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Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Since becoming a mother, I’ve had a sordid history with this holiday. Mostly due to sleep deprivation and the fact that I never know what to give my own mother and mother-in-law, that shows them how much I appreciate their love and support.

However, this year I feel like I’m finally on top of the Mother’s Day gift gauntlet, which may be the result of both kids sleeping through the night (it only took six years). Below are a few recommendations for showing the mothers and mother figures in your life how much you care.

First up, I’m a firm believer, at least for my family, that no one needs anything. In fact, both my parents and in-laws are trying to downsize and de-clutter. So, I really try to steer clear of tchotchkes, knick-knacks, and paraphernalia. Yes, that scarf or vase or teapot might be right up their alley, but if they already have more than five collecting dust, will it really be that special? Instead of things, focus on experiences or functional items that feel special, not because the thing itself is special (or expensive) but because the gift speaks to their interests.

For gardening and plant-lovers, instead of a bouquet of roses, why not a plant subscription box or sunflower grow kit. Companies like Lively Root and Bloomsy Box offer one-time gifts or monthly/quarterly subscriptions of easy-care house plants, hanging porch plants, or fresh-cut flowers. If you want to be a smart aleck, give her a chia pet as a ringer and then surprise her with a bulb-of-the-month club membership. It may seem cliché, but flowers do make wonderful gifts for those who really appreciate them.

For an experience gift, consider your mother’s hobbies. Is she right at home in the kitchen? Sign her up for a cooking or baking class to enhance her skills. Better yet, sign yourself up and join her. Does she like arts and crafts? Then a painting class or take her to an area crafts and arts fair. Is mom an avid reader? Start a book club together. Go hiking or camping for the outdoorsy mom, schedule a massage or a day at the spa for the mom who needs a break. You can DIY a spa day at home with a care package of candles, lotions, massager, and a luxurious robe. For the mom looking for a knowledge boost, consider a subscription to MasterClass or SkillShare.

For a long-distance mom, send her a digital picture frame loaded with shots of kids, grandkids, pets, parties, and any adventures you wish she had been there for. Or get a cherished family photo professionally framed and shipped. Photo restoration is another thoughtful present for moms in and out of town. You can also embrace some technology with a Friendship Lamp. When she sees the lamp light up, she’ll know you’re thinking of her, and vice versa. Bonus, you can connect as many long-distance lamps as you like, so get one for family near and far.

For mothers, grandmothers, aunts, great-aunts, and great-grandmothers living in care, first off, visit them! And not just on Mother’s Day, but as often as you can. Set up regular visits and incorporate activities, like sudoku or watching a favorite show together. Gift her with a goodie bag or care package with games, treats, socks, art supplies, or whatever brings her some joy. Just be sure to check with the management on items that may be “off-limits.”

For the “It’s Wine-O’Clock-Somewhere” mom, there are wine clubs that deliver in PA—Naked Wines, Firstleaf, and Premier Wine, to name a few. Sign up, Mom, for a monthly subscription or one-time special delivery. Book a tasting or two and plan a road trip for one of PA Wine Trails. You can also host a tasting of select wines with snacks for your mom and a few friends.

Of course, the important thing about celebrating Mother’s Day is showing appreciation and honoring the role mothers and/or mother-figures play in our lives. When we were little, a macaroni necklace did the trick. As we get older and busy with becoming adults, sometimes a gift card may be all we can muster. For those of us in the middle of being parents ourselves, while honoring and, in some cases taking care of parents, it can be tricky to find the best gift to express gratitude and sentiment. Whatever gift you find yourself giving this Mother’s Day, the best you can do is give it with love.