Regardless of the occasion, finding those unique gifts for mom can be a challenge, My mother and my mother-in-law are both wonderful women, gracious and loving and kind, and each of them deserves all the good I could possibly send their way. However, buying them gifts is far from easy for a couple of reasons:
1) They don’t need (or want) another thing to sit around their house.
2) If there’s something they want, they will likely buy it for themself.
So, if you find yourself in a similar situation, here are some ideas that “hard to buy for” mom in your life might enjoy. Some of these I’ve given, some of them I’ve received, and some I’m adding to my own list to both give and get!
Check it out, and then let me know what you’d add!
What is a special gift for mom?
While it can be easy to overthink gift-giving, I think one of the best gifts you can give is one you would buy for yourself. And for that reason, many of these fun and unique gifts for mom are items I personally love and own.
While circumstances can vary, buying a gift for your mother doesn’t need to be about grand gestures. Until recently, both of my children were in college with very little discretionary income. And while I LOVE receiving gifts, I always told them they didn’t need to worry about buying me gifts. And because my husband is wonderful, he would always stand in the gap with a gift he purchased on their behalf.
However, this last Christmas, my kids bought me a gift. They actually went shopping, thought about things I would like, and then purchased something for me with their money! And I loved it not because of what they bought (although I did love it) but because they considered me.
And I would venture to guess that most moms are similar. What she (and we) appreciates the most is the effort, knowing you took time to consider her, the things she likes or the interests she pursues.
But even then, I think we all can agree that it’s not always that simple. And I’m the world’s worst about having a unique gift idea in January, thinking I’ll remember it once Mother’s Day, birthdays, or Christmas rolls around, but then forgetting my ideas and scrambling for a gift.
So in the spirit of planning ahead — whether that’s for Mother’s Day, Christmas, or her birthday — here you’ll find a list of unique gifts for mom.
Unique gifts for the mom who has everything
Ok…she probably doesn’t have “everything,” but if you would put your mom in this category, she likely has all she wants or needs. So here are some unique gift ideas for you to consider.
1. Subscription Box or Membership:
Truly, it’s the gift that keeps on giving! I am a super fan of subscription boxes because they allow me to try new things. Most subscription boxes also offer price options, so you have some choices based on what you want to spend. Here are some personal favorites, along with some recommendations from friends:
I’ve been getting FabFitFun boxes each quarter since 2020, and I still really enjoy them. I don’t always love everything in the box, but I do enjoy trying new things and like that the items included are full-size products rather than samples. For the things I don’t love or want, I simply pass those along to my daughter or a friend.
There is a gift-of-the-month club for just about anything, from flowers, fruit, desserts, and popcorn to cheese, coffee, steak, and wine. The lists are endless, but here are a few examples!
Flowers: Harry & David is always a fan favorite for many types — 33, to be exact! — of monthly club offerings, but who doesn’t love fresh flowers? With the Harry & David Bulb-of-the-Month Club, you can send happiness multiple times during the year. They have a 3-, 6-, and 12-month program, so you can choose the one that fits best with your price point.
Coffee: Trade offers gift subscriptions at three different price points: under $50, under $100, and over $100. You pick the number of bags of coffee, and then the gift recipient gets to make selections based on personal preferences. Your mom gets to customize everything from order frequency to grind setting. Trade also has one-time gift purchases, as well.
Tea: If she prefers tea to coffee, then Sips by might fit the bill. Similar to the coffee subscription service, Sips by also gives you purchase options (3-, 6-, 12-, and 24-months). The gift recipient then takes it from there, personalizing their Sips by Box tea subscription by “match[ing] them with premium teas…from brands around the world based on their unique taste preferences.”
The WSJ (Wall Street Journal) Wine Club has two different tiers: Discovery and Premier. If your mom loves wine and/or entertaining, then this might be a great option. Among other things, those in the wine club receive a 12-bottle wine case every quarter!
Vellabox is a candle subscription box we gifted my mother-in-law last year for her birthday. Vellabox sends artisan candles, along with a little surprise gift, monthly. You can choose from three different sizes. This was a new find for us, and actually, one my husband found for his mom. Vellabox is a candle subscription box that sends artisan candles monthly. You can choose from three different sizes.
A friend of mine has been a Faithbox subscriber for several years and really loves all that she receives. Each Faithbox ships monthly and contains items geared toward helping you deepen your faith and grow closer to Jesus. Boxes are thematic and include devotionals, books, and “do good” products.
