Happy Mother's Day!
I'm spending this Sunday with my mother. Like most moms, she doesn't want anything extravagant on her special day. Just spending time together is the best gift, or so she says. I'm taking her at her word!
Mother's Day gift that keeps giving photo by Katatonic28 / Flickr
Visiting with Mom is much more manageable since she moved closer to the hubby and me about a year and a half ago. Getting together is the easiest it's been since I was in college.
For most of the time that Mom's been here in Central Texas, we've been getting her new home in shape.
Although her current place is smaller, she didn't bring much of her old stuff with her. It was, well, old and she wasn't sure exactly where and what type of housing she'd eventually find.
So she decided to essentially start anew.
The nice thing about starting from mostly scratch is that we've had fun shopping for furnishings and being amateur home and landscape decorators.
Downsizing via donation: A lot of mothers, however, are in the opposite position. Their nests are empty of kids, but not of stuff that's piled up over the years.
A great Mother's Day gift in these cases would be helping mom get her space back. Who wouldn't love could a clutter-free basement, attic, garage or extra bedroom?
Even better, much of that old stuff you clear out can be donated to your mom's favorite charity.
Doug Krugman, founder and CEO of WebThriftStore, a website where you can list items for sale to benefit the charity of your choice, recently took his own advice. He visited his mom and spent hours in her basement, reliving memories and collecting items to post on his site.
"It felt great to let go of some of my treasured items that haven't seen the light of day in many years," Krugman said. "I know that they will become treasured finds for someone else, and that I'll be helping charity in the process."
And if mom itemizes her taxes, the clutter-clearing donations could produce a tax deduction for her next filing season.
Give in mom's name: In fact, if you're still searching for the perfect Mother's Day gift, consider donating to a charity in her honor.
You could write a check to a nonprofit she supports.
If she (or you) don't have a preferred charity, consider the American Cancer Society or the American Heart Association. Both groups are working to end health scourges -- breast and ovarian cancer, heart disease and stroke -- that strike millions of women.
Women's Day magazine also has some suggested women-focused nonprofits where tax-deductible gifts made in honor of your mom could help out someone else's mother. The publication recommends donating to:
- FromHarmtoHome.org -- This International Rescue Committee program offers a way to donate much-needed goods and services to mothers across the globe.
- HelpAMotherOut.org -- This program helps homeless and low-income mothers buy diapers, which aren't offered by most product donation organizations and aren't covered by government programs.
- WomenforWomenInternational.org -- This organization helps women in war-torn countries start on the road to recovery by giving them the tools they need to rebuild their communities, such as food, clean water and clothing for themselves and their children.
Of course, if you prefer to spend this Sunday in more leisurely pursuits with your mom, that's great.
You always can get to the clean-up during another visit and write your charitable contribution check or make a credit card donation later.
As long as you make the charitable gifts by Dec. 31 -- and follow all the other IRS charitable donation rules -- they will count for this tax year.
Here's hoping you and your mom have a great day. And I leave you on this special day with the wise words of the 19th century English jurist Lord Bramwell:
taxes are often misunderstood,
but seldom forgotten.''
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