Mother’s Day typically conjures images of brunch buffets and family gatherings. But this year promises to be one of the most unique in living memory, as shelter-in-place orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic will likely continue well into May (if not longer) across the United States.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t still shower Mom with love. Fortunately, there are many ways to safely celebrate the moms in your life — regardless of your budget.
While many moms are content with a simple card or handmade Mother’s Day gift, sometimes something store-bought is more practical, especially if you’re not the crafty type. But if you’re strapped for cash, don’t worry. From books to sentimental trinkets to tandem activities, there are plenty of ways to celebrate Mom with inexpensive gifts.
1. Reading Material
Avid readers are bound to enjoy a good book for Mother’s Day. Plus, it’s the perfect thing for curling up with while sheltering in place.
If you know her tastes, treat her to a book from her favorite author or genre. If you’re unsure or she prefers e-books, go for an Amazon gift card, which you can send via snail mail or email. For just a few dollars over budget, treat her to a three-month subscription to Scribd. Membership gives her unlimited access to all the e-books and audiobooks she can handle.
2. A Cleaning or Repair Session
If you’re sheltering in place with Mom, let her relax while you clean her house or repair something. In these times of social distancing, hiring a cleaning service or handyperson is difficult. And even before the pandemic, these types of gifts were prohibitively expensive for the budget-conscious. But you can detail her car, spring-clean her house, organize her closet, or fix that leaky faucet with a little time and a few inexpensive supplies.
3. A Day Off
Few moms of little ones aren’t eternally grateful for some coveted me time — especially when state mandates have so many of us hunkering down together in confined spaces.
So if you’re a spouse looking for the perfect gift for your kids’ mom, let her curl up in bed or on the couch and binge books or TV while you take care of the kids. Spouses can take little ones for a pandemic-approved nature hike to give Mom some peace, or Mom can lock herself in the bedroom while her spouse entertains the kids.
4. Time in Nature
Spending time in nature is one of the few options still available for those who want to get out of the house. As long as everyone stays at least 6 feet from others in the park, COVID-19 virus germs may be too dispersed in the open air to make it likely for anyone to catch the virus, according to an April 4, 2020, Chinese study currently awaiting peer review.
Additionally, study after study — including numerous studies compiled by the University of Washington — have found both children and adults gain positive psychological effects from spending time in nature. And a 2014 study published in the journal Ecopsychology found that time in nature mitigates the adverse effects of stress. And what mom couldn’t use a little less stress?
So pick up some inexpensive take-out sandwiches, pastries, and fruit from a local restaurant or supermarket and treat her to some time outdoors. If you have more room in your budget, pair this gift with a keepsake picnic backpack. It’s easy to carry on a hike and comes complete with dishes, napkins, serving wear, drink glasses, and a blanket — enough supplies to serve lunch to the whole family.
5. A Movie Party
While movie nights have become a standard for staying entertained at home during shelter-in-place measures, moms of grown children can’t currently share movie time with their kids. Enter Netflix’s new tandem movie-watching experience — Netflix Party. The app, which is free for use by Netflix subscribers, allows you to synchronize playback of the same movie on your home computers with friends and family members. While you watch, you can group chat your comments and reactions.
So make a movie date, design some “tickets” like those on Dabbles and Babbles, and mail them to her along with a bag of microwave popcorn and some movie candy. If your budget allows, upgrade this gift with a movie treat gift box.
6. Custom Artwork
Etsy designer LMT Creative at Home makes customized star maps that show what the night sky looked like on the day Mom’s little ones were born. Or opt for a print-at-home digital download displaying some of the most important dates in Mom’s life — her kids’ birthdays — from Etsy designer Moonlit Creative.
7. A Gardening Tool Set
Mother’s Day marks the beginning of spring planting season in many areas across the U.S. So if Mom loves to garden, set her up with some cute gardening tools. This set includes the basics — a trowel, cultivator, and pruning shears — made in an ergonomic design. And it comes in a variety of patterns, so you can find one to suit Mom’s tastes.
