Though it’s a Western holiday, it shouldn’t be any surprise to see Mother’s Day widely celebrated among Chinese families on May 10. After all, showing respect and appreciation for parents is a bedrock Chinese value.
That said, Chinese culture and family dynamics can make it really difficult to celebrate Mother’s Day the way Hallmark intended. Much of that common Mother’s Day playbook just doesn’t apply.
For instance, if you grew up with traditional Chinese parents who expected respect and obedience, then a Mother’s Day filled with overt declarations of love and affection might feel awkward at best.
Similarly, if you have frugal or practical Chinese immigrant parents, then disposable Mother’s Day fare like cards and flowers probably feels like a complete waste of money.
But here’s where we can do better than giving gifts of tired herbal health remedies and going out for the same dim sum lunch every year. Mother’s Day the Chinese way doesn’t have to be such a restrained affair.
First, take the opportunity to invite Mom to your home, let her relax for the day and make her a meal of her favorite foods. Then you can pick up one one of these five fresh, yet distinctly Chinese gifts that will help you show Mom you love her.
A Small Fruit Tree
Fruit trees generally symbolize life and strength. Either a peach tree representing longevity or an apricot tree representing beauty would make a great choice.
To buy: $49-89, homedepot.com.
Dim Sum Jewelry
Chef Jewelry’s necklaces and earrings shaped like buns and dumplings make great choices for the dim sum loving Mom. The pendants could double as a great cellphone charm or bookmark.
To buy: $22-299, chfjewelry.com.
Carry On Chopsticks
These practical collapsible chopsticks fit snugly in a small travel case. They’re perfect for using on the airplane or while on vacation in faraway lands.
To buy: $52, amazon.com.
The Mother’s Day classic in a high quality gold box, of course. This 8 piece collection includes a variety of milk, dark and white chocolates with classic fillings.
To buy: $15, godiva.com.
Butterfly Matte Market Bag
This clever handbag from Bundshop and the Yeh Design Lab is a perfect example of contemporary Chinese design. It lies flat for storage, then takes shape when you’re ready to head out.
To buy: $98, bundshop.com.