When you’re young, Mom’s the easiest person on your holiday list to “shop” for — she’s generally happy with whatever her kids give her. In fact, a DIY Christmas gift like a handmade card or beaded necklace warms a mother’s heart like nothing else. Some of my most cherished possessions are those made by my son.
But when you’re an adult, Mom’s often the hardest to shop for. It takes us significantly more time to think about what to buy our mothers for Christmas compared to the time we spend on other people’s gifts — including gifts for dads — according to a 2018 survey by ipostparcels, a British arm of the delivery service DHL.
An article on gift-giving published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology cites five different studies that found gifts explicitly asked for are the most well received. Yet if you ask Mom what she wants for Christmas, she’s likely to answer with a well-intentioned, “You don’t have to get me anything.”
Shopping for Mom can be tricky, but there’s no need to stress out. There’s a perfect gift out there for every mother.
Best Christmas Gift Ideas for Moms
Before you buy your mom yet another scented candle or winter scarf, take a look at this curated list of the best gifts for moms. It has you covered with a wide variety of gift ideas at various price points. You’re sure to find something she’ll love no matter what your holiday budget is.
Christmas Gift Ideas Under $20
If you’re working with a tight budget this holiday season, don’t worry. A 2016 study published by the Association for Psychological Science found the value of a gift has little to do with its price tag. In this price range, it’s possible to find a wide range of offerings to delight moms.
1. A Favorite Book
If your mom’s an avid reader, treat her to a book by her favorite author. A handpicked book shows you pay attention and sends the message you know how much she deserves some coveted “me time.” Make the gift extra special by purchasing a signed edition. And if you have any of your budget left over, pair it with a literary-themed pouch, useful for holding her reading glasses, bookmarks, or a journal.
If you’re a parent buying this gift on behalf of a little one, a bookmark handmade by the child is a special touch. They can make a gorgeous watercolor-style bookmark by drawing with Sharpies and dripping rubbing alcohol onto their art. Get the full directions at Happy Hooligans.
2. A Mom-Centric Coffee Mug or Tea Cup
If there’s room left in your budget, pair the mug with her beverage of choice. Try Republic of Tea’s Countdown to Christmas tea if she’ll be cozying up with the Hallmark channel this holiday season, or stock her up on holiday coffee pods.
3. Coloring Books & Art Supplies
Adult coloring books help many people unwind and relax — there are even specially designed stress-relief coloring books. You can find themes to suit virtually every interest. Unicorns & Dragons is my favorite, but the #MomLife adult coloring book allows moms to laugh at the parenting struggles only they understand. Pair it with a set of adult coloring pencils for a complete gift that’s still under budget.
If you have a little more room in your budget, get her a gift box or ongoing subscription to Art Snacks. Each monthly box includes four to five premium art supplies like pencils, paints, inks, and brushes. Plus, she’ll get additional materials describing each product, explaining how to use them, and giving her new techniques to try. And Mom will even get sneak peeks of new art products before they’re available in stores.
4. An Earring Subscription
If Mom enjoys a full jewelry box of options, get her a subscription to EarFleek. For less than $4 per month, she’ll get a new pair of hypoallergenic, nickel-free earrings in the latest designs. In this budget range, you can treat her to almost half a year’s worth of monthly surprises. And you can choose a style preference to suit her tastes — boho, minimalist, or silly and fun. Or get a random pick with the I Don’t Give A Hoot option. According to EarFleek, each pair retails for at least $13. And for customers wanting a more premium experience, you can sign up for EarFleek Premiere for just under $10 per month. That gets Mom earrings retailing for $25 or more. Plus, she’ll get a customized experience — she gets to choose the earrings herself.
5. An Essential Oil Diffuser
Mom could probably use some stress relief in 2020, so give her a little Zen with the Asakuki premium essential oil diffuser. The ultrasonic diffuser features multiple mist-diffusing modes, seven light colors, and a safety auto-off switch that prevents it from overheating if it runs out of water. It also operates as a humidifier, working up to 12 hours on a single tank, so it will keep Mom comfortable while she’s sleeping. And it’s bamboo-look veneer and flowerlike shape will look beautiful sitting on her nightstand. If you have extra room in your budget (or want to go in on a gift with a sibling), pair it with a set of essential oils.