8. A Personalized Jewelry Dish
Get your fashionista mother a mom-centric jewelry dish. There are many jewelry dishes on Etsy that include a sweet message to remind her how much she means to you. For example:
9. A Keepsake Memory Book
At its heart, Mother’s Day is really about mom appreciation. So let her know how much you appreciate all she is and does with a memory book. Gather photos that represent cherished memories and have everyone write notes about Mom to go with them. Then organize them in a photo book printed by Shutterfly. Prices start at around $16, and if you order by May 1 for standard shipping or May 3 for rush shipping, your book will come in time for Mother’s Day.
10. A Custom Keychain
Mom can keep her most precious treasures close wherever she goes with a special keychain. Have the Etsy designer at Dawn’s Metal Designs make a custom keychain for Grandma with the names of her grandkids. Or get Mom a keychain from Xpressive Mpressions featuring her kids’ birthstones and names.
Gifts From –
A slightly larger budget allows you to treat Mom to gifts of relaxation, tasty treats, and even helpful tech.
11. A Spa Day at Home
Although salons and spas around the country have been ordered to close to help stop the spread of COVID-19, you can still treat Mom to a spa experience at home. While you can certainly make special do-it-yourself bath and beauty treatments, if you’re reluctant to try making them yourself, you can put together a basket of goodies including items like candles, bath salts or bath bombs, body scrub, face masks, a loofa, and chocolate. Or purchase a premade gift set, such as one from Bath & Body Works or Etsy.
12. A Back & Neck Massager
Tired, stressed-out moms likely suffer from a lot of aches and pains, including tight shoulder muscles — a common spot to hold tension. And while you might not be able to treat Mom to a massage this Mother’s Day, you can give her the next best thing with the Nekteck Shiatsu neck and back massager. It gets deep into her muscles to ease pressure and tightness. Eight different massage patterns and a heat feature let her target neck stiffness, lower back pain, or shoulder strain.
13. A Mother’s Day Brunch
Even if you can’t treat Mom to a Mother’s Day brunch buffet this year, you can recreate the experience at home. If you enjoy cooking, whip up some brunch favorites like Belgian waffles, quiche Lorraine, and mimosas. For more brunch recipe inspiration, visit Good Housekeeping.
If you’re not sheltering in place with your mom, you can always have food delivered to her. Many restaurants are offering free delivery options during pandemic closures. Alternatively, make use of delivery services like DoorDash, Grubhub or UberEats.
14. A Hobby Gift Basket
Whether Mom’s in need of things to keep her entertained at home or could use a little me time, get her a collection of items for her favorite hobby. You can put together a DIY gift basket or buy a premade gift set.
If you opt to DIY, think about what Mom likes to do for fun — whether that’s gardening, golf, reading, yoga, or knitting. Then gather up some hobby-related items. For example, if Mom likes to knit, get her some skeins of yarn and some personalized knitting needles, packaging them together in a cute yarn organizer tote.
A premade gift basket is often more convenient for those who need to mail it. Get a gardening mom the Gardener’s Jute gift bag, which comes with wildflower seeds, soap, cookies, tea, and chocolate. Or send the Mom who’s always up for family game night the It’s Game Time gift set, which comes with Uno, checkers, and Yahtzee, plus snacks. And for the mom who loves to read, go with the Ultimate Book Lovers gift set, which includes an assortment of reading-themed items like stickers, notepads, pencils, a bookmark, a mug, and a literary-themed candle.
15. A Tea or Coffee Subscription
Keep the treats going with a coffee or tea subscription that delivers a box of Mom’s favorite beverage every month. If tea’s her thing, get her a subscription to Sips by. Each box includes four premium teas from different brands matched to Mom’s taste profile — enough for at least 15 fresh-brewed cups or 45 or more resteeped cups. At this budget level, you can get Mom three months of tea.
