She nursed you through countless cases of childhood sniffles, taught you to tie your shoes and make a mean omelet, and she’s still your go-to source for good advice and your favorite home-baked cookies. Are you really going to just give Mom a pair of socks and some flowers for Mother’s Day? You can do better than that.
In the tradition of a current pop-culture meme, here’s a “give this, not that” list of Mother’s Day ideas:
Give: Your time. Last year, 44 percent of mothers surveyed by online deal site PriceGrabber said they wanted quality time with their family for Mother’s Day. Whether your family includes adult children who live and work far from their childhood home (and Mom) or a busy family with young children, it can be hard to find time to spend with each other on a regular basis. On Mother’s Day, make a point of devoting the day to Mom. Whatever you choose to do together – dine out, visit a botanical garden or just hang out at home – you’ll be giving her the gift she wants most: time with you.
Don’t give: Stuff. There’s a difference between a thoughtful gift that has meaning to the recipient, and something clearly bought out of desperation just so the giver has something to hand over on Mother’s Day. Moms know the difference. Things like cowboy boots, sunglasses and even designer purses were among the items mothers said they didn’t want in a survey by Ebates. Don’t wait until the last minute to buy something she may not want. Put some thought into the gift a week or two before the big day so you can be sure you’re giving her something she really wants, like a piece of unique jewelry, her favorite bath products, or an attractive scarf.
Give: A great meal out. It’s easy to understand why dining out was on the list of most-wanted gifts for mothers in every geographic area surveyed by Ebates. What could make Mom happier than enjoying a great meal with her family? Not having to cook it herself or clean up afterward! Taking Mom out for meal is a time-honored Mother’s Day tradition and restaurants can be busy on the first Sunday of May. In fact, Chris Ciavarra, senior vice president of marketing for Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, reports that Mother’s Day is one of the busiest days of the year for their restaurant locations across the country. When choosing a place to take Mom, look for a place that will please her palate with familiar flavors, good food and the kind of warm, comforting ambience she creates in her own dining room or kitchen. Family-style restaurants like Cracker Barrel are a good choice for Mother’s Day because there’s something on the menu for everyone. Plus, when Mom’s done with her meal, she can pick out the perfect gift from the store’s collection of nostalgic items.
Don’t give: Practical kitchen items. No matter how much Mom says she wants a new electric can opener or how much she needs a new set of pots and pans, don’t give these items on Mother’s Day. Moms are more than just the sum of the time they spend in the kitchen. If she really needs and wants those things, why not give them to her at some other time of year, for no other reason than she’s a great mother? Or, if you must give something kitchen-related for Mother’s Day, consider something that’s pretty and fun, too, like decorative serve ware. Buy from a store that offers free gift wrapping services – like Cracker Barrel – and it’s even easier to give a good-looking gift.
Give: Gift cards. A gift card to her favorite store was another popular selection of moms surveyed by Ebates. But don’t think giving her a gift card is all you have to do. Research to find just the right card for her, and then offer to accompany her on a shopping excursion to her favorite store. That way, you’ll be giving her two things she wants most – a gift card and time spent with you.
Don’t give: Technology. Do you really want to give Mom a smartphone that will be obsolete by next Mother’s Day? Or a tablet so complicated she’ll never figure out how to use it on her own? If your mother’s digitally inclined, chances are she already has the tech she needs and wants. And if she doesn’t, trying to choose it for her can be like trying to pick a pet for someone else – never a good idea. Instead, keep gift items simple, personal and nostalgic.