Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Tulips by Sarah Franzen

Tulips by Sarah Franzen

We can never fully repay our mothers for everything they have done for us.  We know how special they are when we are little, but we probably don’t realize all they have truly given and sacrificed on our behalf until we are older with families of our own.  We know that we need to honor our mothers and tell them we love them, and thankfully there is a day set aside for us to recognize how much they mean to us.  This coming Sunday, the 13th is Mother’s Day.  If you have not already started thinking about what you can give your mom or the other special ladies in your life, there is no time to delay.  They deserve the best; after all if it wasn’t for them we’d all be walking around with smudges on our faces, shoes untied, hair uncombed, pants on backwards, incapable of sharing, and the younger siblings probably would not have survived past the age of 5.

Let’s start with what NOT to get

Photo Credit: Weed Eater

Keep at the forefront of your mind that this is a time to show her your appreciation and love.  I would not recommend getting her a pet.  As cute as a little kitten or puppy can be, one more mouth to feed and another member of the family to pick up after is probably the last thing she is thinking about right now.  Ask yourself what is something she could use to help her de-stress and relax.  Additionally, try to avoid appliances and anything too “practical.” She might love gardening, but this is not the appropriate time to present her with a gas-powered weed whacker.

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Of course all moms are different, and if she has specifically asked for one of these items then go ahead, you know the women in your life better than I do, hopefully.  If she does have her heart set on a new vacuum, however, maybe get a few little added things to sweeten the gift a bit (and I don’t mean extra vacuum bags); I’m talking flowers, candy, etc.  You don’t want to put across the idea that you are expecting her to slave away and keep a perfect house.  Other items to steer clear of: computer parts, electronics, cutlery, new tires, exercise equipment, duct tape, lighter fluid, items made of flannel or incorporating a camouflage print, camping gear, and anything that comes in a can.  (I think I have a great start for my Father’s Day list, though).

So if this has killed your “great idea” of mud flaps, a tree-shaped air freshener, and a coupon for Wally’s Wash n’ Wax, here are some resources for better solutions that she won’t have to fake a smile when she opens.


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Moms and grandmas love handmade gifts.  There is something in maternal DNA that is drawn to adorable cards written in crayon, handprints on painted pottery, and crudely sewn aprons.  You don’t have to spend a lot of money to please the ladies, so if budgets are tight check out a few of these sites for inspiration.


Grandmas and moms also need to be able to show off their kids.  This year rather than just emailing a file of photos, take the time to print off your favorites.  Add them to a special frame, album, or create a custom scrapbook.  Many sites such as Mpix and Shutterfly also offer all sorts of products that you can order from canvas art to calendars even mugs and blankets all created with your personal images.


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If you can’t decide on one particular gift, a basket of presents is a good option.  Pick a theme that interests your mom and stock up on fun items.  A few examples; if she likes…

  • Gardening: Fill a flower pot with a new spade, trowel, cute gloves, kneeling pad, plant stakes, sun hat, and seed packets.
  • Movies: Use a popcorn bucket to hold DVDs, movie tickets, theater candy, and microwave popcorn.
  • Cooking: Get a large mixing bowl to fill with new utensils, dip mixes, cookie cutters, oven mitts, and decorative towels.
  • Pampering: Use a wicker basket to hold bath salts, candles, fuzzy slippers, foot scrub, facial masks, nail polish, and a gift certificate to a spa.
  • Indulging: Treat her to things she loves but would never buy for herself such as gourmet coffee or teas, chocolates, wine, cheeses, specialty desserts, and jewelry.
  • Fun: If your mom is more quirky, fill a bright colored bucket with fun things like a Slinky, Silly Putty, a bottle of Yoo-Hoo, a deck of cards, a new pair of sunglasses, and gum or candy.


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A more traditional gift-giving scenario might be your style, and if that’s the case shopping online can offer many great ideas and save time and money.   Two of my favorite sites when shopping for moms are:


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One of the greatest gifts any mom can receive is that of time; whether it is time with her family if they live far away or time for herself after a busy week with the kids.  Try to help out around the house as much as possible, offer to watch the kids for an afternoon while she goes shopping by herself or has lunch with friends, and cook or take her out for dinner.  A few other suggestions:

  • If she is planting a garden this year, take her to a local greenhouse to pick out flowers and/or vegetables and then help her get the ground ready and planted.
  • Surprise her with a weekend away.
  • Plan a quiet picnic in the park.
  • Do something extra special that you’ve always talked about like a hot air balloon ride.

Last Minute

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With the big day less than one week away now, if you are running out of time there are still several alternatives: magazine subscriptions ( currently has a $5.99 sales event going on for Mother’s Day); flowers (try to go local if possible and call today to ensure your order); and even treating her to a day of shopping for new clothes just for her.  Mother’s Day Central also has a good list of additional last-minute ideas.

Whether you and the kids make her breakfast in bed, give her that birthstone necklace she’s been wanting, or just take an afternoon walk together and pick her wildflowers, make sure you take the time to show your mother how much she means to you.  And for heaven’s sake, stand up straight!

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