If coffee’s her beverage of choice, try a Driftaway Coffee gift subscription, which sends Mom a customized box of fresh-roasted coffee sourced straight from independent coffee farmers around the world. Plus, it arrives fresh at her door within four to eight days of roasting — no matter where in the world she lives. This budget level gets Mom 7 ounces of coffee — enough for 14 cups — per month for three months.
If Mom prefers brewing her coffee in a Keurig, go with a subscription to MixCups. For slightly over $50, she’ll get three months of the minibox, which comes with a selection of curated single-cup coffee, including 15 K-Cups in up to 15 different varieties from different brands and roasters.
16. A Wine Tumbler
A stemless wine tumbler will delight wine enthusiast moms. The insulated tumbler keeps her wine perfectly chilled without changing its flavor. Plus, it comes in a range of attractive colors and is far more durable than a glass. That makes it the perfect summer companion for picnics, campouts, outdoor concerts, or for enjoying the fireworks.
17. A Personalized Box of Chocolates
You can’t go wrong with a box of gourmet chocolates. Opt for the best of the best — an assortment of Godiva truffles. Their patisserie truffles gift box comes with 24 pieces inspired by the flavors of cakes and patisseries. Or for just a few dollars over budget, get Mom a box of their signature chocolates packaged with a special ribbon for Mother’s Day. All orders over $25 ship free.
18. A Customized Cutting Board
Show the home chef who raised you how much you appreciate their cooking with a customized cutting board. Have one engraved with a special Mother’s Day message, like the one from Etsy designer BananaBoardLuxury. Or get her one engraved with her most beloved family recipe in her own handwriting, like the one from Etsy designer Stamp Nouveau.
19. An Engraved Jewelry Box
An engraved jewelry box is the perfect place for her to store her most treasured keepsakes. She’ll adore one engraved with a message and the names of her kids as much as what she keeps inside it. Find one perfect for Mother’s Day on Things Remembered.
20. A Smart Home Hub
With schools out all over the U.S. and summer on potential hiatus, moms with little ones at home welcome the idea of an extra hand. Give Mom her own personal assistant with a smart home hub like the Echo Dot. With voice commands, she can check the weather, hear the latest news, look up recipes, and even set alarms and timers. Better yet, it can keep the kids busy while everyone’s stuck at home with any number of apps and Alexa skills that can read stories, quiz kids on math problems, entertain them with podcasts, and even tell them jokes. Plus, with a subscription to Amazon Music Unlimited, Mom has access to a virtually limitless library of songs. And best of all, the whole family can use it to give Grandma a hands-free call on Mother’s Day.
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A budget in this range lets you spoil Mom with luxury gifts like comfy sleepwear, designer perfume, customized jewelry, and fancy wine. Or treat her to some outdoor landscaping — right on time for spring blossoms.
21. A Flower or Vegetable Garden
Depending on the flowers you buy and the area of ground you want to cover, this budget range can get you quite a few flowers for Mom, though it’s easy to spend way beyond this amount. Fortunately, the labor is free if you plant them for her.
Alternatively, if your mom enjoys homegrown food, in most regions, this is an ideal time to start planting vegetables and herbs to enjoy during the summer and early fall. And if she’s limited on space, no worries. Whether she has a small yard or no yard, many herbs and vegetables do well in containers.
22. A Wine Gift Box or Subscription
Though wine subscriptions are typically pricey, making them prohibitively expensive for the usual gift-giving occasions, there are a few services that can deliver and still come in under budget.
One of these is Vine Oh, a female-centric company that delivers Mom two bottles of wine in each of their boxes plus a bunch of fun surprises. Past boxes have included indulgent goodies like bath bombs, chocolates, makeup, jewelry, and candles. And though Vine Oh is a subscription service, it has an option to purchase one-time boxes.
For moms who enjoy trying new things, Vinebox could be the perfect fit. Get her a tasting box with single-glass servings of up to 12 different wines to sample. If you have more room in your budget, a six-month or longer subscription gets her a quarterly delivery of nine different single-serving wines hand-selected to suit her preferences.
