Give a Little Love: Creative Gifts for the Women in Our Lives

I’ve written before about my issues with Valentine’s Day. It has become a holiday billed as a designated day for couples to assert their love and affection, when in fact we should try and show our love in many and small ways throughout the year. The same can be said for performing acts of love for our friends and family.

Each of us knows a mom who could use a little love. The single mother who just wants an hour to herself. The stay at home mom whose partner works long hours and may feel like she’s going it alone much of the time. And how about your go-to girlfriend? A fellow mama with whom you can share your greatest wins and failures, knowing her love for you never falters.

Valentine’s Day is marketed as a day for lovers, but how about showing some love to the mama-friend who puts up with your bad self all year, or to the woman who doesn’t have a Hallmark-inspired love but needs to feel special nonetheless?

Give some love to the women in your life this Valentine's Day with these unique gifts.

I propose that we give a little love to the women in our lives this Valentine’s Day, but not in the typical pick-up-a-gift-card fashion.

For these mamas, let’s think outside the (chocolate) box. I’ve been known to fall short in the follow-through department when it comes to clever ideas (especially those that involve crafty/Pinterest-y things). This past year, however, I had a clever idea that I delivered for a whole year. I donated a year’s worth of my time and love of pie-making for a benefit for a coworker who was battling cancer. I didn’t have $100 to drop in one night on a silent auction bid, but I wanted to contribute.

I decided to donate my time and talent. And so began a “Year of Pie” for the highest bidder. From Banana Cream and Key Lime to French Silk and my mom’s Dutch Apple Pie, each month was a chance to think of my brave colleague and his family and send positive thoughts their way. Even my failed make-ahead Chicken Pot Pie was made with the best intentions! For the beneficiaries of this donation, it was a sweet treat on their doorstep each month. For me, it was a chance to step outside of my self(ie) and feel grateful for my own health and abundance.

Give some love to the women in your life this Valentine's Day with these unique gifts.

Now, back to you.

Is there someone in your life who could use a slice of love, compassion, or support?

Is there something you can give that you can sustain for a time to show that person what it feels like to be cherished on the regular? Maybe you’re one of those rare people who still makes homemade bread and can deliver a loaf to a friend going through a rough patch. (“Slice of friendship” anyone?) Maybe you have the cash to have flowers delivered monthly for a while to a mama who has experienced a tragedy and just needs to see some unexpected beauty in her world. Or maybe you’ll commit to carrying an extra $10-$20 in your wallet each month to dole out a random act of love and kindness to a stranger. Use the cash to anonymously pick up the lunch check for the harried mom at the next table over, whose kids have been acting like, well, kids.

Keep an eye out for the mom in the grocery check-out who might have to put back some groceries she can’t afford and discreetly slide your debit card to the checker. And if she sees you, just smile and say, “I’ve totally been there,” even if you haven’t. No judgment, just do it.

And finally, don’t underestimate the value of giving of your time to a new mama who is experiencing a solitude drought—as in, she just needs an hour alone to keep her sanity! You can commit to arranging to watch her kid(s) once a week or month to give her a few hours while she shops, reads, or takes a nap. She’d probably be elated with a free half-hour to shower alone!

Whatever you choose to do, Hallmark and Russell Stover will have nothing on you.

The recipient of your gift will feel the kind of affection that you cannot put in a box. Comment below and let us know how you plan to share the love!


Sherri is a transplant from Oregon who came to be a Hawkeye in 2006 and stayed for the sweet corn...and for the Iowa boy she met along the way! She and her husband (Kyle) have a 9 year-old daughter, Aissa. Sherri earned her Ph.D. in Higher Education and Student Affairs at The University of Iowa and works for Ruffalo Noel Levitz as an Enrollment Marketing Consultant for colleges and universities. When she's not working, you can find her with her family, enjoying Iowa City and cheering on the Hawkeyes.


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