6. A Sheet Mask Gift Box
A set of sheet masks also helps Mom de-stress. Get her a single gift box or an ongoing subscription from FaceTory. They’ll send Mom four or seven Korean face masks — depending on your choice of mask type — every month for less than $10. So you can get her one box or several as your budget allows.
7. A Gift Set of Lipsticks
If Mom is a beauty aficionado, set her up with a lipstick gift set from Sephora. The Too Faced Lip Injection Extreme Plump & Tasty Trio includes a travel-size trio of lip plumpers in original scent and two holiday aromas: pumpkin spice and Christmas cookie. Or if she’d prefer something more understated, go with the Givenchy Le Rose Perfecto mini lip balm duo. It features two shades of rose lip balms, one in a bold pink and one that will react with Mom’s pH to transform into her ideal shade.
Or set her up with the perfect shade based on her complexion. A gift card for The Lip Bar lets her pick out her own choice of lipstick, gloss, or liner customized for her by a beauty company that specializes in vegan, cruelty-free makeup made for every skin color.
8. A Message T-Shirt
Show Mom how much she means to you with a T-shirt that says it all. The “You. Are. Loved.” shirt comes in a wide range of colors and sizes, so you’re sure to find one in her favorite color that fits her to a T.
9. Helpful Tech
If “mom brain” frequently makes your mother misplace her phone or car keys, help her keep track of her stuff with a Tile tracker. Once she attaches the tracker, her smartphone or tablet can always tell her where her stuff is.
And if her phone frequently loses its charge while she’s out, get her a portable phone battery. A card-size portable power bank is slim enough to fit in her wallet but powerful enough to keep her connected to the rest of the world, no matter how many videos she or her little one watches.
10. A Keepsake Memory Book or Letters
According to my mom, the best gift I ever gave her cost me nothing. One year, as a broke college student, I was so strapped I had no money to buy anyone a gift. So I wrote everyone a note expressing how much they meant to me. My mom loved hers so much she kept it until the day she died. A gift I initially thought was a lame substitute ended up being my mom’s most cherished.
If you’re not sure how to get started telling your mom all the reasons you appreciate her, the prompts in the book “What I Love About Mom” can help. Simply fill in the blanks to give Mom a one-of-a-kind memory book. Likewise, the “I Love You Mom” journal contains prompts for journaling your memories of Mom, packaged in an elegant red cover with gold script.
Christmas Gift Ideas From $21 – $50
Even though there are plenty of amazing gifts under $20, the field opens a lot if your budget is in the $21 to $50 range. In this category, there are tons of gifts that appeal to many a mom’s interests, like cooking or music, and products that enhance her daily life, like gift boxes and baskets for stress relief or her morning joe.
11. A Basketful of R&R
Most moms spend their time caring for others. So it’s always nice to give her the gift of a little self-care. To put together a beautiful basket of goodies for less than $50, buy an inexpensive basket or bucket or go with a box she can repurpose, like a bathroom shelf organizer. Then fill it with anything that helps your mother relax, including:
- Cozy Socks. Pudus consistently ranks as a favorite among moms and is on Oprah Winfrey’s 2018 list of Oprah’s Favorite Things. Pair them with a high-quality relaxing foot lotion for a soothing treat.
- Hand Cream. This time of year, everyone’s hands could use a little extra pampering. The holiday L’Occitane hand cream set is both festive and nourishing.
- Soaps and Body Lotions. Bath & Body Works often has buy-three, get-two sales on body soap and lotion, making it easy to stock up for the holidays.
- Bath Bombs. The six-piece organic and vegan bath bomb set from Viiriu features relaxing scents like lavender, rose, and sweet orange.
- Candles. The hidden crystal candle from Uncommon Goods will help Mom relax, and it comes with a crystal she can keep after the candle burns down.
- A Bathtub Tray. A bathtub tray will help her enjoy a nice, long soak while reading a good book.