And if Mom gets a thrill out of supporting independent winemakers, Naked Wines is for her. Not exactly a subscription service, it works by making Mom an “Angel” who helps crowdfund the independent winemakers in the Naked Wines community. Every month that you choose to contribute $40, you get a bottle of wine and access to prerelease wines and Angel executive bottles at up to 60% off retail prices. So you can invest on Mom’s behalf for at least a couple of months in this budget range.
23. A Fancy Dessert
If you can’t be with Mom on her special day, send her a decadent cake she can enjoy. The rose buttercream-frosted cake from We Take the Cake features a frosted flower design as beautiful as a real bouquet of roses. Choose from a two-layer or decadent four-layer rich chocolate cake that promises to be delicious. Or opt for the buttercream bouquet mini cakes. The artisan bakery that makes them has served their creations in top-tier hotels and restaurants and been praised more than once in O Magazine — which featured nine of their Bundt cakes on Oprah’s 2018 Favorite Things list.
24. An Espresso Maker
Impress a coffee connoisseur mom with her own espresso machine complete with milk frother. This budget-conscious and compact espresso and cappuccino maker won’t take up too much of her coveted counter space. Plus, it lets Mom play barista and make fancy coffeehouse creations right at home. And that could be just what she needs to replace her daily Starbucks run at a time when everyone is staying home.
25. A Custom Portrait
Give Mom something that shows off the brood that made her a mom. Go with a framed and personalized family print featuring characters customized to match family members’ skin tone, hair color, eye color, and preferred clothing. Or have Etsy designer Printable Wisdom illustrate a family portrait from photos you send the artist.
26. A Genealogy Kit
Celebrate Mom’s role in creating the family lineage with a genetic testing kit. The AncestryDNA kit unlocks the mysteries in Mom’s DNA to connect her with her genetic ancestors. And an Ancestry membership allows her to explore a vast library of records to trace her family tree.
27. Custom Jewelry
Mom can elegantly show off her kid’s artwork or writing when you have an Etsy designer turn their creations into silver or gold jewelry. I’me Jewelry can etch the actual handwriting of one or more of Mom’s kids onto a gold, silver, or rose gold cuff bracelet or heart pendant necklace. Alternatively, have Ida Jewelry Design turn one of her children’s drawings into a beautiful gold, rose gold, or silver necklace for a unique statement piece she can treasure forever.
28. A Manicure Kit
Even if Mom can’t get to a salon right now, she can still get a salon-style manicure with a gel polish starter kit that comes complete with everything she needs, including six polishes, base and top coats, nail art tools, and a curing lamp.
Pamper a fragrance-loving Mom with a luxury perfume. A bright, floral scent like Yves St. Laurent Mon Paris Floral helps get her ready for spring and summer. Or go with Flowerbomb eau de parfum by Viktor&Rolf. Its classic scent is a combination of florals and vanilla that’s universally loved.
30. Breezy Sleepwear
While plush and cozy robes and slippers are a welcome gift for winter months, Mother’s Day falls near the start of warm summer nights. Many people have trouble sleeping in the heat, so a gift of pajamas for Mother’s Day should be breezy and cool. A set from Soma’s exclusive Cool Nights line fits the bill and can help Mom get the rest she needs. Get her a coordinating top and pants in a pretty floral for an on-trend gift for 2020.
Gifts Over 0
Social distancing protocols are sure to make celebrating this Mother’s Day a little tougher than usual. But if you typically take Mom out for a fancy brunch on her special day, save the money you would have spent on a restaurant meal and splurge on a higher-end gift instead.
31. A Hands-Free Device for Video Calls
While most moms these days have smartphones capable of making video calls, a hands-free device specially designed for the purpose makes the connection feel more real. And that’s a welcome gift during a time when connecting in person is off the table.
