Giving Gifts on Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day, as we know it today, with breakfast in bed, cards and presents, is a relatively young event, but the celebration of mothers and mother-figures dates back to ancient times.

Whilst the tradition for giving gifts on Mother’s Day was well established in other parts of the world, it didn’t begin in Australia until 1924 when Mrs Janet Heyden, a resident of Leichhardt Sydney, started a campaign to collect gifts for lonely mothers.

Mrs Heyden often visited a friend in hospital. While at the hospital she was struck by the number of patients who were lonely ageing mothers. Janet began campaigning for people to donate presents. School children and local businesses generously donated all sorts of goodies to the mothers.

Then Janet thought, why stop at them?

Today, Mother’s Day is celebrated in over seventy nations around the world.

A Gift for Mother

The following is an excerpt from the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper on Mother’s Day, Sunday 9 May 1954 sharing Mrs Heyden’s story.

‘A Gift For Mother’ by a staff reporter.

A little old lady living in Petersham looks on Mother’s Day with something approaching possessiveness.

She visited the ‘Sun Herald’ to ask, “Do you know who started the idea of gifts for Mother’s Day?” She answered her own question: “Little me” she said stabbing her chest with a forefinger. ‘Little Me’ is Mrs. J. Heyden. She could be anything from 70 to 75. In fact she is 86 and very proud that few people realise it.

Mrs. Heyden thinks the stores that sell Mother’s Day gifts are not being fair to her about Mother’s Day. Not that she minds the “way it has become commercialised like a second Christmas. But they say the gift-for-mother idea was their own,” she said. “It wasn’t; it was mine.” Mother’s Day when most of us were children meant the wearing of a white flower – a tribute thought up by a school teacher in Canada.

Now it means installing mother as queen for a day – gifts, and the family doing the chores so that [mother] can put her feet up and lap up family worship for one day of the year.

Who fixed it that way? Why, Mrs. Heyden, she says.

It all started 30 years ago. “I was on the committee of the Home for Destitute Women and Children in Strathfield,” Mrs. Heyden recalls. “One of the patients was transferred to the Newington State Home, and I used to visit her. That was when I decided something should be done to brighten the lonely lives of the mothers there. I organised gifts for them on Mother’s Day. Even a little remembrance like hairpins (they wouldn’t be much good these days, would they?), a hankie or a cake of soap meant a lot to people like that.

Then I thought, why stop at them? So I appealed to the public through the newspapers to remember the mothers of Sydney. The gifts started to pour in. The late Alderman Dyer, who was Mayor of Leichhardt, used to drive me around to the old mothers of the district with my gift parcels. For seven years in succession the appeal through the newspapers made sure that hundreds of mothers who would otherwise have been forgotten received a Mothers’ Day gift. It was wonderful. Today, of course, a gift for mother is just the natural thing.”

~ A Gift For Mother (1954, May 9). The Sun-Herald (Sydney, NSW : 1953 – 1954), p. 54. Retrieved April 26, 2020, from Trove – National Library of Australia.

Mother’s Day

Need a gift for Mum? Shop Locally!

The Greater Port Macquarie boasts incredible local retailers and unique locally made Mother’s Day gift ideas. Here’s a sample of what’s available:

Billabong Zoo

Adopt a Koala from Billabong Zoo this Mother’s Day. Show mum you care with a special Koala adoption and support Billabong Zoo in its vital conservation work. All adoptions receive an Adoption ePack containing a photo and bio of your chosen Koala; certificate of adoption; a paw print of your chosen koala; and subscription to quarterly newsletter.

Learn more about Billabong Zoo Koala & Wildlife Park. The zoo is home to a wide variety of Australian and exotic animals and birds, as well as a world-renowned koala breeding centre.

Bird & Earth

A personal gift of love for your mum.

Motherhood … natural, exhausting, and rewarding. Celebrate this Mother’s Day with a gift of natural skincare products created by Bird and Earth.

Not sure what Mum might enjoy? Purchase a Gift Voucher and let Mum select her favourite products!

Dessert First

Let mum cosy up with a warm cuppa this Mother’s Day. A cup of TEA is a cup of PEACE.

Dessert First Cookie Gift Packs. Yum! What a perfect gift for mum.

Learn more about Dessert First Cakerie & Patisserie. Martene specialises in custom cakes, cupcakes, cookies and doughnuts.

Natalie O’Donnell Photography

Let’s Celebrate Mum!

Not sure what to give Mum this Mother’s Day?

How about a Gift Session from Natalie O’Donnell Photography for children, family or a portrait session. Or just purchase a Gift Voucher and let Mum decide!

Natalie is also offering a limited number of Mother’s Day Mini Sessions.

Natalie O'Donnell Photography Mother's Day Minis 2022

Award winning photographer Natalie O’Donnell specialises in newborn, maternity and birth stories, milestones, children and family sessions. Learn more about Natalie O’Donnell Photography.

The Seed Creative Workshops

The Seed Kids Art Kits for Mother’s Day are a great way for the kids to make a special handmade gift and card for Mum or Nanna, in the comfort of their own home. Or join the Mother’s Day Paint & Sip pARTy at The Seed; the perfect gift for your creative Mumma!

Learn more about The Seed Creative Workshops. The Seed creative space hosts regular fine art classes for kids during school terms and creative kids school holiday workshops.

World Par-TEA

Have a tea lover in the family? World Par-TEA have a lovely selection of Mother’s Day Gift Hampers made to order. Each beautifully gift wrapped with gift card and free local delivery; extra for postage.

World Par-TEA package and blend over 220 hand-blended loose leaf teas, tisanes and infusions that are ethically sourced from around the world. World Par-TEA also offer a delightful range of tea related accessories and gifts. Learn more about World Par-TEA.

Our Community

Discover our community and all that awaits your family on the Mid North Coast. Let us be your local guide.

Eat & Drink

Discover all the fantastic family-friendly places to eat & drink in the Greater Port Macquarie and surrounding regions.

Shop Locally

Shop locally to discover local retailers unique to our area and the numerous locally made products crafted on the Mid North Coast.

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