Everyone loves a good gift question, right?
April 24, 2014 6:51 AM   Subscribe

Mother's Day is around the corner and I want to get something nice for my mom. The problem? She has most everything she knows she could want, and unless I threaten horrible gifts she won't give me any suggestions. So I could use help in thinking of something nice for this Mother's Day. Details about the mother in question are inside.

My mom is retired and lives in Savannah, GA. She likes gardening (and has a decent plot at the community garden), golfing (which she does frequently living on a golf course now), and traveling (which they do frequently to all sorts of worldly places). She is also a fan of sweets and fruit, but isn't a big flower person, and I'd like to get her something a little more interesting than old fall backs. She's not a big jewelry person, though she will occasionally wear something small and simple. She also volunteers at the local library and is part of a walking group and has a kayak for some basic sea kayaking (though this she just picked up at the end of last summer and hasn't done much). They are currently in the middle of a kitchen remodel that means they haven't had a kitchen in awhile and won't have one for another chunk of time, in case that helps with ideas. In general, I'd like to keep it under $50, but if it is really awesome I may splurge. So yeah, there's a lot to work with, but she has most everything she needs to do what she likes to do, and isn't a big collector of things, so I am routinely stumped. Help me change that this year! (any ideas I don't use for Mother's Day I can use for her birthday soon too, so hit me with everything!)
posted by katers890 to Shopping (20 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Fruit Bouquet?
posted by missmagenta at 6:53 AM on April 24, 2014

Is there something personal you can make for her? A scrapbook of photos of the two of you, with handwritten memories of each of those photos? Something that isn't just a present you send, but that shows you've been thinking of her and working on it yourself?
posted by xingcat at 6:57 AM on April 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

We went with Birchbox subscriptions for my mom and mother-in-law. It's nice to get regular surprises, I think, and there are lots of different subscriptions out there.
posted by bizzyb at 6:59 AM on April 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Cooks Illustrated subscription, for when their kitchen is done.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 7:00 AM on April 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Tickets for a garden walk.
posted by Iris Gambol at 7:03 AM on April 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My mom is also a gardener (and a nursery owner), and in the past I've gotten her these gifts, both very well received:
Gardener's Seat
Multipurpose Garden Tool (she uses this thing nonstop)
posted by rachaelfaith at 7:04 AM on April 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

My mother sounds similar to yours in some respects, and she's really enjoyed getting gift certificates for Donors Choose in the past. It's a bit more active on her part than making a donation in her name, since she picks which projects the money gets applied to. Would that be something your mom might be interested in? Or Kiva, which also has gift cards? Or maybe a donation to the local library in her name?
posted by EvaDestruction at 7:04 AM on April 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Subscriptions of consumable things are on target. My mom is all about things for her Kindle or iPad. Takes up no room and is very usable.

Does she have an ereader? If so, a card so she can buy items for it (I highly recommend Fairway and Fairway Blast, a golf themed solitaire game that is HELLA fun.)

If she doesn't, how about a gift card (Amazon) and a suggestion that she buy one. (the basic Kindle is now $69)
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:13 AM on April 24, 2014

Between needing something consumable and being in the middle of a kitchen remodel, I'd pick a gift certificate to something food-related. Favorite restaurant? Restaurant or foodie place in a town they'll visit? A Zingerman's gift card or basket? (Mmm, Zingerman's... seriously, seriously great.) Maybe even cooking lessons for some unusual thing that she could do more easily in her new and fancy kitchen.
posted by Madamina at 7:17 AM on April 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'm a mom and I never know what to ask for because I'm passive-aggressive that way (joking) but if you could send a framed picture or a digital frame with lots of pix that would be pretty cool

and I just thought of this...she took up kayaking last year? EMS is kayak porn.

