A handmade macaroni-covered card was fine when you were in kindergarten, but these days we think Mom deserves something that won’t crumble after a few weeks. Whether your Mama is into cooking, running, yoga, hitting the gym — or just hitting the snooze button — we’ve got great gift ideas for every budget.
For the Amateur Chef
Photo: Blue Apron
1. Blue Apron Subscription
Even the best cooks need a little help every once in a while. Blue Apron delivers pre-measured ingredients and instructions for three fresh, healthy recipes per week. Choose how many people you’re cooking for, then pick either the vegetarian or the meat/seafood option.
2. Wine of the Month Club
More into rosé than running? A wine club is a great way to discover the intricacies of wine. Most wine subscription services deliver 12 bottles once every three months — definitely enough for a heart-healthy glass every night. The Wall Street Journal Wine Club and Laithwaites Wine Club are both good options.
3. Herb Garden Kit
Spice up cooking with fresh herbs grown right at home. Stop by a home and garden store for a pretty pot, soil, plant food, and herb seeds such as basil, thyme, parsley, oregano, rosemary, and chives. Or, order an all-in-one herb garden kit like this one from Burpee.
4. “How to Cook Everything” by Mark Bittman
This book is unbelievably useful for anyone getting started — or looking for inspiration — in the kitchen. Bittman includes 2,000 recipes from simple to complex, with detailed instructions and variations to personalize each dish.
For the Healthy Foodie
5. Dark Chocolate
Here’s a hint: most women will appreciate a well-made, rich bar of dark chocolate (no chalky milk chocolate here, thank you very much). Indulge ethically with a sweet tread made from sustainably grown, Fair Trade beans. Some knockout brands that feature delicious, innovative flavors as well as a morally commendable business model include Alter Eco, Dagoba, and Madécasse.
6. Naturebox Subscription
Choosing a healthy snack is easy when a boxful of nutritious goodies arrives once a month. Naturebox delivers five packages of wholesome nibbles, from nuts to crackers to cookies made with whole-wheat flour and 100-percent fruit juice.
7. Homemade Meal
This isn’t the fanciest or most innovative suggestion, but for many mothers, a simple and heartfelt gift is far better than an expensive one. A nice bottle of wine, a delicious home-cooked meal, and plenty of conversation make a great last-minute present. If Mom is the main dinner chef at home, treat her with some precious moments of relaxation while you slave over the hot stove preparing her favorite meal. Don’t forget dessert! A bar of dark chocolate, perhaps?
8. “Superfood Kitchen” by Julie Morris
Figuring out how to get the most out of healthy ingredients is a snap with Morris’s cookbook. With recipes from breakfast (Banana Seed Bread) to dinner (Quinoa with Secret Pesto and Sun-Dried Tomatoes) mom will know exactly what to do with a fresh haul from the farmer’s market.
For the Domestic Goddess
9. DIY Body Scrub
Encourage your mom to take some “me time” every once in a while with a set of homemade bath products. Pantry staples like oatmeal, sugar, and salt exfoliate, while bananas and milk moisturize. Pick a recipe, mix it up, and pour it into a pretty glass bottle for an attractive and useful gift.
10. Organic Flowers of the Month Club
If there’s anything better than flowers on Mother’s Day, it’s flowers any day of the year. Studies show that a vase of pretty blooms can increase productivity and creativity, and reduce depression and anxiety What is the evidence to support the use of therapeutic gardens for the elderly? Detweiler MB, Sharma T, Detweiler JG, Murphy PF, Lane S, Carman J, Chudhary AS, Halling MH, Kim KY. Psychiatry Service, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Geriatric Research Group, Salem, VA, Virginia Tech-Carillion School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, Roanoke, VA, USA. Psychiatry Investigation. 2012 June;9(2):100-10.. Sign up for a flower of the month club to get fresh blooms delivered once a month for three months, six months, or a full year (depending on your budget). Many online flower companies offer monthly services but some, like Organic Bouquet, only deal with sustainable, organic, and ethically produced flowers.