The gold standard for video calls is the Facebook Portal. It comes in a variety of freestanding sizes, including a version that lets Mom video chat through her TV. That means she can set down her phone and connect with her loved ones as if they were right there with her. The Facebook Portal features a smart camera that automatically pans and zooms to keep everyone in view, giving callers the feel of being in the same room even when they’re thousands of miles apart.
Additionally, the Portal TV comes enabled with Alexa and doubles as a streaming device, so Mom can use it to watch her favorite movies and shows and play an unlimited library of music. While the Portal TV sold out near the end of April, it promises to be back in stock by May 1, in plenty of time for Mother’s Day.
Alternatively, Mom can stay connected with the new Echo Show featuring a larger 10-inch high-definition (HD) screen and Dolby speakers for crisp, clear sound. With the Show, Mom can access everything Alexa usually does, but she also has the option to watch movies or the news or cook along with the Food Network in her kitchen.
If Mom already has a Google-powered smart home in progress, opt instead for the Google Nest Hub Max. Similar to the Echo Show, it features a 10-inch HD screen that lets her make video calls to all her loved ones. Additionally, she can use it to perform all kinds of hands-free activities like texting, looking up the weather or traffic, streaming videos, or answering any question that pops into her head. And it connects with all her Google smart home devices.
32. A Long-Distance Touch Lamp
Another way to help Mom feel connected to her loved ones is with a long-distance touch lamp. These devices — like the wood touch lamp from Uncommon Goods — use Wi-Fi to sync paired lamps. Give one to Mom and keep one for yourself, and then simply touch it whenever you think of her. Her lamp will light up, and she’ll instantly know she’s on your mind. You can even program them to light up with different colors depending on who’s touching it. It’s a sweet way to remind Mom she’s always in your heart.
33. Indoor Fitness Equipment
Lots of moms want to stay fit during COVID-19 gym and school closures. But many are having a hard time fitting it in between working from home and struggling to home-school her kids. So set her up with a fitness tracker like the Fitbit Charge 4. It gives her detailed activity and sleep-tracking information to help her get in her 10,000 steps while she takes conference calls or plays Barbie. Plus, Fitbit’s premium app unlocks features like workout programs, eating plans, and sleep coaching so she can take her wellness efforts to the next level. And if she ever manages to sneak in an outdoor workout, the Charge 4 comes with built-in GPS.
And if you have a much bigger budget, several in-home fitness machines can recreate the gym experience she’s missing — from personalized fitness classes to instructors and social connections that make her feel as though she’s right in the middle of a live class.
A Peloton bike, for example, lets Mom spin-cycle while following along with studio classes on the built-in screen. Though they’ve temporarily suspended live classes during the pandemic, she can still choose from thousands of on-demand classes in the Peleton library. Plus, with an all-access membership, she can stream any class across all her devices.
Or go with a Nordic Track Commercial X22i. Its treadmill comes with a video screen that lets her virtually walk or run on trails all over the world — perfect for moms who can’t get outside during shelter-in-place orders. Or she can stream on-demand studio fitness classes programmed to adjust her speed and incline in real time to go along with instructors’ lessons. Additionally, she can stream strength-training or yoga classes to follow in front of her treadmill.
The Mirror home gym is another machine that gives Mom an at-home fitness class experience. Mom can choose from a wide variety of classes, like yoga, kickboxing, Pilates, dance, or strength training, and get the feel of being coached by her own personal trainer. Plus, she can “meet” up with friends, sync classes, and chat in real time — perfect for Moms who want to stay connected with their workout buddies while socially distancing.
34. A Salon-Quality Hair Dryer
Moms who appreciate a good blowout can recreate the salon experience at home with a high-tech tool like the Dyson supersonic hair dryer. It not only claims to dry hair in half the time, but it also boasts a significant increase in smoothness and shine. Or go with the Buttercup blow dryer from Drybar — the experts in blow-drying. Drybar stylists use this dryer in their salons every day to achieve the perfect blowout. Set her up with a fully loaded kit for everything she needs to do it just like they do.
