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Mothers Day and Birthdays: Gift Ideas for the Mom Who Has It All

Updated on October 3, 2011

Show Mom how much you care by giving a thoughtful gift

Mothers Day can be a quintessentially Hallmark holiday, which is to say it can feel saccharine sweet and phony, something to be observed because you are supposed to and not because you want to.

And yet, if you are like  me, you genuinely love and appreciate your mother and are all for making the time to express and show her how important she is. The key to doing so is not a hastily scribbled card you bought at the drug store on your way to Mother's Day brunch or to celebrate Mom's birthday. It is not a box of chocolates. It is not a bouquet of flowers plucked from a bin at the grocery store, or even an expensive arrangement ordered from a florist. (Though flowers may be just the thing if you mom has a favorite flower, or a particular love of cut flowers in her home. Otherwise, consider a plant she can later replant in her garden.)

The key to a perfect gift, particularly for a mother who already has everything she thinks she wants, is to be thoughtful. What are her passions? What are her hobbies? How does she choose to spend free time? The think if there's a way to give a personalized gift related to one of these interests, or to focus her interest in a new or related direction that will enrich her life.

Below are some of the more creative gifts that I have given to my mom over the years, as well as others I have considered.

Kodak Pulse 7-Inch Wi-Fi Digital Frame with Custom e-Mail Address for Immediate Sharing
Kodak Pulse 7-Inch Wi-Fi Digital Frame with Custom e-Mail Address for Immediate Sharing

The 7-inch frame is great value. It's wi-fi enabled and pictures look great! You can send photos to the frame straight from your smart phone.


Kodak Pulse digital picture frame

Family is super important to my mom, and she is particularly obsessed with her grandkids. For Christmas I gave her the Kodak Pulse digital picture frame. While all digital picture frames are cool, allowing one single screen to show an entire family over the years, the Kodak Pulse is particularly special. With the Kodak Pulse digital picture frame, I can email my mom pictures of the things I do. I went skiing, and was able to send her a shot of the mountains taken with my cell phone. And my sisters have emailed photos of art shows and recitals and first swim lessons — all those special moments that mom can't attend since she lives in a different state. Almost daily, she has a new shot of some family member join the rogues gallery of faces on her digital frame, all thanks to email.

Personalized playing cards.

A deck or two of personalized playing cards are an unexpected, unique present sure to surprise. My mom's a big bridge player, so she plays cards a lot. I am sure that a personalized deck is something she would never even consider buying herself, and because it is so personal, she knows I took the time to think about her, and what she enjoys doing. This deck is from a company called Dabney Lee, and I ordered them from a store called Soirée San Francisco.

Corn Hole game

Mom loves it when the entire extended family gathers. We can be a competitive lot, as well as sociable, so group games are always a given. We had a big reunion for my mom's 60th birthday, and my brother-in-law made a custom corn hole set for my mom. (Corn hole, by the way, is a bean bag toss game. There are two teams, each of which tosses bags at a corn hole board, aiming for the hole in the center of the board.) It's a simple set, just a thick piece of ply-wood to which he hinged a stand to make the set foldable and easy to store. We stenciled her initials on the board, along with a big 6-0. Separately, I ordered 2 sets of bean bags, one red and one blue for the two teams, and had the online retailer embroider mom's initials and ago on the bean bags.

Ceramic Blade Chef's Knife

Ceramic knives are the most incredible kitchen tool I've come across in ages. My sister gave me one for Christmas, and it is now the knife i use on absolutely everything. It is hard to do justice to a ceramic knife's extremely sharp blade, or the way it seems to slide so effortlessly through whatever it is I am trying to cook. Better still, a ceramic knife doesn't need to be sharpened nearly as much as my stainless steel Wüsthoff knives.

Restaurant Gift Certificate

Gift certificates may seem impersonal, but a gift certificate to a restaurant can seem like an invitation, permission even, to have a night out! Try to choose a restaurant that your mom hasn't tried before, maybe somewhere new so she will feel hip and on top of things. Or if she has an absolute favorite place, show her how well you know her and care by getting her a certificate to go to her favorite restaurant

Spa Day

This also may seem unoriginal, but what if you found a day spa with unique treatments or package deals, and took the time to spend the day with mom. Spending time on mom can mean more than money, and is something fewof us probably do enough.


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