11. Massage or Salon Gift Certificate
There’s nothing better than a day at the spa for getting some serious R and R. Book a massage session (or any other relaxing treatment) at a local salon. Getting a massage has been proven to reduce physical pain, boost mood, and fight overall stress Effects of massage on pain, mood status, relaxation, and sleep in Taiwanese patients with metastatic bone pain: A randomized clinical trial. Jane, S.W., Chen, S.L., Wilkie, D.J., et al. Department of Nursing, Chang Gung University of Science and Technology, Taiwan. Pain. E pub July 11..
12. “Feng Shui That Makes Sense” by Cathleen McCandless
Clearing, organizing, and reorienting your home according to ancient feng shui principles sounds difficult, but this book makes it totally approachable. Feng shui is all about reorganizing objects to help balance the flow of energy (or chi) through a room. McCandless breaks down feng shui and clearly explains how to use the techniques to create a beautiful, comfortable home.
For the Yogi
Photo by Jordan Shakeshaft
13. Fair Trade Clothing and Equipment
Let your mom focus on her practice (and not on a stinky, slippery mat) with eco-friendly yoga equipment. We love the mats and blocks made from sustainable materials like bamboo, cork, jute, and natural rubber from yoga company Hugger Mugger. Well-designed, sustainable threads from prAna or Hyde Yoga will help mom bend and stretch without worrying about a wardrobe malfunction or un-comfy seams.
14. “Tara Stiles: This is Yoga” Four DVD Set
Why shell out bucks for yoga classes when you can get your om on in the middle of the living room? Score Tara Stiles’ new four-DVD set — including Daily Yoga, Beginners Yoga, AM/PM Yoga, and Complete Yoga Library — provides plenty of yoga routines and instruction for all levels. Want even more routines? Head to Stiles’ website for yoga downloads and more DVDs.
15. Gift Certificate to Local Studio
For a more social yoga experience, gift mom a voucher for a class or personal session at a local yoga studio. She’ll be able to work on technique, learn new poses, and meet like-minded yogis in town.
16. “Hell-Bent” by Benjamin Lorr
This non-fiction book is a must-read for any yoga devotee, especially those who get their kicks from Bikram yoga. Lorr supplements the tale of his two-year journey through the world of competitive yoga with plenty of research and interviews with yogis, scientists, and doctors. It’s a fascinating (and more than a bit strange) story of extremes, the amazing human body, and yoga.
For the Gym Buff
17. Actvyist Gym Bag
Is mom still schlepping her clothes and sneaks in a falling-apart shopping bag? If so, it’s definitely time for an upgrade. And while you’re at it, choose a bag that does some good for the world while keeping undies out of sight. With the purchase of each gym bag, Actvyist donates money to funding girls’ sports teams and facilities in Niceragua. Why sports? Studies show that staying active and committing to a team can help girls be healthier, happier, and better educated.
18. Personal Training Gift Certificate
Don’t get stuck in a rut! Purchase a session with a personal trainer to teach Mom some new moves at the gym. She’ll learn correct technique, challenging routines, and more importantly, how to build build strength (which is essential to maintaining healthy bones, especially for women). After she learns the moves, think about joining her for a sweat session — working out with a buddy can help both of you get better results Aerobic exercise is promoted when individual performance affects the group: a test of the Kohler motivation gain effect. Irwin, B.C., Scorniaenchi, J., Kerr, N.L. et al. Kinesiology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI. Annals of Behavioral Medicine 2012;44(2):151-9..
19. GymBoss Interval Timer
Futzing around with an iPhone or old-school stop watch wastes valuable gym time. Help your mom be as productive as possible at the gym with the Gym Boss Timer. Repeating intervals makes it easy to keep track of HIIT, Tabata, sprints, or any kind of timedtraining.
20. “The First 20 Minutes” by Gretchen Reynolds
We all want to be healthy, but there’s tons of information out there — how are we supposed to know what’s legit? Reynolds, who writes the popular “Phys Ed” column for The New York Times, breaks down health and fitness with recent research and science. Her new book debunks fitness myths and explains current fitness findings in clear, understandable language. It’s a must-read for anyone serious about staying healthy and fit for life, not just until swimsuit season.