I would flip my shit if my kids got me:

a really high quality dry bag because I'm too cheap to splurge and get myself a nice one and I usually get at least one item soaking wet during every sea paddle;
a kayak cart because even though I know I can probably afford it and it would certainly save me from dropping my kayak on my damned foot, I'll never splurge on one;
maybe a basic safety kit because I've got a couple of sponges in my kayak as opposed to buying myself a decent pump;
a decent paddling shirt because they're also pricey but when the waves hit you and you dry out immediately it makes for a much better paddling experience.

But really, every year my kids make me a video taking the most danceable song of the year and they do weird things like reenact scenes from Goodfellas and The Usual Suspects and Arrested Development and stuff like that. Every year...best gift ever.
posted by kinetic at 7:19 AM on April 24, 2014 [4 favorites]

My first go-to for gifts is always experiences - tickets to a nice summer concert, or a membership to the local arboretum or museum.

Are you opposed to practical gifts? Could you get her a nicer model coffe-maker or something else related to her new kitchen? Otherwise, I also like the suggestion of a restaurant gift certificate. Not having a kitchen during our remodel was challenging to say the least, especially when we wanted fresh vegetables and fruit, and not something overly processed and over-salted.
posted by vignettist at 7:24 AM on April 24, 2014

Does she have sporty sunglasses? I'm assuming if she golfs and walks maybe the answer is yes but again, I would never spend serious $$ on those for myself, but I borrowed my ex's once and OMG they made a world of difference when I was paddling Boston Harbor. I could suddenly SEE everything.
posted by kinetic at 7:29 AM on April 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

A hori hori.
posted by waterlily at 7:33 AM on April 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

I live in Savannah, I can maybe recommend some restaurants if you tell me what kind of food they like and what part of town they live in.

I'm also a mom of adult kids who live far away. One thing I've been given in the past that I loved was a coupon for a massage. Especially good if she's kayaking! If you want the contact info for my wonderful massage therapist Sara send me a memail. She charges $60., and everyone I've sent to her thinks she is as awesome as I do. She's downtown.
posted by mareli at 7:34 AM on April 24, 2014

How about a bird house for her garden? If you can attract a few insectivorous birds they'll be feeding their chicks on slugs, aphids, whiteflies, etc, and saving her plants.
posted by fontophilic at 7:45 AM on April 24, 2014

A really really nice pair of gardening gloves.

An Earth Box.
posted by Sassyfras at 7:56 AM on April 24, 2014

One of these: Best Garden Tool Ever!
posted by PlantGoddess at 8:29 AM on April 24, 2014

So, your Mom has everything she needs, and may be in the downsizing part of life, where more stuff is a burden, not a pleasure. Get her some really terrific chocolate, or a great magazine subscription, either food or gardening.

Most important, write a card with reasons you love her, or a special memory.
posted by theora55 at 8:48 AM on April 24, 2014

Response by poster: Wow, lots of great ideas, thanks guys! My mom is really not very sentimental, so practical is usually what she gets, and I don't think she'd really dig on the card giving reasons I love her. She does like videos of my boys, etc, but other than that, sentimental, homemade stuff mostly just gets looked at and then put away never to be seen again. So I'll get my boys to make her something, but I'd really like to give her something she'd enjoy. The subscription box thing is interesting, there are just so many out there, it's a bit overwhelming. I do like the idea of giving her an experience (and the garden walk thing looks cool), but I know they've done a bunch of those things already, so I'll have to check with my dad about that one. Similarly with restaurants, they go out to eat a fair amount and have tried most of the places in Savannah they really want to, and will go out to eat with or without a gift card if they want to (plus the cost for a dinner for the two of them is a bit more than I can swing).

The only other thought I had was some artwork thing like this, but I feel like I could get a better deal or a more customized thing somewhere else (Etsy?), but I don't know where to look. So any ideas related to this would also be great.

But I love a lot of these ideas, keep them coming!
posted by katers890 at 10:39 AM on April 24, 2014

Great practical gift: a really, really nice umbrella. Not the foldable purse kind, but a long, elegant one, maybe with a carved handle, that you take with you when it's seriously pouring. A good one will last the lifespan of quite a few cheaper ones.
posted by ostro at 1:46 PM on April 24, 2014

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