Mother’s day is a couple of weeks away, and as a daughter myself I never really know what they want (besides a card saying how we owe our entire lives to their generosity, love, and beauty). For one of my holiday gift guides I asked my boomer MIL what her friends want or don’t want for Christmas and what came out of that text chain was pure honest gold – we all learned so much about what that generation of women really want* (spoiler – gift cards for new experiences, not things). But now what?? The world has changed and that fly fishing school that Suz so desperately wanted to take lessons at might be closed for a while. So I texted her and my mom and said: “do dish – what do our moms really want?” Their direct answers are below.
*Don’t worry, last year Jess reminded us that quality time will always be the most valuable gift our children can give us, and that we can give the mother figures in our lives.
NOW IS THE PERFECT TIME TO HELP THEM START A NEW HOBBY
This is the category we probably got the most recommendations in, and it’s probably because we’re all finding we have a little extra time on our hands while staying home.
“Kits for small vegetable or herb gardens!”
Bloomscape Aromatic Herb Collection ($65) – This collection of three herbs (rosemary, sage, and thyme) arrive already potted, and sprouted, so all mom has to do is keep them alive.
Amazon Vegetable Growing Kit ($25) – This is a beginner’s kit that comes with everything someone would need to plant and grow four different veggies: purple carrot, lemon cucumber, romanesco broccoli, and black corn.
Verishop Herb Garden Basil Grow & Glow Kit ($35) – Not going to lie, I want this cute little kit for myself. The pot, packaging, and idea are all super cute.
“I suggest plants. Anything that blooms, always makes me happy.”
The Sill Blooming Plants Gift Set ($125) – This gift set comes with a petite white orchid and a pink anthurium both potted in their own well designed and stylish pots already. But, unlike sending a bouquet, these will keep living.
Modern Sprout Chamomile Growing Kit ($50) – This kit comes with everything needed to grow a little chamomile plant, and drink the tea your mom can make once it’s blooming.
“Gardening kits with gloves, spades, clippers, etc.”
Terrain Garden Gloves ($32) – Your mama’s hands have done so much for you over your life, so now it’s time to take care of them. These gardening gloves have miles of style over the bulky ones she has from Home Depot.
Terrain Carry-All Garden Stool ($48) – This is a foldable chair and tool carrying bag all in one, and it’s actually exactly what Caitlin from our team got her mom this year (because it’s exactly what her mom asked for).
Terrain Watering Can ($22) – If you’re thinking of getting your mom some indoor plants then make sure to get her a watering can to go with them.
Target 4-Piece Planting Kit ($20) – This is the budget option for a collection of essential gardening tools that will serve your mom well for years to come.
Food 52 Essential Set Of Two Garden Tools ($110) – And here’s the splurge-worthy set. As beautiful as they are functional.
“I’ve always wanted to learn how to make things like sushi or pasta, but never had the patience. Well, it feels like now is my chance to find that patience because I certainly have the time.”
Williams-Sonoma Sushi Kit ($32) – All your mom will need to provide is the fish (or whatever filling she prefers). Otherwise, this kit has everything she needs to take a stab at making her own sushi (plus the directions).
Food52 Handmade Sushi Serveware ($90) – And then she can set the table for a sushi dinner using these pretty ceramic chopstick and soy sauce serveware.
Food52 Wood Slotted Spoon ($25) – This is a spoon to last generations and become an heirloom piece. Plus it’ll scoop out homemade ravioli or tortellini with style.
Food52 Solid Wood Pasta Cutter ($54) – Learning to make her own pasta is as easy as mixing up some dough, rolling it out, and taking this pretty pasta cutter to it.
Amazon Pasta Maker ($50) – While rolling out dough and cutting it with a knife (or that pasta cutter from above) is about as easy as you can get, this Italian made pasta maker is the next step in achieving pasta perfection. Sara can attest to its ease and efficiency since she owns this exact model.
“I could definitely use a few cookbooks!! Meals have taken on ridiculous importance here. Jim went out and brought back egg McMuffins this morning… it was so exciting!!!”
Half Baked Harvest Super Simple ($18) – This is one of my favorite cookbooks, so I can only hope that either of my moms would love it too. It’s got so many delicious and healthy recipes, and so far we haven’t had a bad one.
Food52 Genius Recipes ($28) – If your mom is really into cooking, then she might enjoy this cookbook, which is filled with classic recipes that also happen to have pretty genius twists.
