Newcastle residents been finding creative and innovative ways to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic and it seems that attitude is no different when it comes to Mother's Day.
The enduring coronavirus restrictions and lockdowns will mean a contact-less Mother's Day for many on Sunday, May 10 but residents appear to be turning to their local businesses and charities for gifts.
Port Stephens Koalas has been busy accepting koala adoptions on behalf of mothers from right across the Hunter.
"It's a form of sponsorship really," adoptions coordinator Ewa Meyer said.
"The money you contribute will go towards the cost of their treatment, food and ongoing expenses such as the rescue vehicles.
"You're giving twice - you get a special personalised gift and are supporting the work of Port Stephens Koalas."
For $50, buyers will receive a personalised certificate with their mother's name, a photo of their chosen koala, an explanation of the animal's history and an e-newsletter update every three months.
There are currently nine koalas to adopt through the Port Stephens Koalas website. Adopt a koala by Friday, May 8, in time for Mother's Day.
The Hunter Business Chamber has urged families to look to local retailers and businesses when choosing Mother's Day gifts this year.
"Mother's Day is traditionally one of the top five trading periods of the year and our hard-hit retail an hospitality businesses need all the support they can get at the moment," chamber CEO Bob Hawes said.
"By making a conscious decision to buy from a retailer within your area, you can have the satisfaction of not only sourcing a beautiful and heartfelt gift but also knowing that you have helped out local business at a difficult time."
Mr Hawes said that while many businesses had closed their doors to customers due to COVID-19, they were still selling goods and services online. Other businesses were offering vouchers that could be redeemed later, when trading and social distancing regulations were further relaxed.
Some ideas for Mother's Day gifts sourced locally include:
- Gifts bought online from local retailers, either home-delivered or picked up in-store;
- Vouchers for services such as facials and massages that can be redeemed later;
- Vouchers for restaurants and cafes that can be redeemed later;
- A takeaway meal from Mum's favourite eatery;
- Her favourite tipple from your neighbourhood bottle shop;
- Flowers or plants from a local florist or nursery
"We are asking the Hunter community to go out of their way to make sure they track down and consider the offer of local business, be it online, over the phone or 'click and collect'," Mr Hawes said.
"We realise it's sometimes easier to sit at home and surf the larger international platforms but shopping locally is more personal and has the added benefit of supporting businesses that employ local people.
"If in doubt, just give your favourite local business a call and see if they are still open or operating online.
"I am sure they will be pleased to hear from you and very grateful for the custom."
Florists look set to do a roaring trade for Mother's Day.
Deanne Elliott from The Gazebo Florist in Raymond Terrace said she is much busier than usual in the countdown to Mother's Day this year.
She and husband David Elliott are expecting to deliver up to 150 bouquets, at least 30 more than last year, on Sunday. But that was not taking into count bouquets being sold in-store.
"People are sending their love in flowers because at the moment it's really one of the only things you can do," Mrs Elliott said.
"So many people are sending flowers to show their appreciation for mums and the people they can't visit.
"A lot of people, the elderly, are getting flowers sent to them. If people can't pop over for a cup or tea, for a birthday or attend a funeral, they'll send flowers."
Mrs Elliott said Australian growers of flowers had been working hard to meet the demand by florists - a demand created by the public wishing to send flowers to loved ones during the pandemic lockdown.
"They have been turning over so much stock for us, it's unbelievable," she said.
"I would say 80 to 90 per cent of stuff coming through is Australian grown. So, buying local isn't only supporting your local florist shop but it's supporting the local growers within Australia."
Mrs Elliott's advice for those wanting to order Mother's Day flowers is to buy local and to get in early.
"There's a possibility that some florists will sell out."