Moms come in many modes. While they all love basking in adoration on Mother’s Day (May 8 this year), their gift preferences are unique, reflecting their individual interests and personalities. Below is our 2016 offering of creative ideas for the many types of wondrous Moms and Grandmas.
Now all you have to do is make mom a cute card and breakfast in bed!
Proud Native of Nerdland
Mom’s been a nerd since before it was cool. She always has her nose in a book – or a telescope. She was a whiz at your math homework. She watched every Star Wars movie with you – twice. Her cakes and cookies are the best, because she knows the chemistry and physics of baking. Mathematically speaking, this adds up to maternal greatness. Balance the equation with an appropriately geeky gift.
It doesn’t get any nerdier than this – just like Mom. Think of the fun she’ll have saying, “Dinner will be served at Nitrogen sharp!” or “Dad and I didn’t get home from that party until Helium Carbon!” | Periodic Table Clock ($45.00)
What math maven Mom digs about Venn Diagrams is how they illustrate simple set relationships in linguistics, statistics, computer science, probability, and logic. When you give her this one, she’ll have a more sentimental reason to love them. | Me + You Venn Necklace ($110.00)
She speaks fluent multiverse. She has a little crush on Neil deGrasse Tyson. She’s got Neil Armstrong‘s autograph (and it’s not for sale, no matter how valuable they become!). She’s the only mom you know who’s actually traveled to see meteor craters in person. This scarf will be her everything. | Meteorite Cross Section Scarf ($65.00)
Not many people follow ACLU free speech court cases as if they were TV dramas, but she does. Most of her passwords include the number 323.445 – the Dewey Decimal System classification for books about freedom of the press. Cross a free speech nerd with a wannabe librarian, and what do you get? A Mom who needs this mug. | Banned Books Morph Mug ($12.00)
You wouldn’t want to call Mom a bibliomaniac – that’s a disorder – but you’re not sure “bibliophile” does justice to the strength of her passion. She’s got 27 books piled up on her nightstand, and her Kindle is maxed out. You don’t want to give her just another book. How about a book…about her books…written by her? Now we’re talking. | Well-Read Women: A Reader’s Journal ($14.95)
Flag Bearer of Foodieville
Among her five senses, Mom decidedly favors taste. She swoons over farmer’s market produce. Exotic new flavor combinations send her into rapture. She taught you all you know about cooking and eating well. Show Mom that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree with gifts that tickle both her tastebuds and her epicurean brain.
Admiring the mounds of multi-colored carrots is one of the highlights of Mom’s trips to the farmer’s market. With their jewel-like, vibrant colors, they’re almost too pretty to eat. The specimens in this vibrant print will be feasted upon only by her eyes. | Rainbow Carrots ($48.00 – 105.00)
The more educated a foodie’s palate gets, the less able she is to tolerate things like grocery store salsa from a jar. It doesn’t taste fresh – Mom will back us up on this. With this kit, Mom has everything she needs to start growing all the ingredients for loco fresh homemade salsa. | Salsa Grow Kit ($12.00)
As a cook, your mom is the ideal combination of olde-timey and hi-tech. She makes yogurt using the latest instant-read digital thermometer. She does a sous vide eggplant parm that’d make a nonna cry tears of joy. But we bet she’s never made waffles with a computer keyboard. Time to change that. | Keyboard Waffle Iron ($85.00)
Mom’s not necessarily fibbing when says she likes cocktails for the taste. Sure, it’d be suspect if it were scotch on the rocks, but if it’s strawberry daiquiries and piña coladas she means, we bet Mom’s telling the straight-up truth. So give her these innocently boozy jellies, for morning happy Mom hour. | Cocktail Jelly – Set of 4 ($28.00)
Take a mother to brunch and you mimosa her for a day. Give a mother this glassware pair and you mimosa her for a lifetime. | Mimosa Diagram Glassware ($35.00)
Mom loved you back in the days when you ended up wearing as much of your dinner as you ate. With these snuggly wool felt banana slippers, you can return the favor, in a grown-up way. | Foodie Slippers – Banana ($38.00)
New Arrival to Mom Town
From the moment she knew she was pregnant, her life was transformed into something bigger, more momentous, more joyous – and, let’s admit, more work! (But infinitely worth it.) Celebrate her miraculous motherhood in all its individual, universal, demanding, and rewarding facets.