Jamie Oliver’s 5 Ingredients ($25) – But if your mom likes to takes things easier in the kitchen (and is trying to be a little more pantry conscious these days), then this might be the book for her. Like the title says, each recipe only takes 5 ingredients, and they’re all super easy to follow.
“Online subscriptions to meditation or classes!”
Ron Finley’s Gardening Master Class – No matter what size garden, patio, or indoor pots your mom might have, this online gardening course is going to teach her how to make the most of gardening wherever she can.
Alice Water’s Cooking Master Class – Alice Water’s literally seems like the nicest, most soothing woman I’ve ever seen, and I want to take this class myself just to listen to her talk about cooking. Not to mention, it looks like the dishes she teaches would be delicious.
Emily Henderson’s Styling Skillshare Class – LISTEN, we really did put a lot of thought and work into this online course. So if your mom just happens to be interested in design and styling (and maybe needs an excuse to move around all the throw pillows in her home), my online class might just fit the bill.
Calm App Subscription – This subscription app works on smartphones, tablets, and computers with tons of guided meditations. It also has these really awesome sleep stories, and a great collection of sleep sounds (like a noise machine) if that’s something you think your mom would enjoy.
Aaptiv App Subscription – I talked a bit about this app in our recent workout post, but it also has a ton of guided meditations. Sara is getting this for her mom this year – She already knows her mom uses a running app so she’s got the tech know-how and interest to use a health app, and she’s been lamenting about missing her weekly yoga classes. Problem solved.
These are just a few other ideas for fun project-based gifts that might be the perfect gift for a creative mom who needs something to work on.
Embroidery Kit ($13) – This was actually a gift idea from someone on our team’s grandma, who loves doing little creative projects, but likes having guidance to do them. This cute succulent embroidery kit comes with everything needed, and the finished project is ultra sweet.
Scrapbook Album ($119) – My love for scrapbooking is no secret. But even if your mom isn’t a hardcore scrapbook devotee, they might still like the idea of putting together a well-curated, beautifully designed scrapbook.
“There are cute jigsaw puzzles you can order with their pictures on them.”
Custom Puzzle ($54) – Indeed there are, and with Shutterfly you can upload your own photo to have it be turned into a puzzle (you also get to decide how many pieces your puzzle will be). I’ve never been a “frame a puzzle when it’s done” kind of person, but if it was a super cute photo of my kids I might reconsider. Also, imagine how fun it would be to put together a puzzle of your grandkids WITH your grandkids when they’re little?
SOMETHING A LITTLE EXTRA SPECIAL . . .
ABLE Phrase Necklace ($68) – I love this little necklace, and even though I don’t NEED a piece of jewelry for Mother’s Day, I wouldn’t say no to something this cute.
ABLE Mama Necklace ($58) – This is also very cute . . . .
Etsy Mama Necklace ($40) – I love this too! There’s just something about being called “mama” that makes my heart happy.
Le Papier Studio Silhouette Necklace ($68+) – GUYS, silhouettes are in STYLE right now, and I’m feeling very on trend. These little silhouette necklaces are so cute, and a creative take on the custom charm necklace.
Stacking Name Ring ($35+) – Another cute take on customized jewelry. I’d happily wear Charlie and Elliot’s names stacked on my finger.
Mama Sweatshirt ($35) – I actually just bought this for myself, and I’m so excited to get it in the mail. It looks like the perfect casual sweatshirt, and I love the graphic print.
“It is real easy for women to let their self-esteem slide and things that bolster her self-esteem really help out a lot.”
Living Libations Seabuckthorn Oil ($17+) – This was recommended in one of our recent beauty posts, and since then about 4 people in the office have bought it. If you think your mom needs some healthy skin indulgence, this facial oil (and literally anything from this site) are a good bet. It’s all-natural and organic.
The Ordinary Hydration Bundle ($20) – As skin ages it’s even more important to keep it hydrated and cared for. This bundle from cult skin care company The Ordinary is a good jumping-off point if you think it’s time for your mom to up her skin care game.
Replica Under The Lemon Tree Eau De Toilette ($30) – This bright, citrus scent is the perfect summer perfume. It’s light, happy, and not all stuffy.
Olive & June Nail Kit ($80) – Listen, I know from personal experience that right now a lot of us are missing our access to a nail salon. Now most of us go to a nail salon for a reason (I couldn’t paint my own right-hand nails if you paid me), but this kit comes with a cool tool that makes painting your own nails a lot easier. And the quality of the polish is top-notch.
