5 Creative Ways to Celebrate Mother’s Day at a Distance

College makes you realize just how much you need your mom, especially when you accidentally take cold medicine that puts you to sleep in lecture, burn boiling water, or leave the house with your shirt inside-out for the first time. How do you celebrate the woman that took care of these things for you when you’ve finally left the nest? These five Mother’s Day gifts will reach across the distance to show your mom just how much you miss her, without sending yet another overpriced bouquet in the mail.

1. Flat Stanley: Mom Edition

Remember that book you read in elementary school about Stanley, the boy crushed pancake flat by a bulletin board? While no moral lesson or even academic value could be gleaned from this cautionary tale about bulletin boards (seriously, what the heck was this book?), teachers did get a fun school break activity out of it. The Flat Stanley activity involved mailing a cutout of Flat Stanley, or a 2D version of yourself, to a family member or friend in another location so that person could take the cutout on adventures and send pictures back to you. Since you can’t spend time with you mom this Mother’s Day, take Flat Mom out instead. You and Flat Mom can go to brunch. You and Flat Mom can take a painting class. You and Flat Mom can meet your friends. Make sure to send back fun pictures that she and her mom friends can shake their heads and laugh over.

2. Get creative with the mail

For a price, you can mail glitter, confetti, even inflated balloons, provided you have the proper postage. Flowers and fruit get old; your mom will think about that glitter bomb every day (because she’ll find new piles of it to clean up every day). You can even stick a stamp on a box of her favorite candy and write a nice note in Sharpie. Your mom keeps you stocked up with care packages; why not make her day by sending your own to her?

3. Phone tree

You’ll see the power of sharing cell phone numbers with friends in college when suddenly everyone is sending texts to a random Theta Apple Pi pledge to receive a dog picture back as part of his pledgeship. We don’t recommend giving your mom’s number out to just anyone on campus, but recruiting the help of a few friends who may have met your mom over parent’s weekend to call her would ensure she gets as many well wishes as possible. You can return the favor by calling their mom’s too. You’ll score so many brownie points with your friends’ moms. Get ready for their next visit because mom’s tab will be open.

4. Recreate photos

The trend of recreating old photos doesn’t have to stop at cringey baby pictures that you have to track down a pair of rainbow overalls to take. Believe it or not, your mom wasn’t born a mom. She went to college once too and you can probably dig up old college pictures of her. Find some friends and thrift store and recreate her looks and poses in similar places on your campus. Bonus points if you can find some pictures she’d rather not see again.

5. Send yourself home

Worried your siblings will upstage you this year? Ensure that you aren’t left out of any collaborative efforts by sending your siblings a You Starter Pack. Send home apparel from your college for them to put on your chair at the dinner table, a body pillow to carry around, or even the family dog as a stand-in, a cutout of your face so you won’t be left out of any pictures, a copy of your signature for the card, and a recording of your voice saying something to one-up whatever nice thing your sibling says. Your mom misses you; this proxy-you will do the trick for one Sunday.