You'd better do it up right, or you'll still be getting The Look when Santa blows into town.

You’d better do it up right, or you’ll still be getting The Look when Santa blows into town.

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Besides looking at retro pictures of the two of you in matching outfits, what are the perfect Mother’s Day activities to guarantee that your Southern Mama closes out the weekend happy?

As much as they enjoy a weekend away, most Southern Mamas seem to prefer the homefront on Mother’s Day. Maybe it comes from their agrarian ancestry—they like to take this special day to hold court in their nest and summon all the chicks home.

And while a nice gift is certainly welcomed, Mother’s Day is different from Mama’s birthday or wedding anniversary. It’s more about making her feel truly appreciated than showering her with stuff. She wants your time and attention. That’s why Mother’s Day activities for adults begin with putting away your iPhone.

Instead of things, why not give her shared experiences? Mother-daughter manicures or spa days, mother-son matinees or breakfasts . . . You could even hire a photographer to take professional family portraits while everybody’s together for Mother's Day. All Southern Mama’s LOVE pictures.

Whatever you decide, it goes without saying that, before any celebrating takes place, you’ll need to be seated next to Mama in her chosen house of worship on Mother’s Day weekend. And if she’s truly old-school, you should’ve already ordered that corsage—white flowers if her mother is deceased; red or pink if her sweet mama is still with us. (Many Southern Mamas have a strict no-carnations rule, so play it safe and go with orchids or roses.)

Mama doesn’t enter the kitchen on her special day, and you know all the restaurants will be crowded. So unless your church has an early service, ensuring that you can beat the Presbyterians to Cracker Barrel, this would be a good time to show Mama you’ve mastered her cornbread dressing and banana pudding recipes.

For a change of pace, she might enjoy celebrating at a park or a lake (provided Daddy and the kiddos do all the work and don’t expect her to pack food for the whole fam).

Most important of all—write this down—if the kids are grown, NOBODY HURRIES HOME AFTER LUNCH. This is Mama’s special day, and you can’t think of anyplace you’d rather be than right there with her. If you know what’s good for you.

P.S. Leave her a little something to remember you by. Have each of her kids and grandkids write a personal note—maybe a special memory shared with Mama or a time when she really made a difference in your life. Collect those in a pretty box ahead of time and leave it someplace where she’ll find it later.

Going out on a limb with this prediction: The minute she starts reading those notes, your phone will ring.

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