What can you get for Mom that’s neither of the two old stand-bys: flowers and perfume?
Here are 11 gift ideas that could make your mother very happy. Why? They’ll save time, are non-toxic, beautify her space and show you care. Plus, they don’t involve buying a bunch of stuff your Mom really doesn’t need and will only end up as clutter. What’s not to love?
1. A Meal.
Make your mom breakfast, brunch or dinner. This may seem insignificant to you, but trust me, as much as most moms love to make food for their families, what they love more is just sitting down with them to eat, talk and laugh. If you don’t want to cook, take-out works just great. Or try a meal delivery service, like GreenChef, HealthyChefCreations or HomeChef.
2. An Actual Massage.
Don’t give your mom a gift certificate for a massage. I can tell you from experience that certificates often go unused, misplaced and eventually forgotten. Set up the appointment for her, take her there, wait for her and bring her home. Trust me on this one.
3. A Perennial Plant for the Garden, Patio or Porch.
Walk around your mom’s house and take a look at what might have died over the winter. Hydrangeas? Azaleas? Roses? Then head over to the garden center or get online and order the plant or plants she likes. If you get it at the garden center, you can help her plant it on Mother’s Day.
4. 4 Hours of Help in the Garden or Around the House.
Every Mother’s Day, my sister’s adult kids show up at her house to help her get her yard ready for spring and summer. They pull out her grill and patio furniture, set out the bird feeders and do some light yard work before taking her out to dinner. They’re happy to help and she loves having it!
5. An Indoor Plant That Helps Purify the Air.
Rather than short-lived cut flowers, get a nice full houseplant that does double-duty as an air purifier. According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, here are 20 plants that are beautiful, tolerate different levels of sunlight and water and freshen the air.
6. A Clean Car.
I love it when my kids drive away in my dirty car, take it to the car wash, get it cleaned inside and out, then stop on the way home to fill up the tank. That is pretty much a perfect Mother’s Day gift as far as I’m concerned.
7. A Surprise Outing.
Though I enjoy planning activities for my family, it’s a real treat when someone else does it for me. So think about what Mom loves to do, then arrange the day around that activity. Whether it’s a museum outing or bowling, make it happen (whether you enjoy it or not—remember it’s MOTHER’S Day, not your day).
8. A New Non-Toxic Frying Pan.
If your mother is still cooking in pots and pans coated with Teflon-type non-stick stuff, give her a gift she can use for the rest of her life: a new stainless steel or cast iron skillet (or, depending on your budget, a set of non-toxic pots and pans). If you get cast iron, make sure it’s already seasoned so food won’t stick. Or, read the directions, and season the skillet for your mom after she opens the present.
9. A Collection of Non-Toxic Soaps and Lotions.
Before you buy, take a look at what your mother already uses, noting the fragrances she prefers. Then choose a collection of hand soap, liquid soap and body lotion infused with the same fragrances, but derived from the oils of the actual flowers she likes, such as rose oil, geranium oil, lavender oil and coconut oil. The soaps and lotions should be free of triclosan, an excessive antibacterial agent, as well as parabens and pthalates.
10. A Subscription to a Book-of-the-Month club or Audible.com.
This gift will keep Mom company when you’re not around. Audible.com makes it possible to listen to thousands of books online or on a mobile device, anytime, anywhere. The first book downloaded is free, and there’s also a 30-day free trial.
11. Technology Lessons.
Is your mother on Facebook? Does she know how to use Facetime, Skype or iChat? Does she realize she can store all her photos in “the cloud” so she doesn’t lose them? Does she need help getting rid of useless apps? Or, are there a couple of terrific apps she should know about but hasn’t had time to download? Don’t assume because she emails a lot that she’s totally on top of tech. She’s probably suffering from as much tech anxiety as the rest of us. After a nice meal, sit down with your mom and her phone, laptop, tablet or desktop, and help her clean up her devices, streamline the apps she uses, and maybe even help her set up a Facebook account if she doesn’t have one.
What mother doesn’t love pictures of her kids and grandkids? There’s a reason why this suggestion is always on the list of gifts moms adore! Pull together a photo album from the last year or print out some lovely photos of her and her children, then frame them in a frame with a stand so she can put it on a living room table or on her desk at work. Or take a favorite photo and have it screened on to a mousepad for her computer or on the front of an apron to add to that new non-toxic frying pan you’re giving her. You can also put photos of the kids on a set of coffee cups, mugs or into a magnetized frame for the refrigerator.