10 unboring Mother’s Day gifts you can still pull off

Wouldn't your mom lover her very own avatar?
Wouldn’t your mom love her very own avatar?

So it’s kind of a Hallmark holiday—you want a card with that perfect “thank you” that puts a tear in your mom’s eye and lets her know you love her, and you didn’t mean to not call her back for a month. Gifts are good too, and the show-your-love clock is ticking, so you need something good, fast. And not too expensive. We’ve all gone the last-minute, impersonal route—the candle, the soaps the Amazon gift card. But just because it’s, like Thursday, doesn’t mean it’s too late to do something more interesting. Here are 10 suggestions:

1) Take care of the next few Mother’s Days too. Maybe this one is more for you, but the idea is to set yourself up for future gifts. For example, get her a French press coffee maker—then you can give her a bag of good coffee every time you want to thank her. More ideas: the first book/DVD in a box set, a scent from Fresh (she’ll love it; next year she gets the lotion) or a charm necklace. The first gift is the splurge, but then you only have to add to it for every other holiday forever.

2) Skip brunch and take her out for cocktails instead. It’s not really fun to be surrounded by tons of kids in a noisy restaurant. Take her out to eat the night before and make it fun. Go out for margaritas or a cheese plate with a nice glass of Rose. If you won’t be together this weekend, offer to visit soon, with a plan like this as part of the deal. She probably knows she’s always invited, but an earnest (um, hopefully) reminder will make her feel special. Take her to The Castello Plan in Ditmas Park or Fort Greene’s No. 7.

3) Make her feel cool. Or rather, awesome. Put up a picture of her on My Parents Were Awesome. The past tense might be a little offensive, but, I mean, how often has she told you that you used to be sweet?

4) Help her start a blog. Show your mom how personal and helpful blogs can be (have her go through the blogroll of just one or two sites, like CoolMomPicks, and she’ll probably have that moment you did when you realized the internet was bigger and also more personal that you could ever imagine). That’s step one. Then help her get started with her own. She can always start with one of these, and make sure to follow through with the ongoing process, so you’re part of it with her. Just remember to drive home that one mommy blogger cardinal rule: no naked baby pics of you.

5) Bring the Genius Bar to her desk. Ok, maybe not genius, but there’s probably more you know about the internets than she does. Offer up your services, and don’t forget to tack on patience and and positive attitude free of charge. The last time I did this I found out my mom had three iPod shuffles because she didn’t know you could take songs on and off. If you live far away, guide her through the Skype download on the phone (“click download”).

6) Give her a scrapbook of all-grown-up you. There are probably tons of photo albums and scrapbooks from when you were little. But start a photo album or scrapbook for her of you now. Put in some pictures that you have from the past year (if you remember how to print photos anymore), and throw in some captions and stickers too, just like old times.

7) Give her an Avatar. At Design-her Gals, you can make a little avatar of your mom (or yourself) and put it on mugs, aprons, business cards, stationary, etc. It’s affordable ($14-$35 for mugs to aprons, with some added fees for customizing), and it’s really fun.

8) Show her you know what mom-hood means. Give her Balance is a Crock, Sleep is for the Weak, a new guide book for working mothers. Brooklynite mom and writer Amy Sohn told us it is hilarious and very smart, and “teaches you that there is no way to have it all.” So maybe your mom doesn’t need to be taught that, but it’s always nice to hear that it’s true for everyone.

9) Put an end to the boring body work. She’s had the mani, the pedi, the stone massage and the aromatherapy. How about getting your mom a nice beating? No, really. A platza! It’s $44 for 15 minutes (that’s an ample amount of time, trust me!) at Body by Brooklyn. Time-out has lots of other great unique spa ideas. And for the recent or soon-to-be moms in your life, Indigo Pilates Studio in Park Slope is offering free pre-natal and post-partum mat classes this Saturday, May 8, and Monday, May 10.

10) Give her something she wouldn’t buy herself. This doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money. Sometimes it’s just nice to get something fun. Like these wallflowers (25 for $39) from A & G Merch. Fun, not necessary—and appreciated: what this day is all about!


  1. “Fun, not necessary” needs to be the tagline under Mother’s Day Gifts because one time I got my mom a swiffer sweeper WITH a refill box. She looked at me with no smile on her face and said, “what is this, some kind of hint?” and didn’t even say thanks. WHAT? I was 11, lesson learned: even a homeade card made 3 seconds before she walks in the door is better than cleaning supplies….WOOPS.

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