 2: Say It With A Song. If your mother is a music fan, put together a special CD or iPod mix of women’s empowerment songs just for her or download/buy music from anti-VAW fundraisers such as Music For Pixels and dedicate it to her. Alternatively, make the special mix CD for women at your local women’s shelter and, together with your mother, visit the shelter on Mother’s Day to play it for them as part of spending time with them

Alternative to Flowers 3: A Teachable Moment. If you are a parent, teacher, tutor, mentor or coach to children and young people, consider using Mother’s Day as a springboard for teaching young minds and hearts about the importance of treating women with respect, gender equality and non-violent egalitarian relationships. Make it creative and memorable with activities such getting the kids to make handmade Mother’s Day cards for the women at your local women’s shelter.

Alternative to Flowers 4: Collect and Deliver. Get your friends and family together to pool together/donate everyday necessities, such as toiletries, soaps, lotions, towels, diapers and baby formula. Put together care packages from them and then get a car pool going on Mother’s Day to deliver these to the women’s shelters in your area. Bring your mothers and grandmothers with you and then have a nice group lunch/dinner afterwards.

Alternative to Flowers 5: Share the Day. If you are taking your mom out for a Mother’s Day meal and you know a woman who is suffering from domestic violence or recovering from rape, consider inviting her along and treating her to a meal. This may be the only respite she can get and it’s an understated way to show that you both care if you feel uncomfortable about talking about it.

Alternative to Flowers 6: Safety First! If your mother/grandmother/aunt/godmother is a busy career woman who works late on occasion or takes the night shift, consider getting her a safety device. There is something to fit every budget and every busy woman’s lifestyle. Some recommendations: A rape alarm is a useful option. For those of you whose mothers carry smartphones, check out the latest smartphone safety apps such as the award-winning Circle of 6 app. For fashionable mothers, there are even jewellery fitted with SMS alarms such as P.F.O.‘s designer bracelet with GPS and SMS trigger alert systems.

Alternative to Flowers 7: Donate! Donate! Donate! Make a small donation to a charity/nonprofit organisation working to end violence against women of your mom’s choice in her name. Some ideas: Send a cheque to your local anti-VAW nonprofit. Alternatively, go digital by purchasing a charitable giving card available from charitable donation portals such as Razoo.com. You pick the donation amount, and your mom chooses the women’s shelter or rape crisis centre she wants the money donated to. You can also donate directly via your chosen nonprofit’s online donation portal.

Alternative to Flowers 8: Smart Shopping. If you prefer to buy your mother a beautiful gift, consider buying products from companies, co-ops and non-profits whose products and merchandise are sold to raise funds to support the end to violence against women. Some ideas: Emerge Global has a jewellery range made by sexual abuse survivors in Sri Lanka. For more mainstream stuff, companies like Avon and Liz Claiborne have had a long-running commitment to combating violence against women.

Alternative to Flowers 9: Perform It On YouTube. If you are a musician, get out your digital camcorder to record your version of an empowering song – think of it as a musical YouTube declaration against violence against women dedicated to your mom. An easy way to do this is to join The Pixel Project’s Music For Pixels campaign where you will be part of a growing group of musicians using their music to say NO to VAW.

Alternative to Flowers 10: It’s The Experience That Counts. Instead of a material gift, consider getting your mother (and joining her on) an “experience” gift directly linked with Mother’s Day events and activities tied in with local women’s shelters and nonprofits. Check your local listings or your local women’s shelter’s website for their calender of events for Mother’s Day which may include special talks, bake sales/bazaars and tie-ins with restaurants/bakeries who will donate a portion of the proceeds from their Mother’s Day sales to the local women’s shelter.

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Want to treat your mom to something special this Mother’s Day without breaking the bank while helping The Pixel Project raise funds to keep our programmes and campaigns running?

Dedicate a Song to Her!

For just $0.99, you can download our first Music For Pixels song – a cover of ‘The Rose’ by AHMIR, YouTube’s #1 R&B group and load it onto your mother’s computer’s iTunes or digital music player. Not sure about it? Listen before you buy here:

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