Short of having a weekly sonogram, Mom-to-Be doesn’t have a way of knowing how big her little baby is getting. From a poppy seed to a pumpkin, ten fruits and vegetables, drawn with subtle whimsy, are digitally printed on a cotton flour sack towel to illustrate baby’s actual size as it grows in its mother’s ever-expanding belly. | Growing Belly Tea Towel ($16.00)
Not just a gift for Mom, this beautifully sweet journal will eventually be prized by the very person she’s now expecting. The intense and rapidly changing feelings of pregnancy are easily forgotten once the little one makes his or her appearance. Keeping a journal will help Mom stay in tune with herself during the magical (and sometimes stressful) days and months of pregnancy. And nothing could be more touching to read, years later, by the person who was growing inside her as she wrote. | Expecting You- A Keepsake Pregnancy Journal ($12.95)
Even the most ambitious mom will probably not be teaching her newborn the ABC’s for a while. But pedagogy is not really the point of this adorable decorative keepsake blanket, personalized with a child’s name and an animal they share a letter with. Cuteness, fun and whimsy are far more important at this stage of baby’s development, and this vibrantly artistic blanket gets an A+ in all three. | Personalized My Alphabet Letter Blanket ($75.00)
It would be a stretch to say that everything about pregnancy is wonderful. Mom’s precious, growing cargo can strain both her back and the skin of her expanding belly. Soothing massages with organic essential oils and herbs give her the pampering she needs and deserves. | Mommy-to-be Gift Box ($65.00)
Sometimes inspirational quotes can feel a little…insubstantial. Like, does anyone really believe they’re “the best” all the time? A quote that’s truly deep and deeply true radiates powerful, lasting inspiration, strength, and love that never wear out. “To the world you are a mother, but to your family you are the world” falls into that elite category. Engraved upon a unique, mixed-metal necklace, Mom will find it beautiful both to look at and to ponder. | Mother of the World Necklace ($78.00)
Earth Mother of Boho Village
Mom’s been in tune with Mother Earth’s energy since way before “boho” became a thing. A far out free spirit, she has always expressed herself creatively and encouraged you to do the same… even when you were 13 and wanted desperately to be like everyone else. Nothing non-organic ever passed your lips or touched your skin… until you rebelled and got sick on too many goldfish crackers at a friend’s house. Show Mom you now know that her hippie mojo was right on, with gifts that are on her wavelength.
You might not have known the word for it at the time, but you’ve understood that your mom has a drop of Druid in her ever since she started doing her chanting meditation under that tree, when you were five. (She still does it there.) Well guess what, no trees were killed to make this Druid-friendly, reclaimed wood tree art. | Silkscreened Tree Plaque ($45.00)
Post-meditation, surrounded by her healing crystals, Mom’s in a relaxed, flowing state of mind. It’s the perfect time for her to bliss out on a creative, detailed, and yet not-too-terribly demanding activity. Like a grown-up coloring book. | Personalized Coloring Book ($65.00)
As a teen hippie, Mom was perfectly happy with that amateurish macrame bag made by her friend Moonblossom. Now, she’d probably prefer our far more elegant, ladylike take on the hippie classic. | Macramé Tote ($48.00)
Hippies are into peace and love. While the former requires the cooperation of millions, you can give her the latter yourself. This beautifully handmade necklace contains semiprecious stones that glitter and shift in a perfect little landscape of pure, precious love. | Glass Globe of Love ($85.00)
Head Gardener of Growopolis
All 10 fingers of Mom’s hands–and possibly, a few of her toes–are green. When you were a sprout, your home was filled with plants, the flower garden was jammed with color, and fresh-grown produce from her kitchen garden graced the family plates. For Mom, winter is garden catalog season; who cares about snow and ice when visions of sugar snap peas dance in your head? Show her you appreciate her expert nurturing of all growing things, including you.
You know how just looking at certain things makes you happy? We’re going to plant an idea in your head: we think your gardening-loving mom will feel that way about these homey, homespun, handmade reminders of spring in the garden. | Garden Duo Embroidery Hoop Art ($53.00)
It’s great that Mom’s vegetable garden is so successful, but what on earth is she going to do with all those cucumbers? Every summer, this perennial question must be asked. This year, she’ll have the answer. | Cucumber Infuser Water Bottle ($19.99)
Mom may think she’s been there, done that with every plant under the sun, but this set of 4 plants has some unexpected (bonsai), peculiar (sensitive plant) and downright freaky (4-leaf clover) plants that will her inspire her anew. | Four Leaf Clover & Tree Kits ($30.00)
Mom always said, “Money doesn’t grow on trees!” Show her you finally understand what she was trying to teach you all those years: that it grows on flowers instead. | Lucky Penny Garden Flowers – Set of 3 ($65.00)
Proof that “Slow and steady wins the race”: Land snails like Gail, above, are the only class of mollusk to adapt to the terrestrial environment. They first evolved from marine gastropods over 350 million years ago. We repeat: 350 million years. So perhaps Ms. Gail will inspire Mom not to be too impatient waiting for her impatiens to bloom this spring. | Gail the Springtime Snail ($75.00)
Roving Citizen of the World
Mom’s no couch potato. You’re not sure she knows where the couch even is any more. She’s always, always going somewhere, learning something new, finding something fantastic, seeing something mindblowing, collecting new experiences. Her wandering brings her joy, and she’ll love gifts that enhance her expeditions, whether they’re to the Kwik-E-Mart or Krakatoa.