This one is an annual membership rather than a subscription box, but for my garden-loving mother, it was a welcome gift. In fact, it’s become something I gift her each year at Christmas.
Depending on your mother’s interests and the city where she lives, a membership to a place she loves might be something to consider. If something like the arboretum isn’t her thing, a museum membership is another consideration. Again, it all depends on what she loves.
2. Personalized Gifts:
Who doesn’t love a personalized gift? It provides a special and unique touch to all of your gift-giving. Here are a few favorites:
Personalized stationery is one of my favorite gifts to give and receive! There are a whole host of companies that specialize in personalization, but I have had great success with these two:
- Simply to Impress: Simply to Impress simply can’t be beat when it comes to responsive customer service, fast shipping, and exceptional presentation. I started ordering Christmas photo cards from them a few years ago and have never looked back! But I also love their personalized notecards, which make great gifts!
- PrintsWell: PrintsWell is another go-to for custom stationery, but particularly return address stickers (the round ones are my favorites!). I’ve given these as gifts for all sorts of occasions!
- If return address stickers aren’t you’re thing, what about a personalized return address stamp! Again, you can find these many different places, but this is where we’ve had great luck.
I’m a fan of a well-placed monogram, and you can’t go wrong with options from any of these retailers.
- Barrington Gifts has a fabulous line of totes, travel bags, and accessories, all designed for personalization. One of my favorites is the St. Anne Zippered tote, and the pattern options are endless.
- Mark & Graham is another place to turn if you are looking for a wide range of personalization options. The nice thing about Mark & Graham is that you can choose your gift by price, recipient, or occasion. They have an exhaustive list of items from which to choose, so finding the perfect gift isn’t an issue here, but rather selecting which one you want to get! It’s often one of my go-to sources for graduation gifts, as well.
- If you live in the Dallas area, then you might want to check out Paper Affair. Along with custom stationery options, they also have a wide range of unique gifts for mom.
- Of course, Marleylilly and Etsy also are great sources for all things monogrammed.
Useful and unique gifts for mom
1. Entertain me:
Sous Vide Cooker
If your mom enjoys cooking, then I highly recommend a sous vide cooker. My husband received one for Christmas — he not only enjoys cooking more than I do but he’s also way better at it than me — but we both love his gift:) We have the Anova sous vide and love it, but I know there are many others.
The Vineglacé wine bottle insulator is a game-changer for keeping bottles of wine, champagne, etc. chilled and receives rave reviews. Vineglacé is a Texas company, too, so that double points in my book.
Add on a favorite bottle of wine, and your gift is complete! These beautiful ruffled wine coasters also make a beautiful and unique gift for mom. These are more expensive, for sure, but they are gorgeous and would beautifully complement any tablescape.
Charcuterie boards definitely are having a moment, but they really are incredibly functional and make fabulous gifts. While you can find them at a number of stores, I love the ones this Aggie-owned family business, Burk’s Creations, makes. They also make bamboo cutting boards with handwritten recipes engraved into the facing. Either would make a one-of-a-kind gift for mom that she’d be sure to treasure.
A wonderful addition to this type of gift would be a set of cheese knives, if she doesn’t already have some, along with one of these books, Beautiful Boards | Platters and Boards, to provide some inspiration.
2. Make life easier:
It’s time we pull some of those great photos off our phones, and here are two unique gifts you or your mom is sure to love.
- HP Spocket Photo Printer – This one actually prints 4×6 photos, so it is perfect for quickly printing pictures to add to frames.
- Cannon Ivy Smartphone photo mini printer – You know, sometimes you just want to print a picture, and this makes it easy. The mini-printer prints 2×3 photos with sticky backs, so mom can have a picture on the fridge or her bulletin board in no time!
There are a ton of options in this quick photo space, though, so do your homework and find the one that you think best meets your needs. Here are two resources to help: Amazon Best Sellers in Portable Photo Printers and TechAdvisor.com’s Best Portable Photo Printers 2022.
Digital photo frame
Digital photo frames have come a long way, but we liked the NixPlay photo frame because it allows us to send photos directly to the frame. It includes an app and a connected email. I need to be a little better about forwarding photos, but it really is simple to do.
There are many options to choose from here, as well, so here’s an article to help you weed through the offerings.
