Mother’s Day Gifts That Don’t Blow

Mother’s Day is this Sunday–but judging by the fact that everyone is panicking over what to get the woman who bore them, I’m guessing you already all know.

I saw a commercial the other day that suggested “Get mom a Dyson this Mother’s Day!” If you do that, you are doing it wrong.

The problem is that, to compensate for the fact that we have no idea what to do, we convince ourselves bigger is better and over-think to the extreme . This scenario usually ends with us sending a $300.00 Edible Arrangement basket to her office and feeling bad about ourselves because we know it really doesn’t mean that much (my apologies to the makers of Edible Arrangements, but if I want to pay $20 for a strawberry cut into the shape of a heart, I will buy one, cut it myself, and spend the remaining $19.50 on shoes).

There are also those who go the opposite route and attempt to put meaning to something with no real value. First, I want you to look up the meaning of “cognitive dissonance.” Then, I want you to take a long, hard look at that macaroni necklace you have sitting on your dresser. I know, I know. You thought it would be “ironic” or “unique” right? Wrong. Go boil dat shit, sprinkle some Parmesan on there, and let me know how it tastes.

All in all, Mother’s Day can be tricky. So let’s try and fix that.

  • Tickets

A pair of tickets are the Mother’s Day version of killing two birds with one PayPal button. She gets a gift that says “Hey! I’m going to get to spend time with my kid! They don’t want to disown me after all!” and then (surprise!) she gets to spend that time with you!

Check out listings for upcoming concerts, ballets, operas, etc. and find something you can see her loving every minute of. When browsing, try not to rank each event on the likelihood of you falling asleep or whether or not the venue has cheese fries.

I would be your mother if you took me to see La Boheme.

  • Somethin’ for the Workin’ Woman

If your mom works, get her something that she can keep on her desk or hang on the wall of her office. That way, each time Debbie from Accounting royally screws up her day, she can look to the picture of you on her desk to calm her nerves instead of going on a murderous rampage.

Artwork, picture frames, and other knick-knacks (God, there has to be a better word…) can very quickly venture into the cliché, so it’s important to personalize this to the max. If you get a unique frame, take the time to choose a great picture. If you are shopping and see one of those porcelain farm animals or hand stitched tapestries of Elvis that usually make you go “Why the hell would anyone buy a ceramic chicken? Ever?” but it suddenly reminds you of a great trip you two took to a farm in Connecticut years ago, it could make for a great, sentimental present.

The only issue with this, due to your constant presence in her workspace, you will now receive ten times more office chain e-mails with subject lines akin to “Funny Pictures of Cats!!!!1!”

If your mom doesn’t have a desk/office due to the fact that she is a nurse or a fighter pilot, I think the next option will do quite nicely.

  • A Home-Cooked Meal

Nothing could really be more stereotypical than cooking someone dinner, but oftentimes, nothing could be more special. Even if you didn’t make the cut on last season of Iron Chef, this is truly a case where it’s the thought that counts. Set out a full spread and cook something simple and classic. Might I recommend lasagna, rosemary chicken, or Irish stew? Don’t rush through dinner, either…have a great conversation, relax with coffee or tea after, and maybe put on a guilty pleasure movie.


  • A Subscription

This is a very flexible suggestion, but there’s so much fun to be had with it!

If your mom loves to decorate or garden, subscribe her to a magazine that will inspire her interests ( has awesome discount prices!)

If she is too busy to keep up with what’s happening on Mad Men, register her for a Netflix account.

If she is a food connoisseur, sign her up for a wine or cheese of the month club.

Yeah yeah, it sounds silly and pretentious to put it that way, but if you pick something she’s really interested in, it will be something she looks forward to every month. I believe Cousin Eddie put it best when he said “Clarke that’s the gift that keeps on giving the whole year!”

  • Nothing

Get a straw and suck up the Dr. Pepper you just spit everywhere at the thought of not presenting your mom with a well thought-out gift this Sunday. Hear me out–it doesn’t take much consideration to realize mom’s don’t care if they get a monogrammed silk bathrobe. They look forward to the day because it means spending time with their family.

So, why not try skipping gift-giving all together? No, this doesn’t mean you kick up your heels and think to yourself “Yep, I am doing a good deed–my mom doesn’t need any worldly possessions as a validation of my love! I am such a good person.” Wrong.

Take her out to a movie or lunch and let that be that. Then, a few weeks or months from now, treat her to that something special for no real reason at all (aside from the fact that your mom is awesome).

In the end, the day is about her–gifts are just a customary extension of that fact. No matter what you decide to get her, even if it’s ye olde flowers and chocolates, as long as it’s given in an earnest way, it won’t go unappreciated.

What do you plan on doing with/for your mom this Sunday? Let me know!