Features & Editorial

Gift Ideas for Mom

Written by Tara Hall

Whether it’s Mother’s Day or your mom’s birthday, when it’s time to track down a meaningful enough card and write a long-overdue thank you to the woman who brought you into this world (or the one who treats you as though she did), it can be a little overwhelming. If you’re me at least.

I almost always hunt down a beautiful card and tell her in four or five sentences how happy I am that she raised me, complete with all the misunderstandings, punishments and hiccups we may have survived. And sometimes I send along a new novel I think she might like, or a trinket that reminds me of her, or perhaps a new technology that allows her to find her keys faster. Whatever it is, it never fully represents what she means to me, because I’m never really sure there’s just one item out there that I can find, pay for and send to her in time for that one specific day.

Maybe there are others like me. Those who never feel content with their chosen present for Mom. For you, I’ve racked my brain to create a list of suggestions that go beyond most convenient gift shops (or worse, gift card kiosks).

Treat her to an experience.
Want to show Mom how much you love her? Give her a new experience with her favorite child (that’s you, right?). Figuring out what to gift her is best determined by reflecting on her interests. My mom loves to read, can’t stand heights and doesn’t treat herself to luxury of any kind. Possibilities? I could buy her tickets to a lecture given by one of her favorite writers who’s visiting town in the coming months or treat her to her first ever mani/pedi. (Or both if my bank account allows.) I won’t, however, be using a Groupon for a discounted tandem skydive. Still stuck? Consider whether your mom’s a thinker or a doer. My mom would laugh at me if I told her I wanted to take her paddleboarding, but if I drove her to the neighborhood movie theater for a double feature, complete with a bag of Twizzlers and all the popcorn she could eat, she’d be on cloud nine.

Remind her of the good old days.
This idea stems from a birthday present my older sister gave me a couple years ago. In the mid-’90s, I had a pair of brown elephant pants with off-white detail from the Gap. I loved those pants and wore them for years before giving them to my (shorter) sister to enjoy. They were timeless and comfortable and had memories attached; they were the pants I was wearing to high school the day I found out my grandfather was on his deathbed. Some 15 years later, my sister totally surprised me by turning the material from those beloved pants into a beautiful bolster pillow.

Branch out with this concept. Create a mix CD of songs you listened to together back in your pre-driver’s license days (Christopher Cross, anyone?). Dig out your photos and use a quick and easy site such as Picaboo to create a personalized photo book of your favorite times with Mom. The options are endless.

[This idea might be a slippery slope if your mom’s a sensitive woman. That said, don’t be afraid to reminisce, just recognize that you might be in for some (hopefully happy) tears.]

Give your mom your undivided attention.
You might think you already do this, but I doubt that’s really the case. If you want to give your mom something she’ll cherish, offer her a day of companionship sans cell phones, laptops and iPads. That means don’t even take your cellphone with you–can you even imagine? Though this idea might seem too simple and not impressive enough, your mom will likely be beside herself with the attention and uninterrupted time. Does it matter what you do with her? Probably not. Treat her to lunch and a day at the art gallery, or an afternoon of window shopping, complete with a surprise purchase. Do whatever she wants to do, just be present. She’ll love it.

Have a meaningful suggestion of your own? PLEASE share!

About the author

Tara Hall

For the longest time, Texas transplant Tara Hall wanted to be a profiler when she grew up. A bona fide FBI agent with mad analytic skills who could take on crime and the jacked up minds that commit it.

Instead, the long and winding road has led straight to writing.

It all started with an obscure undergrad study spot: the usually empty upstairs of a local live music dive in Austin, TX. Psychology books in tow, Tara would grab a seat in the balcony and read her assignments between performances of local musicians, ultimately leading to an internship with Austin's Citysearch office in the late '90s.

Skip ahead a little more than a decade to present-day. Tara now spends her time interviewing musicians, researching stories and penning articles for entertainment-centered publications and websites such as Metro.pop magazine and SoundSpike.com.

Best part of the job: Researching topics I'm perplexed by and interested in.

Secretly obsessed with: Eyelash extensions. Instant femininity and loads of compliments!

Current dream vacation: An exotic beach locale with a beach bag full of new fiction. A hot man alongside wouldn't hurt either.

Theme song: Nina Simone's "Feeling Good"

Snacking on: Light rye Wasa crackers, little dollop of Dijon and thinly sliced turkey. That, or a spoonful of Nutella, my semi-healthy chocolate fix.

If trapped on a desert island: Cherry Chapstick and a fun, resourceful companion.