If you don’t have time to put it together yourself, the Lavender Spa gift set from Lizush comes packed with goodies to help Mom create an at-home spa experience.
If spreading the cost out month to month would help you afford something pricier, let her indulge in some ongoing self-care with a TheraBox subscription, which delivers Mom new pampering products every month.
12. A Spa Treatment
Sometimes, it’s easier for a mom to get some “me time” if she’s out of the house. Taking a long, private soak probably seems like a pipe dream to her, especially if she has little ones at home. Treating her to a mani-pedi, facial, or luxurious foot massage is possible in this budget range if you search for deals on an online coupon site like Groupon.
13. Custom Jewelry
Diamonds are out of your budget, but you can still treat your mom to some jewelry at this price point. Search Etsy for handcrafted custom jewelry. IMEjewelry will turn your handwritten message into a silver, gold, or rose-gold bracelet. Or have Caitlyn Minimalist turn kids’ fingerprints into a heart-shaped necklace or their artwork into a silver, gold, or rose-gold pendant.
14. A Coffee Gift Box
Few moms can make it without their daily dose of caffeine, so upgrade her usual brew with a subscription box. Lady Falcon is a women-run coffee company offering a monthly subscription and some intriguing coffee blends with fun names like “Attagirl.”
Or go with the Coffee and a Classic box. Though it’s a subscription service, they sell a one-time gift box in this budget category. Each box comes with a classic novel, like Jane Austen’s “Persuasion” or Emily Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights,” along with some book-themed swag like an on-theme mug or bookmarks. It also comes with a snack, like a cookie or gourmet popcorn, and a beverage of choice — coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.
15. An Insulated Tumbler
If your mom likes to make her coffee at home before heading off to work or keeps a cold beverage on her desk, she’ll love a stainless steel insulated tumbler. These keep drinks hot for eight hours and cold for 24. Tervis makes them in a range of sizes and a wide variety of designs to suit every taste and interest, including fandoms. If Mom’s into superheroes, gardening, or almost anything else, Tervis probably makes a cup for it.
16. A Book Club Subscription
Get the mom who likes reading various genres and writers a three-month subscription to the Book of the Month Club. The club curates contemporary bestsellers — like Leigh Bardo’s “Ninth House” and Jojo Moyes’ “The Giver of Stars” — and sends them out to subscribers every month.
17. A Personalized Cutting Board
If you need a gift for a foodie mom, get her a custom cutting board. There are loads of beautiful and creative designs on Etsy, including a wooden cutting board that tells Mom how much she means to you.
18. Something to Remind Mom You Still Think of Her
When children grow up and leave the nest, it’s tough for many parents to deal with. Remind your mom she’s still in your heart with a personalized family map. Every time she looks at it, she’ll remember that even though you’re miles apart, the love you share bridges the distance.
19. Yoga Accessories
Yoga has multiple benefits. It enables people to get in some fitness wherever they are while helping them relax, de-stress, and improve their health. If Mom’s a yoga buff, buy her a gift box from Yoga Club, which comes with a curated pair of stylish leggings for at least 50% off retail. Pieces are hand-selected to suit her style.
Or upgrade her gym tote or yoga mat. Gaiam’s mats are some of the best in the industry and feature a wide array of beautiful designs. The Gaiam Sol Dry-Grip was named the No. 1 yoga mat for 2020 by VeryWellFit. It features a moisture-wicking top layer that ensures Mom can keep her grip no matter how sweaty she gets.
20. A Smart Speaker
Enhance Mom’s daily life with an Echo Dot. The Alexa-enabled Dot gives her access to all her favorite music as well as the news and weather. Plus, Alexa can set alarms, answer any question, and control all Mom’s smart devices. It even lets her make hands-free phone calls. Alexa boasts tens of thousands of skills and counting. For one low price, it’s almost like getting your mom her own personal assistant.
Christmas Gift Ideas From $51 – $100
In this price range, you can give your mother a luxury item or two and treat her to the kinds of indulgences she’d probably never buy for herself.
