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Whether you're sending a "Happy Birthday" message, "Happy Mother's Day," or a simple "I love you," it's time to do it in style, and show Mom just how much you care. This year, vow to stay away from traditional gifts like flowers and candy and a find a new way to show your mother just how much she means.

First Step: Rediscover your mother's interests. Maybe you don't know them at all. Remember that, behind that "motherly fa├žade," Mom's a real person, too, with very real interests and likes and dislikes. Spend some time visiting with Mom and rediscovering what makes her tick.

Make a Goodie Basket
You can pick up an inexpensive basket at any craft or discount warehouse superstore. If Mom isn't the basket type, trying filling a cute wastebasket, storage container and or homemade decorated box with goodies. Use Easter grass or shipping peanuts as filler and stuff it high with Mom's favorites. Here are some ideas:

The Coffee Lover's Crate: If Mom enjoys a good cup of coffee, pick up a few mugs, her favorite blend of beans and some flavored creamers. Add a gift certificate to a coffee shop or a new coffee bean grinder.

The Executive's Bin: If your Mom is all business and no play, try layering a bin or executive's wastebasket with unique office supplies like a personalized pen and pencil set, Post-It Notes, a new computer program or small piece of office equipment that she's been wanting. Don't forget the small stuff. Use paper and notebooks as fillers, pens, pencils, even a pencil sharpener will work.

Need a Break Basket: Is your Mom stressed? Does she need some time to herself? Make a basket that gives your mom all the tools to relax: a good book, some bath oil, a few scented candles, herbal tea. Let your imagination run wild.

Gift Certificates
Gift certificates are a great way to let your mom pamper herself. Be original. Check into getting a gift certificate for a massage, a nail treatment or haircut from your mom's favorite beauty salon. Maybe you can grab a certificate to the local grocery store that will deliver your mom's groceries one week for her. What about a night out at a restaurant or movie theater? Pick up tickets to a play your mom's been talking about. Spring for a weekend away at a luxurious motel or bed and breakfast. Almost every business offers gift certificates. Shop around. You can even make IOU gift certificates good for "one movie with your favorite daughter" or "one lawn mowing."

Homemade Gifts
Nothing says, "I love you" more than the time you invest in making something for someone. If you have kids, make it a joint effort, and pool together your ideas for a special basket or treat. Here are a few simple ideas for you to draw from:

Bath Oil
Easy and inexpensive to make, bath oils can be put into pretty, decorator jars or added to a basket of relaxing goodies. Try this recipe for scented bath oil: 2 ounces carrier oil (such as sweet almond) 20 drops of essential scented oil (lavender, orange and spicy oils work best). Blend together and store in a glass container.

Picture Frame
Find a family photo that your mom cherishes and add some homemade touches to a basic frame. If your mom is a dog lover, line the frame's edges with shellacked Milkbones and paint a few dog friendly designs around the corners of the frame. If Mom loves her grandchildren more than life itself, have the kids paint messages onto a plain, pine frame and then coat the frame with a sealer.

Personalize It
Try your hand at making a personalized calendar or dayplanner. These can be done on your home computer with a wide variety of photo software programs or professionally, for a small cost. Almost anything can be personalized including mouse pads, calendars, clothing, photo frames, pen and pencil sets, jewelry and much more. You can even add birthdays and special days to the calendar for her.

Writing 101
Sometimes, putting thoughts down on paper is the best gift of all. Pen a poem to Mom and frame it or add it to a personalized book. Snap a picture of Mom with the grandkids when she isn't looking and begin a photo album with personalized notes and writings.

Make your mom feel extra special by gearing your special gift toward her interests. Don't let these ideas limit you. Be creative. Nothing you present your mom with will ever be a disappointment.