Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Guest Post: Mother's Day Gift Ideas, From a Real Mom!



by Josh (bio)

My lovely wife, Amy, wrote this post. I, for one, am thrilled. My Mother's Day gift shopping just got a whole lot easier. Hopefully this can help someone out.

It’s that time of year again. The time when you look at the calendar and realize that Mother’s Day is on Sunday. Don’t worry. We’re all there. We all have mothers, and rack our brains trying to come up with a gift that won’t be trite, cheesy or useless, yet at the same time express our overwhelming gratitude for birthing us and raising us to adulthood.

But for men, there’s even more pressure. Not only do you have mothers, but you have mothers of your children. And those mothers can be a little touchy about Mother’s Day expressions of gratitude and love. Don’t worry. I’ve got you covered. The following is a gift guide for your wife. (Please understand that I’m a mother with small children, with limited discretionary income.)

The Mother’s Day Gift Guide (All Under $25!)

The Book Thief
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
1) The gift of peace and quiet. Here’s how to do it. First, wrap a new book. One you’ve given a little bit of thought to. Does she have an Amazon wish list? Go there first. If she doesn’t, think of something she might actually enjoy. Ask a friend of hers if you need to. Second, when she unwraps said book, instruct her to go to her favorite place to read (her bed, a library, a comfy couch), and tell her to take a few hours to read, then (and this is vitally important) remove the children from her vicinity (at least out of the house -- preferably miles away). Contrary to the spirit of the holiday, most mothers would agree that the best mother’s day gifts are the ones that remind you the least that you are a mother. **Bonus points if you take her a cold beverage and a treat before you leave.
Blooming Tulip GiftCard - $25
Why are Target's Gift Cards so good looking?

2) The gift of time and money. Buy a $25 gift certificate to Target or Barnes and Noble or a place that your wife likes to browse. You put it in a thoughtful card, with your own original, loving thoughts before you sign it (and don’t sign your last name -- I kid you not, this happens), and then tell her to go to Target and spend some time for herself. The thought of having a gift card and hours of free time to spend it makes me giddy. Like I’ve said, this isn’t for everyone. Some would rather be given an actual gift. But, I’m telling you, if you think your wife would rather open up a new apron instead of be given an afternoon of shopping without kids clinging to her leg, most likely you’re wrong.

LIBMAN CO 02000 WONDER STRIP MOP
Buying this mop as a gift: Bad! Mopping the house: Good!
3) The gift of service. Truthfully, I think that Mother’s Day and Father’s Day should be service holidays, rather than gift-giving holidays. But this is difficult. You may think that having the children serve their mother breakfast in bed is a charming gesture, but mostly, that mother is thinking about the sink full of dishes that will be waiting for her once she gets out of bed. Too often we hear, “Just take the day off!” which really means the kids will be fed dry cereal and chicken nuggets, and the house will look like a bomb went off by the time this day of rest is over. So, try to think about the chores that your wife absolutely hates. Ask her if you must. Then do them all. Mine would be: emptying the dishwasher, mopping the kitchen floor, and feeding my children three square meals that day (including clean-up). Regardless of what you do, keep the house clean (please!).

Sterling Silver "A Family's Love Is Natures Masterpiece - Behney" Reversible Family Tree Pendant, 18"
Cute jewelry!
4) Keep with Tradition. Jewelry is never a bad idea. It doesn’t have to be expensive, as long as you’re certain that you have good taste (note: if you’re not sure, you don’t). Unless your wife is a flower lover, don’t give her an overly-priced bouquet of flowers. I can almost guarantee that she’ll be thinking about how she would’ve spent that 60 bucks. That’s not to say that flowers are out. Get a cheap but beautiful bouquet from Trader Joe’s or Costco and arrange them in a vase you already have. Or buy or make an extravagant dessert. You can buy my undying love and affection with a good cheesecake. Find a cute photo of your kids and have it printed on canvas at Costco.com, or frame a photo if you don’t have time to wait for shipping. Buy her a nice piece of art, or a cute vase that would fit in one of the rooms of your house (hint: You can never go wrong with Anthropologie or Crate & Barrel).

The most important thing about Mother’s Day gift-giving is this: Give it some thought. It’s not about money and it’s not about originality, it’s about knowing your wife and knowing what will make her happy. And when mom’s happy, everyone’s happy. (Just kidding. That’s a total lie. No one cares if mom’s happy.) But at least you can make her life less work.

*Some of these gifts will have to be given/performed on Saturday.
**All images provided by Amazon.com. Click on them and you can buy those actual items. Reminder: Don't buy the mop!!

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