21. A Stylish New Bag
Moms often lug around everyone else’s stuff. Help yours keep it all organized and easy to tote with a new handbag.
One to try is the Essential Pouch from the new handbag line of Rothy’s, the shoe brand beloved by Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. It can double as a clutch or a pouch to organize smaller items in a bigger bag. All Rothy’s bags are machine-washable and crafted from ocean-bound plastic, so they’ll appeal as much to the eco-conscious Mom as the style-conscious one. And if you have more room in your budget, the line offers five styles, including a tote bag that can fit all Mom’s stuff — plus everyone else’s.
22. An Ice Cream Gift Set
For moms who love sweets, consider an indulgent set of handcrafted ice cream pints from Graeter’s or artisan ice cream from Jeni’s. It’s a luxury food gift she might not splurge on, but she’ll be glad you did. She can pair the holiday flavors with some Christmas cookies or enjoy a dish on its own while she’s curled up watching Christmas movies.
23. A Wine Gift Set
If Mom’s more into wine than dessert, go with a flight of four wines to pair with every type of meal. The Uncorked by Cosmopolitan tasting set from Wine.com includes a bottle each of rose wine, chardonnay, pinot noir, and cabernet sauvignon. The collection was crafted and taste-tested by the editors of Cosmopolitan magazine.
24. A Date With You
As much as moms covet having time to themselves, they also love spending time with their kids. And if you’re an adult child who’s grown up and moved away, yours likely misses spending that time with you. One of the best gifts you can give her is simply a little one-on-one time.
In this budget range, you can take your mother to a movie and still have enough left over to treat her to dinner at a midrange family restaurant like Chili’s. If you’d rather dine somewhere more upscale, like The Melting Pot, search Raise for deals on gift cards at your preferred restaurant. Or score a discount on your movie tickets with a deal on a Fandango gift card.
25. A Fitness Tracker
Even though it doesn’t come with all the Versa smartwatch’s bells and whistles, the Fitbit Inspire has everything Mom needs to track her sleep, steps, heart rate, and calories. Plus, it comes in a sleek, less bulky design. But there are fitness trackers for every budget, so you have plenty of options.
26. Custom Artwork
Upgrade the typical family portrait with a personalized illustration. PrintableWisdom hand-draws every family member — even the family pet — for a sweet portrait Mom will love.
27. A Smart Home Hub
Your gadget-loving mom will love the Echo Show for everything an Alexa-enabled device can do — like play all her favorite music, give her the weather report, read her the news, and control all her smart home devices. Even better, the Show does it all with visuals. It lets her watch step-by-step tutorials for recipes and the music videos that go along with all her favorite songs. She can even have a hands-free face-to-face chat with you wherever you are in the world.
28. A Fancy Kitchen Appliance
If Mom still hasn’t updated her old-school drip coffee maker, treat her to one of the best single-serve coffee makers, the Keurig. Most models let you brew in multiple sizes, so the simple press of a button makes as much or as little coffee as she wants. Get the eco-friendly or budget-conscious mom a set of reusable coffee pods to go with it.
If she’s already hooked up with a coffee maker, introduce her to the Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus, the latest incarnation of the super-popular Instant Pot Duo series. It features over 20 new enhancements, including increased speed and ease of use. It’s also the most customizable, with 48 presets for things like soups, beans, ribs, and rice to take the guesswork out of cooking. That makes it ideal for both first-time Instant Pot users and experienced owners alike.
29. An Upscale Version of Her Favorite Board Game
If your mom is into family game night, she’ll appreciate an upgraded version of her favorite board game. Even better, it’s an excuse for some extra mom-child bonding time, which is arguably the better gift.
Alternatively, introduce your mom to a brand-new game. The Game Crafter features games from independent makers, so you’ll be able to find her something fun to try while supporting indie designers. You can even give her the option to design her own game. If you go that route, set her up with a gift certificate so she can choose the game components (game board, pieces, and dice) that work for her.
30. Luxury Sleepwear
If there’s one thing every overtired mom appreciates, it’s a good night’s rest. Help her get some by giving her some luxury sleepwear. Ugg, the same company that makes cozy and comfortable footwear, makes equally comfy robes and pajama sets.
