What should you give your Mom on Mother’s Day?
Are you stumped for a Mother’s Day gift this year? Do you have a mom who has everything? Or, perhaps she’s just embraced the Kondo method and has become a minimalist. Maybe you are looking for something different, a gift that will live in her heart and can’t quite put your finger on what that might be.
I don’t know about you, but I am a little burned out on Mother’s Day gift guides; as we get older, buying more stuff seems to hit the mark less and less. I think my mom has plenty of bathrobes, spa kits and the like. She’s not really that type anyway, but because we really don’t know what to give her, we default to generic gifts moms are supposed to like. Most of the time, the gifts we give my mom are placed in a box in her closet to be regifted.
Moms (and dads) in this day and age can be very hard to buy gifts for. They may be the type to purchase what they want when they want it, and thus have “everything” or they may hoard, and you want to be careful with that too. You can read my post on gifts to give a hoarder. Maybe, like my step-dad, they just don’t care that much for “stuff”.
What to give Mom instead of a gift:
I will never forget the surprise birthday party my sister and I threw for our father’s 80th birthday. We contacted as many of his friends we could get addresses for. They either came in person, or sent a note and a photo of themselves which we put into a book. He loved looking through the book and it opened the door for him to get back in touch with some he hadn’t heard from in a long time.
We also pulled together a few items from our childhood that always got a laugh, like the time I made him a hand made neck tie out of MY favorite fabric! It was very well done, but definitely “teen age girl”. He wore it a few times and kept it in his dresser. I got it out and placed it on a memorabilia table, designed to encouraged people to ask about the items on the table. Each had a funny story. We also put out the orange juice set we got him for Christmas at the very last minute. We presented it to him in the grocery bag, and oops, the receipt was still in the bag. It stood out garishly among his high end table wear, but he kept it and we always got a good laugh out of it. Funny things went on the table, and we laughed as we shared the stories about each item.
For years after, he recounted happy memories from that lovely evening. The gift was both in the fun of planning the party and the many surprises. We had put a lot of thought into it and it defiantly hit the mark in my father’s heart, he talked about it all the time in the years after.
The fine art of gift giving:
Some people are so good at giving thoughtful gifts, but most of us run out at the last minute, or scroll through gift guides on line hoping to find something that resonates. If you are like me, you may have a gift cupboard with generic gifts to give last minute. There is nothing wrong with having a few gifts on hand to give when you are in a pinch, but when it comes to birthdays, Christmas and Mother’s and Father’s Day, being a little more thoughtful is in order. I’ve compiled a few do’s and don’ts to consider as you do this year’s gifting.
- Don’t make the gift about yourself. Going back to the neck tie I hand made for my dad, when I chose the fabric, I chose something I really loved. I never really thought about the fact that it wasn’t remotely masculine, nor did I think about what it would look like in his classic wardrobe. I didn’t pay attention to the fact that my dad was a fastidious dresser who had a very specific style. I would have knocked it out of the park if looked for fabric that HE would like. So often we think about what we would like rather than what the recipient would like.
- Don’t buy something you want unless you know for sure the recipient definitely wants it too: In an early Simpsons episode, Homer bought Marge a bowling ball. He even went so far as to have the finger holes drilled to fit his hand. He figured he’d get points for giving the gift, but Marge wouldn’t want it, and he’d have the new bowling ball he had been wanting. So often we give what we want rather than getting in the head of the person we are giving to, then we feel sad when they aren’t as excited about it as we are.
- Plan ahead: I know some people think they do a better job gift giving when they are under pressure. But it usually leads to generic gifting. It’s far better to keep a list on your phone of things the person needs, or things they mention along the way.
- It’s ok to test the waters a little bit: One year, I found an Ansel Adams book I thought my dad would absolutely love. My fear was that he might already have it. I went ahead and bought it, then asked in conversation if he’d seen the book yet. He said he’d been looking for it, but it had sold out at his book store. I had been lucky enough to get him a copy. I was excited because I knew he would love it, and he was ecstatic.
- Be careful not give surprises away before hand!
A few do’s:
- Try to get into the head of the recipient. What do they love, what do they collect, what have they had on their bucket list but haven’t done yet, what do they put off doing but would really love?
- Do they love a specific sport, music group, or hobby? Build a gift around that.
- Preserve memories. For example, if you recently went on a cruise, or some other activity, make sure you get photos, and make a collage or a book with the photos or make a montage of family pictures.
- Plan something you can do together to make a memory
- Choose something that supports the dream or passion, for example one of my friends loves dancing, so a gift certificate for dance lessons, or a group lesson with all her girl friends would be a great idea. (Be sure to get pictures, so that you can do #4 at a later date!)
Create Memorable Experiences
Paint and Sip:
Gather a group to go to paint and sip, there are franchises around, or you can put together a paint and sip party at home. Scrapbooking, card making and other crafts are great fun to do together as a gift for the crafty mom.
Group cooking classes are so much fun. I know a lady who teaches cooking for small parties out of her home, chefs occasionally do it at their restaurants, shops such as Sur La Table and Publix grocery stores have Aprons Cooking school.
Traditional Tea Party:
My friend Laura introduced me to formal tea; What a treat it is! I’m a traditional girl who loves beautiful china and magical experiences. Since our visit, I’ve created tea parties at home, now that I know how it’s done. I love visiting tea rooms and hosting tea parties. Tea parties are especially great as a gift for Mother’s Day. Anything that includes pretty tables, flowers, soft music and tasty bites is good in my book.
Picnic at the Park:
What’s better than a lively family picnic for Mother’s Day? Picnics are super great especially if you don’t have to do any cooking or clean up. Picnics are a great way to celebrate, and entertain children and adults all at one time. Make sure the mom’s in the group get the day TOTALLY off though! I’ve spent my share of Mother’s days cooking and cleaning up which isn’t at all what Mother’s Day is supposed to be about.
Miniature Golf, Go Carts, Ziplining and Game Rooms:
These are usually the domain of little kid parties, and sometimes Father’s Day. But some Moms love active adventures so one or a bundle of these might be the perfect experience.
Along the same lines, camping, canoeing and kayaking are another option for sporty moms—in case you are wondering, this would defiantly not be on my personal list of fun things to do, but I am often reminded that not everyone likes the same things, and for some moms camping, glamping and outdoor activities are the bomb.
I’ve always preferred to spend Mother’s Day with my family, not off by myself at the spa, (though there were definitely other days I wanted to be at a spa by my self!) Brooke and her father surprised me with a family weekend at the local spa, which was lovely. We went as a family are were able to enjoy a huge Mother’s Day buffet, hours beside the pool and a few spa treatments. Perfect for the mom who wants to be pampered AND spend time with her family.
We’ve booked a family getaways for Mother’s Day several times, and played tourist, enjoying fine dining, and discovering the charms of a new city. The key is to find a location with plenty of indoor and out door activities your family likes. We’ve taken a few trips where it rained or was very cold, that’s why it’s important to have a backup plan if you decide to take a trip.
One tank trips:
A few years back, Roger and I started taking one tank trips to interesting places around our area. I purchased a couple of One Tank Trip booklets to find places I wouldn’t have thought of. We went to an Aviation Museum for Roger’s birthday, and after found a hole in the wall barbecue restaurant that turned out to be a state award winner. It was soooo good and super memorable.
I’d love to hear your memorable experiences! Let me know in the comments below, and I will add them to next year’s list!
For thoughtful gifts and more on Mother’s Day:
Updated: April 24, 2021
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