Even though my mother frequently reminds me Mother’s Day is mostly for people who don’t honor their moms the rest of the year, this holiday is still a great excuse to celebrate the special ladies in our lives.
Furthermore, in a cultural moment that prompts us to opt out of Mother’s Day emails and reduces matriarchs to “birthing persons,” we should take every opportunity to reach out to let mothers know we care about and esteem them.
Whether that’s your own mother or mother-in-law, your dear girlfriend who has miscarried or is fighting an infertility battle, your grandmother or surrogate grandmom, or another mom who is near and dear to you, there’s a Mother’s Day gift out there for every budget. Most women would never turn down a fresh-cut bouquet — especially this time of year! — but here are some other items that will outlive anything that comes in a vase.
Less than $25
In our 21st-century digital whirlwind of Facebook Messenger, e-invites, and Facetime, snail mail is a rarity. In many cases, even thoughtful thank-you notes are a tragic relic of the past. But if you’re thankful for your mom, it might be time for an archeological dig of your stationery. A handwritten letter costs you nothing but a few introspective moments — but to your mother, it would be priceless.
A bouquet is nice, but how about a plant your mom can nurture and enjoy for years to come? Greenhouses are bursting with petals and other plants right now. Find something in your mother’s favorite variety or color, and give her a gift that will return year after year.
A fluffy hydrangea is always a good bet and comes in a variety of sizes and colors, depending on the acidity of the soil. A citrus plant is another creative option that will have your mom thinking of you every time she makes lemon squares or a margarita.
Blu-Ray or DVD Box Set of Her Favorite Show
Streaming the classics is all fun and games until today’s hypersensitive snobs start pulling the best episodes over “microaggressions.” Whether your mom’s guilty pleasure was “Remington Steele” or “Laverne and Shirley,” she’ll thank you for her hard copy when the digital version gets banished to a black hole.
Photo Album or Scrapbook
Whether you’ve got a stack of wedding photos your mom keeps asking for, or younguns with big Crayola aspirations and no shortage of paper, compile some keepsakes or photographs into a book your mother can page through endlessly and show off to her friends. If she has multiple children or grandchildren, see if they have anything to add.
Think about an activity that fills your mom with joy. Rubber stamping? Gardening? Entertaining? Exercising? Then think about supplies she’d love but would never buy for herself and surprise her with them. Not only will it show you care about what she cares about, but it will give her even more pleasure in the activities she already enjoys.
$25 to $50
Bird feeders really do have special powers that can turn anyone into an enthusiast. Treat your mom to the gift of bird watching with a beautiful feeder like this one. If you’re willing to issue your mom a little promissory note on Sunday and wait for shipping, consider these handmade beauties from Etsy. Don’t forget the birdseed!
If your mom is the hostess with the mostess, she’d no doubt be delighted with a fresh serving platter. Online shopping options are endless, but better yet if you can find a local vendor. My handmade serving bowl from Falcon Valley Pottery, a small business started in honor of Pam Zahn, who was passionate about pottery amid her battle with brain cancer, is one of my favorites and was gifted to me by my own mom.
If your mom has a favorite place — a family vacation spot, a cross-country city where you live, or a memorable trip destination — give her a candle that reminds her of it. Archipelago offers destination-inspired scents in minimalist jars and tins, and veteran-owned Wanderlust Scents sells unbelievable location-based candles. I can attest that the Arlington National candle — with notes of grapefruit, magnolia, weathered marble, gunmetal, and gin — smells remarkably reminiscent of the hallowed Northern Virginia resting place.
A Piece for Her Collection
Does your mom collect anything? For instance, my mom collects Liberty Blue dishes since inheriting some from her grandfather. My aunt collects primitive snowmen to decorate above her kitchen cabinets at Christmas time. Finding a missing piece for your mom’s collection is a sweet gesture.
$50 to $75
If your mother is anything like mine, she’s running out of wall space! But moms still usually appreciate something beautiful to hang, such as a canvas or framed print, or even a lettered sign or wall quilt. One year, we found my mom a rustic perpetual calendar like this one at a small business.
For a gift that keeps on giving all year, get your mom a subscription. From house plants to loose-leaf tea to books to wine to athletic clothes, there’s a subscription box that will ship directly to your mother on a recurring basis. Good Housekeeping and The Pioneer Women have helpful roundups.
‘Where in the World’ Prints or Clocks
For a mother whose kids are scattered, location-based gifts are perfect. These minimalist prints from Mapologist are customizable with any village, town, or city, and they ship for free. Pair them with inexpensive, front-loading frames so they really pop.
Or try something different with time zone clocks. One friend gifted her parents, who live on the East Coast, these four clocks to represent where in the world each of their kids live: Hawaii, Wisconsin, Guam, and London.
Trendy Purse or Wallet
Ever see a handbag you know would look just darling on your arm but can’t justify it because it just wouldn’t go with everything? So has your mom. What a perfect time to surprise her with the perfect (because it’s impractical) accessory. Check out this Kate Spade rose wristlet from Dillard’s or this floral Rosetti crossbody. Here’s an adorable Lauren Conrad mini crossbody available at Kohl’s (Bonus: Stuff some Kohl’s Cash inside!).
A Night at the Theater
A run-of-the-mill floral arrangement can run you north of $75 these days, so why not opt for an experience instead? Tickets for you and your mother to a Broadway show — or any other show for, that matter — make for a welcome surprise and lasting memories.
“Wicked,” “The Lion King,” and “Annie” are just a few of the show-stopping and nostalgia-inducing favorites touring this year. I would personally recommend “Ain’t Too Proud,” about “the life and times of The Temptations.” That show will have you tapping your foot the whole time, and you can snag reasonable tickets right now. Here’s what else is touring.
For the mother who’s just a little too far from the people who made her one, an airline ticket or gift card promises quality time that will send her over the moon and into your arms.