Mother's Day Gifts: Offbeat Gift Ideas


An official holiday in the United States since 1914, Mother’s Day is a day to show the woman who shaped you into the person you are how much you love and appreciate them. It could be your mother or it could be another female figure like a grandmother or aunt, and whether she is family by blood or by choice, we all want to honor that woman.

Flowers, presents, and meals out at restaurants are the standard Mother’s Day gifts. Sometimes we want to think outside the box when it comes to showing our love to our mothers. Sometimes a pot of pansies just isn’t enough. Sometimes we are unfortunate to have mothers with birthdays really close to Mother’s Day, so we have to think up multiple great gifts way too close together. Thanks for having an April birthday, Mom!

Mother’s Day is May 12 this year and that need for a gift will sneak up on you faster than a ninja. Since I’ve been racking my brain for gift ideas, you shouldn’t have to too. Here are some offbeat Mother’s Day ideas:

1. The Long Distance Mom

When it comes right down to it, nothing you can buy your mother will ever mean as much to her as spending your time with her, but sometimes this just isn’t an option. If many miles separate you from your mom on Mother’s Day you can still make the day special for her. Before the 12th, have someone, possibly a conspiring dad, install Skype on her computer so you can wish her a happy Mother’s Day face-to-face. Call her beauty salon and pre-pay for her next appointment. Pay for a year’s subscription to that magazine she always looks at in the checkout line but can never justify buying. You can do a lot from far away with just a phone and the internet.

2. The Mom Who Loves the Great Outdoors

If the woman in your life is more comfortable walking through the woods than a mall, then perhaps a gift that lets her enjoy the beauty of nature would be a perfect Mother’s Day surprise. Get her a pass that will get her into all the national parks for a year and then spend Mother’s Day hiking with her at the park closest to you. Passes can be bought online. If you’re handy with power tools, build her something that she put use in her yard or garden. You can find free plans online for just about anything, supplies aren’t expensive and it’s not nearly as hard as it looks. Show up at Mom’s house on Mother’s Day with several pots and then take her to a local garden center so she can pick out plants to go in them. Or, if her house has a porch, consider buying her a swing. Nothing beats a swing, a blanket and cup of coffee/tea on the porch on a drizzly day.

3. The Mom Who is Good With Her Hands

I think the drive to craft is genetic; my grandmother, mother and I are all crafters. The great thing about having people in your life who are crafters is that they appreciate homemade gifts so much more than non-crafters. The time you put into a present is just as much a part of the gift as the item itself. You have some time between now and Mother’s Day. Learn a new skill and make her something. Some YouTube videos taught me how to knit in an afternoon. Mom will love the gift and will love that you are being productive. If you don’t have time for that, buy something from a local artist. A flea market is a good place to find them, or there’s always Etsy. Raid Mom’s Pinterest boards for ideas then collect supplies and have a crafting day with her on Mother’s Day. If you live close to your mother, arrange for you and her to take a class together. Check with your local community education group or agriculture extension office for their class schedules.

4. The Mom Who Loves Her Central Heat and Air

For some, the outdoors is something to be avoided instead of enjoyed. There are too many bugs (that’s me) and too many snakes (that’s my mom). If your mom falls into this category an indoor activity may be the right idea for Mother’s Day. Get her a gift card for the local movie theater and take her to see a film. If spending time in the kitchen is more her style, get her a cookbook for a type of food she’s always wanted to try and then make her something out of it for lunch on Mother’s Day. But remember, unless she specifically asks for it, never buy her a diet cookbook. You won’t like the reaction you get. Or if she’s into history, buy Mom a gift membership to Ancestry and spend Mother’s Day discovering information on the other women in your family.

5. The Mile-A-Minute Mom

We all know this type of mom and many of us have this type of mom. The woman who works eight hours a day, runs kids to practice and classes in the afternoon, cooks a full meal every night, has side projects going on all the time, and still finds time somewhere for laundry. Basically she’s Wonder Woman in a Sedan. If this sounds like the woman you want to honor on Mother’s Day, consider offering to take over her duties for a while.

A breather will be a welcome present. Chances are, anyone this busy puts the needs of her family above her own so she’s probably still using a flip phone that’s way past its prime. If you can afford it, pay to upgrade her to a smart phone so she can keep up with all her appointments. Buy or make something beautiful for her desk so she’ll always have something handy to make her smile on long days at the office.

6. The Mom Who Loves a Uniform

Whether the woman in your life is a member of the armed forces herself or she’s a military spouse, her backbone is made of steel and patriotism, and she deserves to have a day where she can relax. Let her get dolled up and take her out for a meal that didn’t come from the mess hall. Pay for her to go to an all day spa where she can be pampered; she’s earned it. But, if she still insists that she’s not special and would rather use her day to serve others, let her pick out a charity and together put in a day of service to your community.

7. The Out-Of-This-World Mom

This is the woman who the Force is always with. She taught you that with great power comes great responsibility, to always boldly go on adventures, and that happy thoughts can lift you up. Consider filling a fun, nerdy container (I suggest a TARDIS) with goodies from Think Geek. They are the mecca of nerdy-goodness; that’s where I got stocking stuffers for my mom last Christmas.

You can always buy your mom her own star. Realize that this is only symbolic; you don’t actually own a celestial body, but money can go to awesome charities if you go through a reputable organization. And if Mom is the adventurous sort, organize a trip and take her to a convention this summer as a delayed Mother’s Day celebration. Maybe I’ll get mine to go and we’ll see you there.