But Pajamagram boasts the “world’s softest flannel” pajamas, and they come in matching family pajama sets for those Christmas morning family photos. And for the ultimate in comfort, go with the Softies Snuggle lounger. The ultra-soft stretch velour tunic is a mashup of a hooded sweatshirt, bathrobe, and blanket, and that makes it the perfect attire for snuggling up with a Christmas book. Or opt for the Softies Marshmallow slouch turtleneck lounger, which made Oprah’s Favorite Things list for 2020. It’s equally wearable as cozy sleepwear or a sweater Mom can pair with leggings or jeans.
Christmas Gift Ideas Over $100
This budget category opens the field to a wide array of luxury gifts — everything from spa days to vacations to high-end jewelry — that are both practical and wow-worthy.
31. A Spa Day
Instead of just one treatment, splurge on a whole spa day complete with a facial, body massage, foot massage, manicure, and pedicure. If you have a spa in mind, buy a package from them. If you’re not sure which one your mom would prefer, give her a Spafinder gift card, which is good at thousands of locations.
32. An E-reader Loaded With Her Favorite Books
For the book-loving mom, the new Kindle Paperwhite is the thinnest and lightest Kindle to date, and it’s waterproof and glare-free — perfect for reading in the tub or on the beach. For a special treat, preload it with some of her favorite books.
For a real splurge, an iPad will let Mom do more than just read. It lets her do things like play games, write, draw, and watch recipe tutorials. The Apple iPad Pro is thin, lightweight, and perfect on the go, whether she’s headed to work or on a coffee date. And it does all this while still letting her collect her favorite books. Just note that the iPad isn’t glare-resistant or waterproof like the Paperwhite.
33. Photography Equipment
The Nikon D5600 DSLR camera takes sharp photos shutterbug moms will be proud to display. Thanks to the camera’s powerful tools and features, her pictures will look amazing — whether taken in a bright, sunny park or a dark school theater.
If she spends a lot of money having prints made, the Bluetooth-enabled Kodak Smile instant digital printer lets her skip the pricey services — and the wait — and print directly from her smartphone. The Polaroid Pop instant-print digital camera does the same, but it also doubles as a camera.
And for the mom who has a bunch of old print photos in storage, the Epson Perfection V600 color scanner transforms photos, slides, negatives, and medium-format panoramic film into digital files so she can preserve her precious memories for a lifetime.
34. A Crafting Kit
If Mom’s the crafting type, get her the Cricut Explore Air 2 Wild Rose Bundle. It comes with the Explore Air 2 machine, which cuts and writes two times faster than previous Cricut models. And it can cut over 100 different materials, including card stock, vinyl, glitter paper, cork, bonded fabric, and iron transfers. Mom can use it to turn her computer-made designs into greeting cards, custom T-shirts, tote bags, home decor, mugs, insulated tumblers, artwork, and personalized labels. Plus, it comes with 40 pieces of vinyl — including 10 premium sheets, two scoring tools, and predesigned templates, so Mom can immediately start crafting.
If Mom enjoys designing her own leather accessories, like handbags and belts, get her a set of leatherworking tools. The leatherworking set from Mayboos comes with stamping tools, a snaps-and-rivets kit, a cutting mat, a hammer, a hole punch, an adjustable edge creaser, an edge cutter, and a leather repair kit — 447 tools altogether — with a tool holder to organize them. You can also use the tools to work with paper and fabric, including tough fabrics like canvas and denim.
Or go with a diamond painting kit. Diamond painting is a relatively new craft that Paint With Diamonds calls a cross between cross-stitch and paint-by-numbers. She’ll be able to create her own artistic masterwork, even if she doesn’t have painting skills. The kit comes with a canvas, resin diamonds, and point-drill tools for applying them — enough to create a huge 31.5-inch-by-86.5-inch mural to adorn her walls.
