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 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.
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 (APS) 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. And some of the most cherished mom gifts are homemade ones that cost less than $20.
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” bookmark by drawing with Sharpies and dripping rubbing alcohol onto their art. Get the full directions at Happy Hooligans.
2. A Mom-Centric Mug or Tea Cup
For an extra-special touch, opt for handmade. Make a pretty marbled mug by purchasing an inexpensive white cup from the dollar store and dipping it in nail polish. Find the full instructions on Babble.
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
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. The “Harry Potter” coloring books are my favorite, but the #MomLife adult coloring book allows moms to laugh at the parenting struggles only moms understand. Pair it with a set of adult coloring pencils for a complete gift that’s still under budget.
4. A DIY Bath Set
If you can’t afford to buy mom a luxury spa day, give her the gift of some well-deserved R&R with some homemade beauty treatments.
Bath salts and scrubs are easy to make and inexpensive. For bath salts, buy an economy-size bag of Epsom salts and mix some with one or more essential oils. Lavender is always a safe bet. For body scrubs, mix sugar with a nourishing body oil like almond oil and an essential oil, like peppermint oil for a candy cane scent. Pour it into a glass jar and tie on a pretty ribbon for decoration.
5. Handmade Jewelry
Moms appreciate handmade jewelry no matter the age of the gift-giver. This craft is all about the beads themselves, so your jewelry will be as pretty as the beads you choose. Visit a craft store like Michaels to buy supplies individually or purchase a DIY jewelry kit on Etsy.
To get kids in on the action, make a shrinky bracelet. Let the kids color abstract designs with Sharpies on a No. 6 plastic container – the kind found at your grocer’s salad bar. Then cut small rectangles about 1.5 by 1.75 inches out of the decorated plastic. Punch holes in each corner with a standard-size hole punch, and then round the corners with scissors. Bake the squares in a 350-degree F oven for just a few minutes. They will curl and then flatten out. Then attach the “beads” to each other using 6-millimeter jump rings, which are available at your local craft store, and attach a lobster clasp for closure.
Get the full instructions at Rust & Sunshine.
6. A Handmade Bowl
Give Mom a place to keep the jewelry she already has – a handmade bowl. Spray a small oven-safe glass bowl with cooking spray and drop in a handful of Perler beads. Let the kids push and stack them around the inside of the bowl until they form a single layer going up the sides. Then bake it at 375 degrees F for 12 to 14 minutes. As the plastic melts, the beads fuse to make a finished bowl that looks like a piece of art.
Find full instructions at Meaningful Mama.
Alternatively, make Mom a bowl out of clay. Roll out some air-hardening modeling clay, and then form the clay around the outside of a small bowl until the clay makes a bowl shape. Remove the clay from the bowl, and leave it out to dry for a day or two. Then paint it with acrylic paints.
Find full instructions are on Frogs Snails and Puppy Dog Tails.
7. A DIY Painted Pouch
If Mom needs a place to stow her makeup or other handbag essentials, a pouch displaying her kids’ artwork, a photograph, or another cherished print will make her smile every time she uses it.
To use kid’s artwork, photograph it or scan it into a computer. To make the pouch, print the artwork, photograph, or other print on iron-on transfer paper. Then peel the backing from the transfer paper and iron it onto a canvas pouch.
Find full instructions on Parents Magazine.
8. Refrigerator Magnets
Refrigerator magnets are another way to make gifts out of a child’s art or a cherished photograph. Plus, they’re practical. They help Mom keep track of all the important stuff she puts on the refrigerator, like her shopping list or reminders. Simply upload an image to Shutterfly for a budget-friendly way to preserve a treasured memory.
Or make beautiful glass magnets using a magnet kit. Draw or paint abstract designs on paper and cut 1-inch circles with a circle punch. Then use Mod Podge to glue the art to the glass. Once it’s dry, use super glue to attach a magnet to the back. Use the same process to make magnets from photographs.
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 will always be able to 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
The best gift I ever gave my mom – according to my mom – 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” will help. Simply fill in the blanks to give mom a one-of-a-kind memory book. Or try a mom-specific letter writing kit.
Gift Ideas From $21 – $50
Even though there are plenty of great 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 a mom’s interests, like cooking or yoga, 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 rank 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 eight-piece organic and vegan bath bomb set from Aprilis features relaxing scents like lavender, rose, and jasmine.
- Candles. The hidden crystal candle from UncommonGoods will help Mom relax, and it comes with a crystal she can keep after the candle is burned down.
- Essential Oils. The Asakuki essential oil diffuser will help her diffuse the soothing aromas of an essential oil set.
- 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 Rest & Relaxation spa set from Gift Tree comes packed with goodies to help Mom create an at-home spa experience at a relatively low price.
If you can afford something pricier if the cost is spread out month to month, help 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 sites 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 kids’ 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 a variety of 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 voted the No. 1 yoga mat for 2019 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.
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.
Remind her she’s your superhero with a stylish Wonder Woman bag. Or ensure she can easily cart all her essentials with a Baggallini laptop backpack. If she’s more the designer bag type, keep an eye on Zulily for flash sales. But keep in mind that even on sale, a designer bag can be budget-busting.
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 Cleaning Service
After hosting the holidays, Mom’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 on two or more hours of cleaning in this budget category.
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 bells and whistles of the Versa smartwatch, 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 member of the family – even the family pet – for a sweet portrait Mom will love. Or have MyLittleBuffalo create a custom printable portrait.
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. An Updated Coffee Brewer
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.
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.
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 pajamas.
Pajamagram boasts the “world’s softest flannel” pajamas, and they come in matching family sets for those Christmas morning family photos. And for the ultimate in comfort, Oprah Winfrey chose Eberjey pajamas as her pick for “world’s softest” on her 2018 Favorite Things List.
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 Spa Finder gift card, which is good at thousands of locations.
32. An eReader 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 High-End Kitchen Appliance
The Ninja Foodi is a powerhouse multicooker that pressure cooks, slow cooks, air-fries, sears, bakes, broils, steams, and dehydrates. It’s the ideal all-in-one device for moms who love to experiment with different cooking techniques.
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 to be helpful for those struggling with insomnia. 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. The signature set from Parachute 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.
High-end jewelry lets Mom show off her style with a wearable gift that reminds her of you. A necklace featuring her kids’ birthstones is an elegant way to showcase her mom status. Or surprise her with a classic pair of diamond earrings.
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. A Home Fitness Machine
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.
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.
If she’s got the cooking under control, treat her to a wine club subscription so she always has a bottle of exceptional wine to pair with her meal.
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? Try an all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean, a cruise to Tahiti, or even a guided tour of the French countryside – and bonus points if you go with her!
Even if your budget doesn’t allow for sending Mom to Paris for seven days and six nights, a day trip somewhere closer to home – as long as it’s somewhere Mom’s always wanted to go – is still a special gift.
Gift-giving is tough, 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.
What are you giving your mom this year? If you are a mom, what do you want for Christmas?