Be honest: have you ever unwrapped a gift at the holiday and thought “Huh?”
You’re not alone. And while ’tis better to give than receive, I don’t think there’s anything wrong being a bit disappointed by totally off-target gifts.
A present doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive to make a mother feel warm and fuzzy; it just needs to show that the giver went a little out of their way to think about the kinds of things she might like.
But that can be easier said than done for even the most well-meaning gift-giver.
So earlier this month, I asked you for gift-guide suggestions. Sarah and I pored over the suggestions and compiled a list of the ones we thought would be the biggest crowd-pleasers (of course, we couldn’t resist tossing in a few ideas of our own!)
And now, instead of dropping a bunch of hints and hoping they stick, you can forward this on, post it to your Facebook wall or print it out and leave it on the kitchen table. Because when it comes to getting a gift that makes you smile Christmas morning, subtlety doesn’t always work.
Here it is: our 2012 Holiday Gift Guide For Moms; a list of can’t-miss gifts that will help anyone shop for a mom in their lives:
…to get cozy
A luxe bathrobe (like this Eileen Fisher Spa Robe). Think plushy, super-soft fleece, terry, satin or ultra-fine cotton. The best robes are those that make you feel like you’re in a fancy hotel or spa when you slip them on.
Fancy tea and accoutrement (like Teavana’s gift sets). For many moms, a cup of tea is a daily luxury they can count on – and look forward to. While Lipton and Red Rose are perfectly good everyday tea, every now and then it’s nice to brew up something a little more luxurious. If you’re buying for a coffee lover, consider a fancy blend or a French press.
Warm, well-fitting, ultra-cozy slippers (like these Muk Luks from Amazon.com). We love the ones that feature slip-proof soles, a fuzzy lining, and that tie higher around the legs to keep calves warm – I sometimes go the whole day without taking off my Muk Luks. (Yes, that includes the occasional tromp to school pick-up in my slippers!) Note: I have nothing against slipper socks but they are just not the same experience.
…to feel pretty & pampered
Clairisonic Skin Cleansing System. Neither Sarah nor I have tried this, but we’ve both heard so many other women raving about the system (here and elsewhere) that we felt it just had to make the cut. If you’re buying for a spa enthusiast who loves trying out masks and scrubs at home, this could be a perfect gift.
Perfume or fragrance. These solid handmade perfume twists from Sweet Anthem came highly recommended. You can also make custom perfumes at some local stores. Fragrance is a very personal thing, but if you know a few different perfumes she usually wears, you might be able to get a recommendation from a perfumer.
Sweet Anthem also sells sample sizes which could be a fun way to let her try out a few (and maybe include a gift certificate so she can purchase a larger bottle once she decides!)
Haircare/spa gift certificate. Go beyond the obvious here. Everyone needs a hair cut now and then, but a few coupons good for salon blow-outs or semi-regular pedicures feel way more luxurious. Massages and facials are great choices, too.
Consider going beyond just buying the gift certificate: book the appointment, arrange care for the kids, and help her make it happen.
FashionABLE scarf. Both Sarah and I have a FashionABLE scarf (Meagan: Feleku; Sarah: Saba, pictured below) and both of us have bought them for friends. This ought to indicate how much we love them! The scarves are not only beautiful, high-quality and hand-made, but purchasing them helps an African woman support herself and her family. Gifts that give back feel extra good.
…a little alone time
A day off. No kids. No responsibilities. For many moms, it just seems like a pipe dream; but it’s a gift anyone, with any budget, can give. Schedule a day that you’ll take the kids off her hands, and shoo her out the door to the movies, antique store or even just to browse shelves at the library. No dishes, no laundry, no diapers? Heaven.
A nod toward her non-mom self. Professional development classes, tap-dance lessons, a magazine subscription, or a conference fee? It’s not always easy for moms to justify spending money on things that nurture our careers or creative sides, which is why something like this can be such a powerful gift.
A hotel reservation with pre-arranged childcare. Whether it’s a girls weekend, a couples getaway, or just the opportunity to hole up in a quiet room with her Kindle and order room service, this kind of mini-vacation makes moms say “yes please.”
Do keep in mind that moms with babies or clingy little ones might not feel completely comfortable with this kind of arrangement, so try casually floating the idea before committing to it. If she balks now, chances are good she’ll be up for it next year; for now, maybe a few afternoons off would be the kind of gift she’d appreciate and feel good about.
…something with a personal touch
A Kindle Fire, if she’d use a multi-functional tablet, or the new Kindle Paperwhite if she loves to read in bed! Try pre-loading it with a book or two or include an Amazon gift certificate to make the gift even more personal and useful. Note: If a Kindle isn’t in the budget, an LED book light is a thoughtful gift for late-night readers!
Framed family photos or photo book. Sarah’s favorite photo books are Blurb or Costco, and we always hear good things about Shutterfly. In a pinch, your local Walgreens may offer quick-turnaround book printing.
Personalized stationary or return address stamp like this one from Purple Lemon Designs on Etsy. I love pretty stationery and notecards, and the return address stamp makes sending hand-written letters that much easier.
Etsy.com gift card. Personally-chosen gifts are lovely, but Etsy offers so many options that it can be overwhelming. Since shopping there is such a unique experience, it’s one time that I think a gift card can be almost as special as a “surprise.”
…something for the home
KitchenAid stand mixer. The Cadillac of the small kitchen appliances. Not only can it make baking and cooking easier, but it looks beautiful sitting on the counter.
The KitchenAid mixer is available in several price points and sizes, and a rainbow of hues: there are a bunch of options at Amazon, but you might want to check out a local kitchen store or department store to get a true feel for the array of colors and styles available.
Gift certificate for maid/housekeeping service. This is a luxury that so many women will never feel justified taking money out of the family budget to pay for, but it’s such a treat.
Since making the call to schedule the service can also feel like an obstacle, why not take this one step further? Make the call yourself and set up the service, do the pre-housecleaner-tidy she’ll probably feel obligated to do, and arrange for her to be out of the house when the cleaning service arrives so she can avoid any awkward feelings.
Wonderfully-scented candles like any of these handcrafted candles from Molten on Etsy. Think light, natural scents instead of strong synthetics. Soy candles burn cleaner and slower than paraffin wicks, so they’re a great choice for a gift. Yes, they’ll cost more, but trust me: almost every mom I know would rather get one really beautiful, lovely-smelling candle than a dozen stinky, not-so-pretty ones.
Wall art. This is another thing that’s often a low priority in the household budget, but it makes such a huge difference in how a home feels. We suggest something personalized like these Warhol-like canvases from AllPopArt.com, or a gift certificate to Art.com. I love Nikki McClure prints, and posters are very reasonably priced.
Of course, one mother’s dream gift is another’s “Oh, you really shouldn’t have.”
So as you peruse the gift suggestions above, consider your giftee’s pastimes, preferences and personality. A mom who loves to spend time baking, for example, might feel a little differently about a stand mixer than one who avoids the kitchen!
But the great thing about most of the gifts above is that they’re the kind of can’t-miss crowd-pleasers that will bring a smile to almost anyone’s face. So please, do your fellow moms a favor – share, like, and spread the word about this gift guide! Maybe we can make the holidays a wee bit happier for some givers and giftees this year.