35. Luxury Bedding
If your mom would appreciate a whole new level of coziness, treat her to some comfy bedding. A weighted blanket is at the top of many a gift list this year. A 2015 Swedish study cited by Psychology Today found weighted blankets help those with insomnia sleep better. A weighted blanket mimics the feeling of being held, so it makes you feel safe and secure enough to drift off to sleep.
Or give Mom some high-end bedding. Parachute’s signature set is made of 100% Egyptian cotton, so it’s lightweight and breathable to keep her cool at night. Plus, it’s Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified, meaning it surpasses the highest standards for manufacturing without harmful chemicals and synthetics.
36. A Cleaning Service
If Mom’s usually the one who hosts all your idealistic family gatherings, she’s likely to appreciate a house she doesn’t have to clean more than just about anything else. Give her a chance to unwind and put her feet up with the gift of a professional housecleaning. A Groupon search reveals multiple deals, which vary based on your location.
37. Noise-Canceling Headphones
What mom doesn’t occasionally need the peace and quiet the best noise-canceling headphones provide? Bose’s noise-canceling headphones have garnered rave reviews. They’re Bluetooth- and Alexa-enabled, so no matter how busy she is, Mom can listen to her favorite tunes or podcasts with a voice command to Alexa.
If Siri controls your mom’s smart home, opt for the AirPods Pro noise-canceling wireless earbuds. They’re smaller than the original AirPods, with three interchangeable tip sizes for a customizable fit. Plus, they have a longer battery life and are water-resistant.
38. At-Home Fitness Equipment
Mom life rarely leaves enough time for hitting the gym, but it’s easier to squeeze in a workout if she’s got the equipment at home. A Peloton bike lets Mom spin-bike while following along to studio classes on the built-in screen.
If your mom prefers to keep her feet on the ground, check out the Nordic Track Commercial X22i. The treadmill comes with a video screen that lets her virtually walk or run trails all over the world. Or she can stream studio fitness classes with instructors who adjust her speed and incline to go along with their lessons in real time. Plus, she can stream strength-training or yoga classes to follow in front of her treadmill.
The Mirror Home Gym is another machine loaded with features for moms who like to stay fit. It gives you the feel of participating in a group class from the comfort of your home by streaming unlimited fitness classes, from cardio and strength training to yoga and kickboxing. It also lets Mom interact with others through a message board it displays. It keeps track of her vitals, allows her to check her form, and even suggests alternative moves if she needs something different due to an injury. Best of all, it won’t take up much space. It hangs on her wall, and when turned off, it reverts to a regular mirror. And it made the list of Oprah’s Favorite Things for 2020.
Or let Mom get all her stress out with a more budget option — an at-home kickboxing set from 9Round. Piece together everything she needs with a stand-alone reflex bag, a pair of boxing gloves, training (punch) mitts, and wrist wraps. Then direct her to 9Round’s YouTube channel to learn how to use the equipment. She’ll be able to work out all the pent-up aggression she’s been building during the year in 30 minutes or less.
39. A Meal Subscription Service
Moms who enjoy cooking but are short on time always welcome a little extra help in the kitchen. A meal subscription service like HelloFresh allows Mom to skip the prep and get straight to cooking delicious meals. For the mom whose mornings are the most chaotic part of the day, Daily Harvest delivers her delicious ready-to-blend smoothies full of nutritious superfoods.
If she prefers quality organic ingredients, a subscription to Farm Fresh to You delivers organic produce directly to her door.
40. A Dream Trip
Many parents surprise their kids with trips to Disney World as holiday gifts. So why not return the favor and give your mom a dream trip to somewhere she’s always wanted to go? And even if it could be a while before she gets to take that dream trip to Tahiti or the French countryside, a gift card to Airbnb keeps for later since it has no expiration date. Plus, she can use it at thousands of locations all over the world.
Gift-giving is challenging, whether for Mom or anyone else on your list. But there’s nothing quite like the feeling of picking a present someone truly loves. That’s why we put so much time, thought, and energy into it — including stressing about how much to spend.
Regardless of what you’re planning to get Mom this year, the best gifts have two traits in common: They’re personal to the recipient, and they come from the heart. And those kinds of gifts could fall into any budget range.