For the organized mom in your life, give her a label maker! Here are two options that make fun gifts, and both are easy to use and include a variety of fonts, text, and symbols.
- Brother P-touch Cube Plus or the Phomemo D30 Label Maker come highly rated.
- Cricut Joy Home Labeling Starter Kit if you want to get fancy.
3. Pamper me:
At Christmas a few years ago, I hosted a “My Favorite Things” party. And we had so much fun sharing our favorites that I carried over the idea of gifting my favorites for all sorts of gift-giving occasions. Below are some of the beauty items I like to give as gifts:
These are fun to give and receive. They can range in price from super inexpensive to pricey. However, my all-time favorite — the Laneige line — is only $25 and lasts a long time. I used to never buy masks, but with the improvements many have made to the process of masking, now I keep them stocked. And for a beauty basket, I think they are unique gifts and fillers. Personal favorites include:
- FaceTory Sheet Masks – collection of masks so your mom can try a variety.
- Laneige Water Sleeping Mask and the Laneige Lip Mask – Both of these are my favorites! Marian and I both use these products every night, and we’ve both given them as gifts to family and friends! I think they are well-priced, and they last a long time even with daily use. Amazon typically has them priced a bit better, but if you want to see and smell (there are some options), then head on over to Sephora!
The Tatcha Kissu Lip Mask is another fan-favorite. I’ve tried this one, as well, and like it. However, I like the Leneige applicator better than the Tatcha one, and I think the Tatcha lip mask tends to be more sticky than Laneige. For those two reasons alone, I prefer Laneige, but both you can’t go wrong with either one.
Aveda Hand Relief – My mother-in-law actually is the one who turned me on to this hand cream. She’s been using it for years and loves it. After using hand sanitizer nearly daily for a year, my hands always felt so dry. So, I decided to give it a try, and now I, too, am sold. It’s a bestseller for Aveda, and now I understand why. You can find it on Amazon or at Aveda.
Kind of like subscription boxes, gift sets are a nice, and easy, way to give your mom a chance to try some new things, perhaps in a brand she might not typically buy or consider. I wish I could show you the Keihl’s gift set my children bought me for Christmas (it’s no longer available) because I would recommend that one in a heartbeat. Included in that gift was the Midnight Recovery Concentrate, which is not a product I had used before receiving it. However, I really like it and probably will repurchase it.
4. Feels like home:
Here are some unique gifts for mom to accent her home. I have each of these items and love, love, love them.
The Pura Smart Home Plug-In Diffuser is fabulous. I received this as a gift and have since given it as a gift. Pura partners with several well-known brands, so your scent options include collections from capri BLUEⓇ, homesick, LAFCO, NEST, THYMESⓇ, VOTIVOⓇ, and many others.
Originally, the only place to find the refills was online but now you can purchase the Pura devices and scent refills in lots of places, from small boutiques to big retailers like Scheels.
The Letterfolk Tile Mat makes another wonderfully unique gift. I love mine, but changing out the tiles does take some time and effort so factor that into your decision-making process before you buy. But the Letterfolk website provides lots of design inspiration, which is super nice.
The tiles come in a wide range of colors, but unless you have a Scheels store close to you, then you’ll need to purchase them online (my last two tile purchases were from PatternBrands). Scheels’ tile selection usually runs seasonally and isn’t extensive, though, so buying online is your best bet for extensive color choices.
If you end up gifting the tilemat with an assortment of tiles, you might want to consider sending along a storage suggestion for the tiles. I’ve had mine since the spring of 2021, and my tile collection started to get a bit unwieldy. So recently I purchased this 10-drawer medium stackable organizer (above image, top right)to keep everything neat, organized, and easily accessible.
Round Top Collection
The square metal and wood seasonal signs from The Round Top Collection were one of my favorite finds for 2021. I gave these as Christmas and birthday gifts and think they’d also make fabulous Mother’s Day gifts. I have found these at Sample House, various boutiques, and also on Amazon. You need to pair them with some sort of stand. I have a wooden base for mine, but they also make metal easels, which I think are a bit more functional.
What to get a mom who wants nothing
I’m fairly certain I could put my mom and mother-in-law in this category. In fact, if we stopped buying gifts altogether, I think both of them would be okay with it. But here’s the thing: Gift-giving isn’t just about the recipient. For those of us who like giving (and receiving), you know there is joy in watching someone you love open a gift you’ve picked just for them.
