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Buy This, NOT That: Mother's Day Gift Edition

Skip the iTunes gift card and get mom a portable Bluetooth speaker instead. Here are more ways to surprise her with personalized, customized, and creative gifts.
Mother's Day flowers

Moms deserve a little something special for Mother's Day, even if they dismiss the idea. And since asking moms what they want is sometimes like asking Siri about Game of Thrones — you're not getting much — you might need some help choosing the perfect gift to show her some love.

If you're not sure what to get this year, read on to see how you can avoid the cliches and opt for something more inventive this Mother's Day.


Do: If she legitimately enjoys flowers, go ahead: buy her roses. But instead of those sad-looking bundles sitting in buckets of water, get her special roses, like these from The Bouqs Co. These roses are grown on the side of an active volcano, 10,000 feet above sea level, which purportedly results in bigger blooms. If you tell her that her roses come from a volcano, she's sure to be impressed.

SEE ALSO: 10 Mother's Day Gift Ideas That Seem Expensive, But Aren't

Alternatively, consider a plant that will continue to grow over the season, rather than a bouquet that will die within a week. A potted plant can be a bit drab though, so opt for something less common, like jasmine, gardenias, or any of the houseplants at White Flower Farm.


Don't: Sure, tons of sales will be advertising pieces that supposedly show your mom how much you love her. But don't bother scooping up another necklace that isn't one-of-a-kind. Nobody thinks those heart-shaped lockets with "Mom" written in flowy script are original. No one.

Do: Instead, opt for something personalized. Get a classic piece of jewelry discretely engraved, or create a piece from Origami Owl that speaks to your mom's personality and hobbies. For the mom that saves everything, you can also swipe an old drawing and turn it into a piece of nostalgic jewelry. Sites like Kidz Can Design are set up for projects like this. They can work with photos, drawings, and even construction paper art, turning them all into sterling silver necklaces, bracelets, and more.


Don't: If your mom has wanderlust, she likely has the travel basics covered. Don't buy her yet another toiletry kit, jewelry pouch, or carryon, unless she actually needs to upgrade one of those items.

Do: Get her the ultimate travel wear to keep her knickknacks organized and safe from pickpockets. ScotteVest is known for garments that are crammed with storage, and they sell a variety of vests, hoodies, and cardigans that are actually pretty stylish. The hidden pockets allow you to safely carry anything you need, but without broadcasting to the world that you're doing so.


Don't: While it might seem perfect to pick up the latest book from her favorite author, that's a little too obvious; she can order those titles for herself at any time. Plus, it won't stand out as a memorable gift from you.

Do: Consider giving her a juicy, behind-the-scenes look at what happened on the set of the first Star Wars film from everybody's favorite space princess. The late Carrie Fisher's The Princess Diarist includes snippets from her own journals she kept while filming. She also waxes poetic on being celebrity, the insanity that goes with it, and what it was like to come from Hollywood royalty. It's a funny read that will undoubtedly provide a great chance to bond with your mom.

Look up some of your mother's favorite books on Good Reads, and peruse the titles other fans of those books have also read.

Alternatively, consider looking up some of your mother's favorite books on Good Reads, and peruse the titles other fans of those books have also read; you're likely to find a good recommendation that's new, but still tailor-made to mom's tastes.


Don't: Skip the foot baths and at-home spa kits. Your mom likely doesn't need any more lotions and potions sitting around, and if she's having to do her own manicures and pedicures, it's not much of a spa experience.

Do: Instead, book her the full spa package. Whether it's a massage, facial, manicure, pedicure, or all of the above, just make sure to book activities she enjoys. She'll love being pampered from experts who know what they're doing. Be sure to check for deals in unlikely places, like Costco, which was running a deal on SpaFinder Wellness Gift Cards.


Don't: Don't buy her expensive exercise equipment unless she's specifically asked for it. She likes her active lifestyle, so odds are she has her routine down, and doesn't need a random set of weights taking up space around the house.

SEE ALSO: What to Expect From 2016 Mother's Day Deals

Do: Get her something that supports her routine, but is something she probably wouldn't think to buy herself. These running socks, for example, are a little luxury that seem deceptively simple, but will have a big impact on her well-being. They keep feet dry, but there are also varieties that claim to be blister-resistant as well. Either way, they make workouts significantly more comfortable. If you want to show your mom the many ways you care, consider purchasing Bombas socks instead; for every pair purchased, Bombas donates one pair of socks to homeless shelters.


Don't: Adding to her cookbook collection might seem like a great idea, but unless there's something truly special about the latest addition, there's a good chance that it will just collect dust amongst the other tomes on the kitchen shelf.

Do: Instead, opt for a more bite-size bit of learning by getting her a subscription. Does she enjoy America's Test Kitchen or extensive background info on recipes? Consider a bimonthly subscription to Cook's Illustrated. Also consider a subscription to the Food Network Magazine while you can score a free tote; you can gift the tote, or keep for yourself (we won't tell).


Don't: Department stores are always peddling gift sets with lotions and bath gels in various perfume scents. Don't waste your time on these. They might smell strongly of mom's preferred scent, but they're typically poor-quality skincare products.

Do: Go for a classic scent instead, and look for something that speaks to the elegant and sophisticated side of mom. A small bottle of a classy perfume is bound to be more appreciated than the biggest basket of scented sprays and soaps. Write down what scents she already wears, and speak to a fragrance specialist for suggestions. Or, find recommendations on Bois de Jasmine, based on the perfume notes Mom already wears.


Don't: Don't bother with an iTunes gift card. It might seem like a good idea, but just because it's a gift card for music doesn't mean it's a thoughtful gift.

Just because it's a gift card for music doesn't mean it's a thoughtful gift.

Do: If your mom feels playful at the dinner table, then this set of two major scale musical wine glasses may be a fun surprise. The glasses have lines on the side to indicate what note you can play when filled to that level.

If that's not her bag, then you can't go wrong with a portable Bluetooth speaker. She'll be able to easily take her favorite music with her all over the house, and if you choose one that's waterproof, she can even bring it to the bathroom for shower and bath time.


Don't: Hitting up the usual neighborhood joint for Mother's Day does nothing to make the meal feel special. Do yourself a favor and skip the traditional restaurant for something different.

SEE ALSO: Survey Says: Most Moms Want a Meal Out on Mother's Day

Do: Make a reservation at a restaurant she's been dying to try, or find a location that's holding a special Mother's Day brunch. Or, pull out all the stops at home and make brunch yourself. Crepes are a fancy alternative to the traditional pancakes, and they can easily be tweaked to please sweet and savory tastebuds. Have the makings for mimosas or Bloody Mary's on hand, and cater to your mom's every need. And don't let her do any of the cleaning.

While it's true that you'll never be able to repay your mom completely, that doesn't mean you shouldn't try to make her feel special. Show your mom some appreciation, and she's sure to feel that she's done something right in raising you.

Readers, what are you doing for Mom this Mother's Day? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Staff Writer

Julie joined DealNews in 2015, after many years of becoming well-versed in technology issues as a communications professional for a software company. She first entered journalism in college, reporting on issues facing frugal students for Julie lives in DealNews' hometown of Huntsville, AL.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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