L’occitane Hand Lotion ($29) – Is anyone else’s hands extra dry right now because of all this extra hand washing? There’s something about a good, creamy hand lotion that feels so luxurious. And honestly that what all moms need a little more of right now.
Super Soft Throw ($25) – This isn’t fancy, but boy is it GOOD. And the value of a good blanket for cuddling can’t be underrated.
“Helping Me Put Together Family Photos”
Artifact Uprising Photo Book – I too am a hoarder of family photos, and can’t wait until I can rely on my own children to collect and curate them for me. Until then, I’ll keep making these photos books. They take up a lot less room than framed photos, but they are so fun to go through.
Ceramic Oil Diffuser ($28) & Essential Oils ($25) – A small departure from the traditional candle (don’t worry, we’ll get to that below if that’s your jam), an oil diffuser is the pretty styling accessory that also makes a room smell amazing. And with all the essential oils out there, your mom can choose her scent based on her mood.
Anthropologie Capri Blue ($32) – A cult favorite, all the amazing reviews on this candle have to mean something.
Otherland Mom Gift Set ($36+) – Sara wrote about Otherland candles in her ode to why candles are the best gift ever, and right now they have a really pretty box set available just for Mother’s Day.
“Pretty stationary and cards to send to family and friends are nice gifts.”
Personalized Stationery ($20+) – Staying connected right now could be even cuter on personalized stationery. I personally love this buffalo check style.
Valley Brink Road Curated gift Box – For those of you who want to pamper and splurge from a far, my friend Barrett has a really beautiful gift box company. While it is splurgey, the sets are BEAUTIFUL and she is giving 25% off all orders in hope of keeping their small business doors open.
Kindle Gift Cards – A lot of people are doing a LOT of reading right now, and Kindle gift cards were recommended two or three times. I get it, I’m reading a lot too.
GIVE THEM SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO
Right now a lot of favorite gifts options – trips to an exciting show, dinner at a favorite restaurant, visit to an indulgent spa – are off the table. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t give your mom something to look forward to in the form of a gift card.
Here are our ideas: gift cards to a salon or spa, gift card to a favorite or extra special restaurant, a sweet letter with the plans for a weekend getaway once traveling is back on the table, season tickets to a theater.
Plus, this has the added benefit of supporting local businesses during this time!
BUT IN THE END, WHAT THEY ALL SAID THEY WANTED WAS JUST MORE QUALITY TIME
So, in case you are able to spend quality time with your mom/mom figure, or you just need some ideas for when you finally can, here are some amazing requests straight the mouths of the boomer moms in our lives.
“Making me a pie and then eating it together”
This is an actual quote, and it’s equal parts sweet and hilarious. But mostly SO SWEET. The only question is, what kind of pie? In case you’re not able to spend Mother’s Day together how about a zoom cooking class date. Think of your favorite dish that your mom makes, and have her teach you how to make it live over video chat! We love using our Facebook Portal for these sorts of things.
“Bike ride with sandwiches”
CUTE, yes ok we will go on a bike ride and bring sandwiches. Can’t wait.
“There are a lot of moms especially grandmas who are very lonely and feeling rather worthless because they can’t contribute very much. Sometimes letters of appreciation or things like that mean so much when you’re alone and missing family.”
This just really hits home right now. We’re all feeling a little more lonely, isolated, and helpless than usual. And honestly, the most important thing is to let the people we love know how important they are to us. A great twist on this could be having grandkids handwrite out a letter and then framing it.
So there are ALL of our Mother’s Day ideas, with a lot of help via direct requests and recommendations from our own moms. But we know there are so many more ways to get creative out there, so if you have something special you’re doing for Mother’s Day this year please let us know in the comments. And for any of you “boomer” moms and grandmas in the audience, do any of these requests ring true?
I’m a Gen X mom, and this a great list. I really like the plants, gardening gear, craft kits, personalized jewelry, photo albums, and silhouettes. Pretty much all of the ideas are great. One Christmas, I did a photo puzzle for my husband using a photo from a weekend getaway, and it was a huge success, which was unexpected. I thought I was giving him what I wanted.
My Mother’s Day gift from my husband and daughter is a Blackwing Volumes subscription. If you’re not familiar, they make amazing pencils and notebooks, perfect for writers and journalers. I also finally subscribed to The Crafter’s Box, and I’m super excited to get my first kit. Both would be great gifts that keep giving.
