I sent a Mother’s Day gift to California weeks ago–in part because it takes so long to arrive, and in part because I was confused about the date! Mother’s Day in the UK was in March and after seeing “Don’t forget your Mum” signs in shops everywhere, I made sure I didn’t. But if I was still searching for a gift for my long-distance maman here are a few gifts I’d be interested in:
A sweet card
No matter what you give, make sure to send a heartfelt note. And if you are worried it won’t arrive in time, send it on digital stationery through one of my all-time favorite websites: Paperless Post. You can personalize the card by uploading your own photos with your mom.
A year-long magazine subscription
This is one of my favorite gifts because the recipient is reminded of you throughout the year. You can get a digital subscription for less, but there is something so decadent about curling up with a magazine over morning coffee. And who doesn’t love getting mail? My suggestions:
- Garden & Gun. I’m partial because I’ve written for G&G, but it is perfect for the mother who loves entertaining and the South. Your dad will steal it after she’s done. Order one year for $19.
- Sweet Paul. Great for the mother who loves to cook–this gorgeous, quarterly magazine definitely goes beyond Martha Stewart territory. Order one year for $40.
- Sunset Magazine. Perfect for a west coast mama or one who’s planning a trip there–this magazine features travel, architecture and landscaping tips. Order one year for $16.
- Afar. One of my favorite, new travel magazines, Afar is chock-full of wanderlust-worthy photos and unique travel recommendations. Order one year for $20.
A mini book club
A book is always a great gift and Amazon can have it delivered in 24 hours–but take it up a notch, by suggesting you read the same book at the same time. Sharing that experience shortens the distance between you and makes phone calls more fun, since you can discuss the book together. A few suggestions: The Perfume Collector, The Year of Magical Thinking, The Awakening. Better yet, give your mother a gift card and let her choose the book. Or use this site.
A charitable gift
Donate to a charity or a cause that is close to your mother’s heart and make it out in her name. I like to give to charities that are local over big-name ones, so seek out one in the city where your mother lives or one in her hometown. You can also donate to one of her alma maters–my mother has donated to my college’s creative writing program and it so touched my heart. I have found that Charity Navigator is a great search engine for finding a specific cause.
A professional course
Has your mother ever said “I wish I knew how to…”? Udemy.com offers thousands of online courses from professionals in almost anything you can think of: Thai cooking, acrylic painting, yoga, puppy training and everything in-between. Some courses are offered in multiple languages, if your mother speaks Spanish or Mandarin. If you can do the course together, even better. Courses run from $0 and $20 through a few hundred dollars.
Even if you cannot be together, you can still give your mother the gift of time by offering to take care of a task or errand. After hearing my eco-conscious mother lament all the unnecessary catalogs she was receiving in the mail, my sister offered to call the 1-800 numbers of the companies and have her mailing address removed–a true gift! Maybe your mother has been talking about having her laptop fixed –you can send GeekSquad over. Maybe she needs help with the yard–you can call a local landscaper to cut her grass. And everyone would love to have someone else clean their home.
Happy almost Mother’s Day to all who mothers someone in their lives. A few links on the holiday:
- The founder of Mother’s Day later fought to have it abolished (Mental Floss)
- Why you should write a letter to your child on Mother’s Day (Slate)
- The human cost of Mother’s Day flowers (Vice)