Mothering Sunday. The day which used to mean that you would make a short pilgrimage home to the church of your baptism, that has now turned into a cavalcade of flowers, chocolates, and parental praise.
On this most special of days it seems entirely unfair that those women who have gone though some of the world’s hardest work of birthing, rearing, and raising good and healthy children, should then have their day of joy scuppered by something as random and capricious as an allergy or other form of unfortunate aversion.
Fortunately, the market is adapting, and whether you are celiac, suffer from hayfever, or faced down a difficult battle with the hair of the dog, there are alternatives out there and not just the subpar collections of old.
Artificial Flowers – If you really think about it, the meaning of flowers has really changed over the length and breath of history.
It used to be that flowers were a symbol of romance because in addition to being extremely pretty and very lovely to smell, they were also notoriously difficult to find. Giving a woman a flower in the medieval ages meant either “I’m rich enough that I can have a whole section of outdoor ground not dedicated to providing food” or “I have gone on a great quest into the darkest depths of the forest, and from that heart of danger I retrieved for you this rare specimen and carried it safely all the way back, despite its incredible fragility”.
Since flowers and florists are now to be found on or in every high street, supermarket, and petrol station, the meaning has somewhat moved on to “I remembered today was special for [INSERT REASON HERE]”.
However at no point in the history of the flower was the fact that it is a living thing central to the meaning, and there are many advantages to artificial flowers. They do not decay, they don’t require water, nutrients, or soil. They can fit in even the smallest vases, and many of the modern ones come pre-scented, so you don’t even loose out on the lovely smell. If the horrors of hayfever cause you problems, drop a hint that you wouldn’t mind a little plastic stem, with cotton, nylon, or even silk petals.
Gluten Free Treats – The illness that was once invisible and unknown has now reached a level of prominence and understanding that even if you go to a reasonably sized Church you will find that their recreation of the last supper will include gluten free bread/wafers as an option. So if even the Church has moved on, it’s no surprise that the wider market has done so too.
Chocolates and other sweet treats that often contain gluten in biscuit or other parts of the recipe now have celiac friendly alternatives. This means everything from gluten free chocolate truffles, gluten free fondants, gluten free cookies, gluten free Turkish delight. Even gluten free chocolate infused versions of popular board games. There is so much out there now. Go coco nuts and enjoy!
Mocktails – Whether its an allergy, or the aftermath of something deeply and difficultly personal, not all of us have the super friendly relationship with alcohol that the media likes to spend too much time painting. The invisible hand might have taken its sweet time, but it eventually got there, and now there are entire ranges of mocktail kits for the owner of a deeply discerning tee-total palate.
With superb sparkling options, classic cordials, and a range of expert imitators for some of the more popular intoxicating options out there, mocktails could make a great gift in their own right, but for someone who struggles in this area, they represent a chance to exercise some generous sensitivity.
However you plan to celebrate the coming mothering Sunday, remember if you think the person you’re buying for is a tough case, remember there are always options, choices, and selections out there designed with every possible case in mind.