For the Runner
21. Foam Roller
A long stretching and foam rolling session is the icing on the cake of a long, tough run. Foam rolling loosens up tight muscles and helps connective tissue stay healthy and supple. A Trigger Point foam roller and The Stick’s Marathon Stick will do the trick and keep sore muscles at bay.
22. Garmin Forerunner 10
This gift is a bit more expensive than the other ideas, but it’s a perfect gift for a marathoning mom. The Garmin GPS tracks distance, pace, and calories burned, plus it records past information to keep track of goals. Best of all, it’s super lightweight and user-friendly — start tracking with the push of a button, and go.
Few things are more annoying than earphones that fall out every few strides. Enter Yurbuds, invented by two active dudes who were sick of dealing with flimsy headphones while training for triathlons and marathons. Yurbuds are guaranteed to stay in, even when the going gets tough. A brightly-colored pair will help Mom focus in on a tough run.
24. “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall
Whether or not your mom runs barefoot or sticks with sneaks, this book can provide her with some inspiration. The book centers on the Tarahumara tribe, a native Mexican population famous for their unbelievable running endurance, grace, and speed. Over the course of his research, McDougall learns to run like a Tarahumara, goes behind the scenes of the American ultrarunning community, and even travels down to the Mexican canyons for a race with the amazing runners themselves.
For the Zen Mama
Photo by Jordan Shakeshaft
25. Gift Certificate for Meditation Class
Meditation is much more than sitting with your eyes closed. For someone looking to get into mindfulness meditation, a guided class can be a great introduction. Scope out meditation centers in your area and score a gift card to help mom learn how to relax and reconnect.
26. Aromatherapy Set
While studies show that aromatherapy doesn’t always reduce anxiety, sniffing yummy-scented oils can still be a pleasant, comforting experience. If mom is more earth mama than tiger mother, gift her a beginner kit of essential oils. Introduce her to aromatherapy with some aromatherapy bath products or a small set of oils.
27. Tea Notes
If your mom’s into her afternoon tea, Tenota tea notes will be right up her alley. Go to the website, pick out a tea, and write out messages for each bag. Every time she grabs a packet of Earl Grey or Peppermint Soother, she’ll see a loving, happy message. Warm and fuzzies all around.
28. “Mindfulness for Beginners” by Jon Kabat-Zinn
What is mindfulness? And how the heck do we achieve it? Kabat-Zinn’s book explains how to reconnect with the senses, ease anxiety, stay present in daily activities, and reclaim your “wholeness.” It’s a good introductory guide to anyone interested in mindfulness and meditation.
For the Sleeping Beauty
29. Clock Radio
Scoring a high-quality alarm clock/radio/MP3 dock can be pricey, but a nice one will last long beyond the warrantee. Plus, there’s nothing better than listening to tunes in bed or waking up to a favorite song instead of a blaring alarm clock. iHome makes tons of models at different price points to choose from. More into soothing sounds than the Rolling Stones in the morning? Download the iHome Zen app (or any other white noise soundtrack) and plug it in.
30. Scented Eye Mask
A dark room plus soothing herbs is a recipe for deep, rejuvenating sleep. Hook mom up with a lavender-filled eye mask to let her sleep in. Smelling lavender before bed can help with insomnia. Snag one here or make your own from scratch. Bonus points for bringing breakfast in bed when she finally wakes up!
31. Fancy PJs
Special pajamas (aka not just a scruffy old work t-shirt and sweats) make any night feel special. Splurge on a high-quality set made of sustainable materials, like these super soft jammies from Gaiam made from bamboo and organic cotton.
32. Wake-up Light
Getting up in the morning is easier (and less jarring) with a light alarm clock that mimics the rising sun. Program the time you want to get up in the morning, and the machine gradually increases light intensity for 30 minutes until it’s bright and cheery. Some models also include nature sounds and an iPod dock to make waking up even more pleasant.
What are you getting your mom (or the mother figure in your life) this year? Did we miss any great ideas? Tell us all about it in the comments below or tweet the author @SophBreene.
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