How to Make Your Grandmother Feel Special at Your Mother's Day Celebration

Honor your family's matriarch with a few thoughtful details.

Grandmother surrounded by family at family gathering
Photo: Hinterhaus Productions / Getty Images

Though your parents may typically take the lead on honoring their own mothers on Mother's Day, making Grandma feel special should be a family affair. "Traditionally, grandmothers are the matriarchs of the family and deserve to be celebrated as such," says Brenna Gilbert of Feste. This could include great-aunts, beloved friends, step-grandmothers, and other mom figures, too. "Is there someone in your life who's not actually your grandmother, but played that important role? Make sure to show these women some love and make it a point to create special moments throughout the day's celebrations just for her," says Gilbert. "Not all families look the same or celebrate the same way, so it's important to make sure that you're considering and honoring all the mothers, mother-to-be, hopeful mamas, adopted grandmothers, and grand-mammas in your life." Ahead, how to do just that, so you can celebrate Grandma to the fullest on this holiday.

Customize your brunch spot

If your family likes to mark this holiday with a traditional restaurant brunch, choose a spot that's accessible and comfortable for your grandmother. "Crowded, noisy restaurants can be overwhelming for the older folks in our lives," says Gilbert. "Try to pick out a more intimate, off-the-beaten path spot to dine to avoid the Mother's Day herds." Then, make your space feel a little more custom with hand-chosen florals and pretty name cards. "Bring in your own fresh flowers for the table and set little place card holders at each seat to make the day feel tailored to you and your family—even when you're out in public," says Gilbert. "I'm traditional on days like this—I love to gift a corsage or a boutonnière. The nostalgic gesture can be very meaningful and create a keepsake for the day."

Create a memorable menu

If you're hosting at home, instead, prepare a buffet of all your family's famous foods. "Surprise Grandma by taking over the kitchen and preparing her recipes," suggests Gilbert. "Set up a grazing table loaded full of the results: Her mother's pound cake on the cake stand and Aunt May's deviled eggs on a marble slab." Pull out the heirloom china, unfold your great-grandmother's embroidered tablecloth, and add modern technology to bring the whole family together. "I'm a big fan of group conversations at special events like these—a toast or special acknowledgement goes a long way to honor the moment and get people to share memories," says Gilbert. "If someone can't make it, don't forget to get them on Zoom! Even a little face time goes a long way."

Add thoughtful details

Every grandmother has stories and memories that have become part of family lore, whether it's tales of her first job at the neighborhood candy store, her recollection of the summer she spent at the beach, or her enthusiasm for her favorite hobbies, from sewing to sailing. These can all inspire personal details that customize the brunch. "If she always talks about a red tricycle she rode as a little girl, serve cupcakes and top each with a mini replica," suggests lifestyle and etiquette expert Elaine Swann. "Think about the stories she's shared over the years and try to incorporate those memories that bring her joy into the celebration."

Give a memorable gift

Reminding your grandmother of the important role she plays inside your family unit is a priceless gift. Swann recommends sourcing photos of your matriarch from everyone in the family, and then using the collection of images from throughout her life to create a unique photo album. "They really enjoy seeing the photos on paper, and especially in a book—it really makes them come to life," says Swann. "It's so heartwarming and memorable." Gilbert suggests adding cards and letters alongside the images: "Keepsake albums with handwritten memories or personalized notes make thoughtful gifts that can be treasured and returned to throughout the year," she says. If you don't have time to order a printed gift, tell your stories in person (and don't forget to have someone record a video). "Have everyone in attendance go around the table and share their favorite memory with Grandma—it's guaranteed to be a tear-jerking moment," says Gilbert.

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