Mom’s not going anywhere without her coffee. And she’s not about to drink anything out of a plastic cup, either. This unique, handmade stoneware travel mug holds 24 oz. of precious liquid caffeine, fits in standard car cup holders, and is a joy both to look at and to hold (no burned fingers!). | Stoneware Travel Mug ($50.00)
The search for the perfect bag or pack is a necessary part of any on-the-move Mom’s life. The most frequent trip she’ll ever take – to buy groceries – is made irksome by flimsy plastic shopping bags that stretch and break, paper sacks whose handles tear off, and cute, ecologically responsible, but impractical totes that slouch over sideways, spilling their contents. This genius basket eliminates all of those irritations. Mom will silently thank you every time she totes it. | Foldable Market Basket ($29.99)
Another bag-related annoyance of Mom’s: trying to find things inside of them. She’s not normally one to curse, but rifling through her handbag for a nail file, a pen, or her keys brings on the %&#%@#!!!! Another genius item, our Automatic Handbag Illuminator, switches on with a touch and lights up her bag. She finds what she needs, and the light turns off on its own after a few seconds. Exasperation alleviated, Mom is once again happy and curse-free. | Handbag Illuminator ($29.95)
You wouldn’t call Mom quixotic, exactly, but on the other hand, she wouldn’t be the very last person you’d imagine chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. With this terribly glamorous (and sturdy, and UV-protective) umbrella, she won’t need to. There might be a small problem with other people thinking she is the pot of gold, however. In a way, of course, she is. | Metallic Umbrella ($45.00)
If Mom would choose a new pair of crampons, a kayak spray skirt or some brand new mosquito netting any day over a session at the upscale spa (“Boring!” says she), this ultralight, breathable parachute silk travel hammock will rock her merino wool socks off. Next time she goes camping, she can ditch the tent, sleeping bag and air mattress in favor of this suspended bed that, lacking pressure points (as all hammocks do), magically soothes any aches and pains from the day’s activities. In the morning, it folds up into a little, painless-to-carry pouch. | Double Travel Hammock ($60.00)
She’s an intrepid traveler, afraid of nothing…except a blank page. She’s always wanted to jot down her travel observations, both practical and philosophical, but where to start? This journal, full of intelligently thought-out prompts and categories, will get Mom’s ink a-flowing. | Travel Journal ($28.00)
Sovereign of Spa City
Mom works hard and plays soft. She throws herself without reservation into everything she does, including downtime. After all that intense doing, she needs some hardcore non-doing. Gifts that help her zone out, tune in, refresh, and regenerate will soothe the ragged edges of her psyche and bring her back to life so she can start all over again.
Chocolate soothes the savage female beast. Roses melt her heart. After she’s steeped and sipped one of these teas would be a good time to tell Mom that thing you dread telling her. (But not on Mother’s Day!) | Chocolate and Roses Tea ($38.00}
Now Mom needs to sink into a horizontal position and veg out. Not just her mind – her feet need to veg out, too. (If you haven’t realized this is a thing, maybe you owe your feet an apology.) Filled with flax and 12 natural herbs, these plush booties are intended for just this purpose. Mom can heat them in the microwave (they have a lovely, therapeutic scent that intensifies when heated), chill them in the freezer, or just put them on as-is. They’ll contour to her feet and put a Buddha-like smile on her face. | Luxury Herbal Booties ($34.00)
Speaking of the Buddha, here is is, waiting to meet Mom in the middle of a lotus blossom. If Mom enjoys shaking off the cares of the day with a good jigsaw puzzle, she’ll appreciate this handcrafted, heirloom-quality wooden puzzle featuring whimsical, figural pieces of lotus blossoms and leaves, as well as the Enlightened One himself. We can’t guarantee that enlightenment for Mom will result when she finishes the puzzle, but we can’t rule it out, either. | Zen Lotus Wooden Heirloom Puzzle ($50.00)
You can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl. Even city-born moms enjoy a peaceful pastoral fantasy, especially if it unfolds in a warm bathtub and smells like cocoa butter and dried orange peel instead of a real-life barn. (No offense, little chickies and lambies.) Handmade at a real Alabama farm, these cute critters are the perfect companions for a long, relaxing soak. | Barnyard Bath Truffles ($26.00)
Mom takes her spa stuff pretty seriously. She knows the salts, herbs, and essences that, blended together, add up to more than the sum of their parts. A connoisseur like her is a good candidate for this high-end set of test tubes filled with Dead Sea salts and organic herbs and flowers – the ingredients of bathtub paradise. The nice surprise? Hand-selected affirmation scrolls, one for each test tube, that set her frame of mind, while the tube’s contents work on the physical part of her being. | Cherish Spring Bath Affirmations Set ($68.00)
Sometimes Mom wishes that mellow spa feeling could accompany her in her daily life. Well, that’s just what aromatherapy is: the use of natural aromatic plant compounds to improve health, mood, and general wellbeing, wherever you happen to be. Each of these 4 bottles contains a blend that promotes a different beneficial effect, whether it’s clearing negativity, reviving her spirits, stirring up a little romance, or encouraging sound, peaceful sleep. | Aromatherapy Deluxe Gift Set ($55.00)
To Mom, With Love
Mom (and Grandma) are properly feted in these whimsical, printable cards that give them the rock star treatment. | Printable Mother’s Day Cards (free)