Mm, there is the most amazing garden center near my mom, if they’re still open I’m sure she would love a gift card.
Now that I think of it, though, I’m sure she’d be just as thrilled if I texted her a pic of me holding the gigantic container of hand sanitizer and face masks that I scored this week!
Boomer? Why do you have to categorize people with a term – that you think is clever – when in fact its now used regularly in a derisive manner. Oh so cute and funny just like your outfits.
The term is much more nuanced, and has become a bit of a joke itself, not just as a way to talk about a generation that often seems out of touch with the reality that other people are living. So, yes, your comment seems a bit out of touch.
Though if nothing else, now you know how it feels to have your generation blamed for ruining everything.
Let’s also take a moment to remember EHD didn’t invent the phrase “ok boomer”, and every use in this post was clearly referencing dearly loved mother figures.
Your comment purely demonstrates your ignorance.
This is a really thoughtful post and the suggestions are so diverse and personal.
Thank you, Emily. x
If anything, this post shows boomers in a positive light. Look at the loving photos of the grandparents with their grandchildren. And these are really nice, thoughtful gift ideas. For boomers.
JB, even if you wanted to share how offended you were by the phrase, boomer, there was NO need to include your snarky last line. Come on. Kindness. Class!
Emily and crew, thanks for this thoughtful list! Perfect for my boomer mom and mil (and me, honestly!). Keep going high, ladies!
I’m a boomer Mom to four and Mimi to seven. Definitely missing our time together and all the hugs. FaceTime is great and does help, but…I’ll be oh so happy when we can all be physically together again. I really like many things on the list. I would also include gift cards for plants for all my empty flower pots. Or even them planting the pots for me. Books are always good too. Love reading books recommended by one of our kids. And let me just say “thank you Emily” for your blog. I truly appreciate you and your team and for all the great inspiration you provide every day.
I think I fall into the Boomer category. 100% agree…time together. And as a mom of boys, I’d like to do something just the two of us. Love your wives dearly but when we are all together, lots of times we end up in separate Girl and Guy conversations. Simple as a movie or meet up for brunch or dessert.
Love the other suggestions too!
AMEN to this suggestion. I love my daughter-in-laws and our best times are when we are all together with their kids, but I would LOVE to grab a bagel with just my two sons….it has been sixteen years since we’ve done that! Seems impossible, but true
I’m excited about 2 new books that fit into your themes:A Year in Cut Flowers by Floret Farms Erin Benzakein and the new cookbook from Salmon Sisters.
The cut flower book breaks down flowers by seasons so you can start or improve your available blooms, with tips for each type. The Salmon Sisters cookbook includes resources for folks that can improve your seafood handling skills and simple tasty recipes.
Both books include essay-like backstories that make for an enjoyable read as well as a reference.
I called in an order for my mother’s favorite hanging basket to be delivered, because she knows Dave, and she won’t be able to easily pick her own this year.
Ok, professional gardener & arborist here. What is 100% the HANDS DOWN best gift for a gardener is this: https://www.amleo.com/leonard-sheath-deluxe-soil-knife-and-pruner-combo/p/PKCOM/
I have used mine every day for years, and they are indestructible. I don’t need trowels, hand weeders, random cute tools because that soil knife does EVERYTHING. It even has measurements on the blade, which comes in super handy when planting bulbs, etc. The saw edge is great for getting through pot bound roots or cutting sod.
And if you keep the holster hooked onto a cheap belt, you will never lose your tools again. Strap that puppy on, and when you put your pruners or soil knife down, you put it back into the holster. You can reach for your tools without looking. It was such a game changer for me and I could not recommend it more.
There are many free movie apps. The apps which are not downloaded from any sources like google play store.
Thanks! Got my mom the hand lotion.
My mom always is happy when I’m creative so I’ll probably write her a poem or draw. It feels like celebrating what she instilled in me.
In the “support a new hobby” category, I have to plug the Let’s Make Art Watercolor kits, https://www.letsmakeart.com/
You can buy one project for $15 and it comes with two pages, or you can get a whole kit. The tutorials are free on youtube, easy and fun to follow, and will take you out of your comfort zone. This would also be a fun “do together” activity. I was super (and am still am) intimidated by watercolor but it’s turned out to be a really enjoyable hobby
Can I possibly get the name of the book the grandmother and children are looking at in the top photo?
Just in case anyone isn’t aware- trader joe’s has a blue capri candle dupe. 🙂