However, if your mom truly wants nothing, then gift her an experience instead!
One of the best things to come from the pandemic was the explosion of creativity in the online space. While a virtual encounter never will replace the joy that comes from in-person interactions, most places still offer online options, which might be perfect, particularly if your mom doesn’t live close.
But if she lives nearby, I can’t think of a better gift than time spent together, so here are some unique gifts for mom that you can share either online or in person!
1. Cooking Class
Pre-pandemic, my husband actually discovered these classes at Sur La Table and signed us up (I know, he’s a keeper!). We had a great time cooking together and learning a few new tricks and tips.
Here are some additional places to find top-rated cooking classes:
2. Tasting Experience
Tasting experiences are becoming increasingly popular, and they are so much fun. Wherever you live, a quick Google search should give you plenty of options. For my North Texas readers, here are a few unique and fun ideas:
- Dallas by Chocolate/Dallas Bites! Taste Tours
This company isn’t just about chocolate, although I wouldn’t be mad about it if they were:) But they host all types of food tours. Here is a sample: Best BBQ & Brewery, Champagne & Chocolate, The Italian Tour, Mornings & Mimosas, Tacos & Margaritas, The Coffee Tour, and more! I’m ready to sign up!
- Scardello Artisan Cheese
We love their in-person experiences. However, I also participated in a virtual cheese class in 2020 and can attest to the quality. This one would require proximity to Dallas, though, because they box the cheese selections, along with any add-ons you choose, for you to pick up before the class.
If you are lucky enough to have an Eataly location (Dallas, New York, Chicago, Boston, Las Vegas and Los Angeles) near you, then run, don’t walk, to check it out. In addition to the vast selection of all things Italy — wine, cheese, meats, sweets, bread, olive oils, and more — they also offer a variety of tasting experiences.
3. Your time
- seated teas at the Dallas Arboretum
- day trips for lunch at the Homestead Heritage Farm with a stop at Magnolia Market at the Silos
- facials followed with lunch and shopping
- a weekend getaway to the Texas Hill Country
- time together sorting pictures for the Christmas albums she wanted to make.
Here’s a thought: if your mother has been wanting to organize and declutter, you could compress our Declutter Challenge and help her jumpstart her organizational efforts over a few days or a weekend.
While I, too, soon will be on the hunt for that unique and special Mother’s Day gift, being available with your time is perhaps the greatest Mother’s Day gift of all. My mother and mother-in-law both are wonderful examples of what it means to be a great mom, and I know the most meaningful moments often have nothing to do with gifts.
Gift baskets for mom
Whatever your mom likes, coffee, wine, spa days, beauty, gardening, etc., you can put together a basket that includes various items to match the theme. Gift cards are easy add-ons to these types of gifts, but the overall presentation adds way more personalization.
No more gift cards stuck in greeting cards! I’m guilty of this, but Marian is teaching me her ways:)
Here’s just one simple idea if you have a coffee lover in your life, but you can take the basic concept and apply it to any type of theme.
Here’s an idea for the coffee lovers in your life:
- HEB Texas Pecan Coffee
Trust me on this; it’s the best, but ok, you can get her something different:)
- Keurig Reusable K Cup Pod
The brand does make a difference here.
- Gift card to your mom’s favorite coffee shop
Make it even better by adding a note that you’ll join her for a coffee date!
Other ideas to add to your gift: biscotti, flavored syrups, personalized coffee mug, coffee grinder, edible coffee stirrers or spoons, milk frother.
5 simple steps to making a pretty gift basket
You found the perfect gift, now it’s time to add the WOW!
Whether you are creating a gift for your mom or a care package for your college student, the principles are the same.
Marian’s broken it down into 5 easy steps!
Step 1: Choose your gift
Step 2: Pick your container (gift bag, gift box, basket, etc.)
Step 3: Coordinate your wrapping supplies (tissue, ribbon, shred, cello, wrapping paper, etc.)
Step 4: Add embellishment for the WOW! factor
Step 5: Personalize the tag in a way that shows your gift came from the heart
And remember, you can NEVER use too much tissue paper! FLUFF AWAY!
It doesn’t take much to elevate your gift-giving, but it makes such a difference when you take just a little extra time to add a few details to the presentation.
So what unique gifts for mom would you add to this list?
After all, Mother’s Day is coming up, and we need some ideas!