5 Mother’s Day gifts you can’t buy

Gifts you can't buy for mom
CC BY 2.0 Don DeBold

Ah yes, Mother’s Day: yet another holiday where our good intentions to appreciate and celebrate something very important are turned into a shopping-fest. But spending a lot of money on gifts for mom, or the other deserving nurturers you want to celebrate this May, doesn’t mean the recipients will be delighted. In fact, research shows that a higher-priced gift doesn’t correlate with the perception of more thoughtfulness. If you’re looking to dial-down the consumerism while still showing mom your appreciation, we’ve got some great ideas.

These gifts aren't gender specific, and could all be great for dads, too.

A meaningful meal

Breakfast in bed is a celebratory standard, but why not get more creative? Pack her a week’s worth of lunches, invite her friends for a cocktail hour or make a special three-course dinner. Or if your mother actually loves doing the cooking herself, why not offer to be a sous-chef, errand-runner or dish-washer?

Plan an outing to her favorite place

The nice thing about the timing of Mother’s Day is that the weather is likely to cooperate for a lovely outdoors day. Make the most of it by planning to spend some time with both mom and Mother Nature. Maybe it’s just a short trip to enjoy the sunshine in a nearby park, or maybe it’s a whole weekend hiking on her favorite forest trail. Bird watching, gardening or spending a day at the beach are also all good options. Maybe you’ll need to consult her to find a time that works with her schedule, but if you can’t set the date, you can still make her a personalized certificate promising that you will spend some time in a place she likes.

Create a memory book

You can opt for either a physical paper-and-ink scrapbook, or consider making a digital version. Personally, I think scrapbooks are best when annotated, so spend some time writing captions or even recounting stories. Poems and favorite quotes can also be nice additions, or if you’re using a digital platform, record some video or audio clips. Even a handmade card with a favorite story or love letter can speak volumes more than commercial cards or “#1 Mom” trinkets.

Take one of her chores off her hands

Think about the mom in your life that you want to celebrate. What is something she doesn’t like doing, or even if she doesn’t mind, really doesn’t have time for? Maybe it’s grocery shopping or installing a new light-switch, maybe it’s picking up kids from school. Do that thing for her. A really great gift would be doing that chore for her more than once, maybe for the whole month of May or maybe forever. Little kids can get in on this one too, with chores like dishes, watering the garden or vacuuming.

Give her some space

Not all moms will want alone time, but many will—particularly those with younger children. Offering child care or whatever else needs to be done so that she can spend some free time however she pleases can be a welcome gift. If you’re not sure if this gift will go over well, go ahead and ask first. A good gift doesn’t necessarily have to be a surprise.

5 Mother’s Day gifts you can’t buy
If you’re looking to dial-down the consumerism while still showing mom your appreciation, we’ve got some great ideas.

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