35. An eReader
Avid readers will love a Kindle Paperwhite. Its glare-free display reads like real paper, even in bright sunlight. Plus, the newest Paperwhite comes with twice the storage, so Mom won’t run out of space for all her reading material. It’s even waterproof, which means Mom can read it while soaking in the tub or sitting by the pool without fear of destroying it.
If Mom wants to do more than read, set her up with a Kindle Fire tablet. The Fire is a fully functional tablet complete with a web browser and the ability to read email, play games, run apps, listen to music, or watch videos.
Or go with the gold standard in tablets — the Apple iPad. Apple’s newest iPad has enough capability to replace a desktop computer, and Mom can even use it to make phone calls.
36. A High-End Kitchen Appliance
Whether Mom’s a cooking novice who’s suddenly found her pandemic-compelled cooking skills wanting or loves to whip up gourmet meals, a high-end kitchen appliance can increase the fun factor of this daily chore. To give her the broadest range of options for cooking up delicious meals at home, get her a multicooker like the Ninja Foodie. The 8-quart, nine-in-one version lets her pressure cook, air fry, sear, bake, broil, steam, slow cook, dehydrate, and make yogurt — all with one machine.
Alternatively, get Mom the Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus multicooker. With this best-selling powerhouse, Mom can pressure cook, slow cook, bake, steam, and make rice. Plus, it features 48 customizable smart programs for perfectly cooking soups, beans, rice, meat, and poultry.
37. A Customized Spring Jacket
Get Mom ready for breezy spring weather or prep her for the crisp days of fall with a fashionable, oversize jean jacket from Madewell. It comes with a personalization option to add embroidery on the left breast pocket using eight letters in block text or script. You can even choose the thread color — red, black, or pink.
38. A Designer Bag
Invest in the ultimate gift for a fashion-conscious mom — a designer handbag. A leather tote like the Toujours satchel from Kate Spade New York is a timeless classic that can upgrade any outfit. Or get Mom a very on-trend bag for summer 2020 like the mini-Phoebe raffia and leather bag by Danse Lente. It combines two trends in one: raffia and minipurses.
39. Fine Jewelry
A gift of fine jewelry is a definite splurge. But it’s the kind that carries a lot of sentimental value — especially a mom-specific pick like a multistone ring personalized with her kids’ birthstones. Or go with a classic heart pendant. This kind of jewelry lets her elegantly display her mom status.
40. A Year of Flowers
Flowers are the traditional Mother’s Day gift for moms everywhere. But while a typical bouquet is a little ho-hum, you can take this gift idea to a whole new level with a yearlong subscription for monthly flower deliveries. If it’s in your budget, this gift will keep on showering Mom with love and appreciation all year.
One of the more affordable flower subscriptions, BloomsyBox delivers Mom your choice of a small, medium, or large bouquet from their carefully handpicked collection of unique flowers. Get one month, three months, six months, or a whole year.
Alternatively, try Enjoy Flowers, which delivers Mom fragrant bouquets every month just four days after they’re picked. In fact, Enjoy Flowers promises their flowers are so fresh, if they don’t last at least seven days, they’ll replace them.
Or go with a subscription to The Bouqs Co., which customizes a delivery of beautiful flowers as often as you choose. Set up a monthly, straight-from-the-farm delivery or schedule your deliveries for specific dates like birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries.
Being a mom is arguably one of the toughest jobs in the world. And as much as you’d love to show your appreciation for all Mom does, pandemic closures and social-distancing measures are making that a little more difficult this year.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to virtually celebrate her on this special day, even if you’re not sheltering in the same place. All moms just want is to know they’re in your hearts, and a thoughtful gift — no matter the price tag — can achieve that. But you can score some bonus points if you also call her up to share a long-distance hug over video chat.
What are your plans for sharing Mother’s Day with your mom during the pandemic?
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