Events, features and things to do for families in New Hampshire
What a Girl Wants - Think outside the box (of chocolates) this Mother’s Day
By Kathleen Palmer
Father’s Day is easy: A tie, some aftershave, something with his favorite sports team’s logo on it. Dads aren’t usually too particular about gifts. Unfortunately, that sometimes means they aren’t too particular about the ones they give, either.
When I worked at a Hallmark store a hundred years ago (give or take), the only customers in the store on Mother’s Day were men, some dragging children along, and the store was packed. Mother’s Day ranks third in greeting card purchases, right behind Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Being handed a card with the envelope flap still wet from being hastily sealed seconds earlier does not foster feelings of appreciation. Nor does a carbon monoxide alarm stuffed in an empty Starbucks coffee bag, like one of my friends received one year.
Maybe this year dads and kids can get a little creative with their offerings to the most important woman in their lives. Why not take advantage of what the Granite State has to offer this spring, and present Mom with a homemade gift certificate to something fun, entertaining, unique or wacky this May?
For the drama queens
New Hampshire boasts a thriving theater community, with multitudinous opportunities to take in a show anywhere in the state. Spring is theater season, and there are lots to choose from.
Actorsingers of Nashua, now in its 56th year, will present Guys and Dolls May 20-22 (www.actorsingers.org). The Palace Theater in Manchester will offer the peppy hijinks of Hairspray the entire month (www.palacetheatre.org). For those on the coast, Seacoast Repertory Theater in Portsmouth (www.seacoastrep.org) offers not only Man of La Mancha, but also Alice in Wonderland and Puss in Boots – the latter two of which could give Mom the gift of a kid-free day while someone else takes them to a show.
For moms who like to move it
How about reminding her that she’s still the woman with whom you want to dance away the night? There are scores of dance lessons and a variety of styles. Queen City Ballroom Dance Studio in Manchester offers many different classes, from the foxtrot to the two-step, at all levels. Their ongoing Sunday night Ballroom Dance Parties and pre-dance lessons are beginner-friendly, with mixer dances and light refreshments. There’s even free admission for first-timers. Check them out at www.queencityballroomnh.com.
If she’d like the romance of days gone by, perhaps Mom would enjoy the elegant fun of English Country Dance, which is the “social dancing of the English court and countryside from the 18th century to present,” according to the New Hampshire English Country Dance Society (www.nhecds.org). Sort of like upper-class British square-dancing, the dances are taught and prompted by a “caller,” to live music. Most dances are in Concord; the next one is May 8.
For moms who rock!
If Mom’s more of a rocker, how about Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience on May 7 at the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord (www.ccanh.com)? A night of epic rock is more exciting than dinner at a run-of-the mill restaurant, that’s for sure.
What about the cathartic fun of pounding on a drum? When Mom wants to get in touch with her primal, tribal self, try a West African drum lesson at the East Concord Community Center. Traditional, village-style West African drumming (djembe and dununs) is taught by Namory Keita of Sangbarala, Guinea. Namory says, “We play music to bring joy.” They even have spare drums if you need one for class. There are also classes in Manchester. Check out www.namorykeita.com.
For Moms who need to unwind
Let’s not rule out the classic pampering that often defines Mother’s Day gifts. A relaxing day at a spa, a manicure/pedicure, a facial, a glorious massage. There are hundreds of providers of these wonderful indulgences in our state. A kids-free dinner out is also always appreciated. How about the grown-up delights of Jazz Nights at Unwined in Manchester, where you can listen to laid-back live music while enjoying a signature fondue and sampling their wine selection (www.unwined.net).
What it all comes down to, though, is that it’s the thought that counts. Showing Mom that you put some thought and planning into your offering is more important than the gift itself (unless she wants a laptop, like my mother. In which case, the gift is really the most important part.).
The memories of “breakfast in bed, which consisted of any combination of burnt toast, runny eggs, half-cooked bacon, and lukewarm coffee… Eating it while they watched and pretending it was the best breakfast ever,” as Paula A. of Hebron recalls, are the true gifts. But hey, that spa package sounds pretty sweet, too.
More from moms
When a random group of mothers were asked what they really wanted for Mother’s Day this year, their answers showed an interesting trend. Most moms younger than 50, who still had school-age children in the home, desperately craved refuge from the daily grind.
Answers ranged from the one-word “QUIET” to “someone to cook dinner for a week – the way I would” to “a good spring cleaning of the house”. There was also “a no-Mom day” and “for Dad to be Mom for a day”. Some desired the classic pampering of a spa day, or “guilt-free shopping, alone!” One sought the tranquil refuge in “two hours alone, browsing in a bookstore.” OK, that last one was me.
Mothers older than 50, whose children were out of the house, invariably sought one thing: family togetherness. Many who were asked felt like they didn’t get to spend enough time with their adult children or their grandchildren. From “a simple family dinner together” to “for my kids to come home for the day,” these moms just wanted to gather their family close. Janetta M., 64, of Amherst, said, “I never wished away those early years. I knew, from everyone warning me, that the time would fly by. And now that my children are grown, I love every minute we get to spend with them at holidays and special occasions.”
Moms with young children were also looking forward to gifts from the heart. Kellie H. of Goffstown notes, “I really enjoy having homemade cards or gifts from my children and then spending the day with them. The year before [my husband] made a homemade video with the kids...best gift ever.”
Kathleen Palmer is a freelance writer from Nashua and mother of one.
Last updated by Morgen Thiboult Apr 22, 2011.