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This Britain

Being Modern: Mother's Day gifts

Did you remember? Of course you did – the flowers, the chocolate and, why not, the mouse mat with the least-worst snapshot of the grandchildren printed on it. Because Mother's Day is nothing if not an opportunity to make a few ill-judged purchases in the name of family harmony. As for your mum, she's just glad you've all turned up, for once – even if she's still got to do the cooking (and ignore your lot trampling over the bulbs in the garden).

What's more, she's probably tactful enough not to point out that Mother's Day and Mothering Sunday are actually two quite different occasions: the former is a century-old American import that hitched itself to the latter, an obscure Christian festival that falls on the fourth Sunday in Lent (something to do with returning to your "mother" church once a year). Because, as crass and as commercial and as liturgically iffy as Mother's Day is, it somehow feels right. Or at least less odd than National Grandparents' Day (celebrated in the States since 1978).

Even if you aren't able to see your mother in person, you'll have sent a card and you'll give her a call and joke about the pair of smittens you nearly bought her (one mitten for her left hand, one for your dad's right hand, and a third joint mitten for them to hold hands). Which was better than last year, when you texted her and then she called you on the Tuesday.

And do you know what, you might well find that you're on the receiving end of a Mother's Day treat yourself this year. Never mind that the last spontaneous gift to you from your toddler was a turd behind the sofa or that the rather home-made-looking construction (card? mobile? wind chime?) your two-year-old is waving in your direction was clearly "created" by your partner about 20 minutes ago with some gaffer tape and a couple of felt-tips; the sense that the wildly differing agendas of your family converged upon you for a moment is quite sweet. So milk it. Enquire politely but firmly where your breakfast in bed is, then bugger off to the pub for lunch with a few friends.