On Sunday, May 8th, we will celebrate the 100th official Mother’s Day. Once a year, mothers across the country are recognized as the most important people on the planet and even though any mother will say it’s the thought that counts, you and I both know that’s not how it really works.
Buying something for Mom can be tricky, especially if you stick with the same song and dance routine year after year. Sometimes, traditional is the best way to go but you never want Mom to know what she’s getting before you give it to her. To help you out this year, we’ve compiled a list of 20 great Mother’s Day gift ideas for under $50. The beauty of this list is that you’ll find a little bit of traditional mixed with a few outside the box ideas.
A Nice Floral Arrangement – Probably the most common of all the Mother’s Day gifts, a nice vase or bouquet of flowers can really brighten up mom’s day. There are dozens of reputable flower delivery outfits, like 1800 Flowers, ProFlowers.com and JustFlowers.com that will deliver a fresh, uniquely designed arrangement of flowers for under $50. Make sure you order a few days ahead of time because next day shipping can bring the total cost of your gift well over the $50 mark.
Candles, Incense, or Potpourri – If you’re looking for a gift that keeps on giving, you can find inexpensive scented candles, incense or potpourri. Mom will also love the added decor element they bring to a home and there’s no better way for her to remember your gift than to smell it everyday.
Chocolates – Rounding out the standard gift giving ideas, mothers love chocolate. Milk, dark and white chocolate comes in a variety of additional flavors and shapes and even though this gift isn’t original, it’s a crowd-pleaser. If you’re looking to get fancy, a mix of numbers 1,2 and 3 gives great variety.
Schedule a Day for the Family – The reason that mom is so great is because of the sacrifices she makes for her family and if you can schedule it, a family activity is something she will always remember. Whether it’s a trip to a theme park or just the local park, mom will love it all the same.
Take a Family Portrait – This one is kind of difficult to keep a surprise but when you tell your mother that you’re organizing a family picture, she’ll pitch in to help you out. One thing I regret is not having more pictures with my family, so make sure you work this gift idea in at least once in your Mother’s Day gift giving life.
Give Mom a Day Off – When you add up the time it takes to cook, clean and maintain a home, it’s a full time job with overtime and then some. Offer to take care of everything, at least for one day and let Mom sit on the couch and watch T.V. or spend all day in bed.
Hand-Make Mom a Bird House – This gift idea is usually reserved for smaller children but if you’re good with your hands, it would be a shame not to use it to your advantage. Every mother needs a bird house or a spice rack and if it comes from you, she’ll love it even more.
Pampering – This is the most expensive item on our list but it’s one that mom will certainly love. Manicures, pedicures, facials, massages … the list goes on and on of the things you can buy. Book her an appointment at the spa because she needs a day to relax! You may have to couple this gift in with giving Mom a full day off, so make sure you leave a day open for her to enjoy your gift.
Breakfast in Bed – If you live with your mother or are close enough to stop by early in the morning for a surprise, breakfast in bed can be a welcomed surprise. Stick with the basics of pancakes, waffles, eggs, toast and orange juice unless you know she’ll love something else and I promise you it will make her day.
A Thoughtful Card – Okay, so this may not be the greatest gift idea you’ve ever seen but if you can take the time and write something from the heart, a greeting card can stand alone. Feel free to buy a card that has humor written on the inside but there’s a reason that one side is always left blank. Sit down, take out your pen and think about all of the reasons why you’re celebrating Mother’s Day. In just five minutes, you’ll have enough ideas to write a book, let alone a greeting card.
A Cooking Class – If your mom loves to cook, this is ideal. With the variety of cooking schools and different classes to choose from, this could be an perfect gift for a mom who cant stay out of the kitchen. Indian, Italian, and healthy eating are only a few of the newest additions to cooking classes. This is a lovely way for mom to spend an evening or an afternoon and the skills that she takes away can be used long after the class is over. It would be doubly nice to tell her closest girlfriend what you are planning in case she is interested in joining. Simply check out the cooking classes available in your area and sign her up.
Personalize A Gift – Personalized gifts can go from simple to lavish. No matter what the price, personalized gifts are always thoughtful and classy. A personalized key chain with your mom’s initials or beautiful frame, or even some monogrammed towels that she can take to the gym is a sure fire way to make her smile. For a mom that loves to write letters, personalized stationery is an excellent idea. You can choose the type of stationery, color and style of personalization. This is sure to wow her and be very useful.
Gift Certificates – Some people think that gift certificates are impersonal, but they can actually be an ideal way to let the gift recipient choose something that she actually wants. For instance, a gift certificate to your mom’s favorite restaurant or beauty counter at the mall. Mom will then have the ability to enjoy the gift based on her own schedule and needs. Or what about a gift certificate to the local movies theater? One $50 gift certificate will allow mom and perhaps even a friend of her choice go to the movies whenever she wants. The great thing about gift certificates is that they can be personal while still giving the recipient some discretion over what they ultimately buy/purchase.
An Afternoon with Mom – Sometimes all a mother wants is time with her child which is so difficult to get when everyone is on their own schedule and running around. Offering to spend the afternoon with your mom could be just what the Doctor ordered. Tell her you are happy to do anything she wants whether that means taking a nice walk, going to lunch or to the movies, getting manicures and pedicures together. The main point is to just be together and talk. This gift is free and priceless at the same time.
Volunteer Together – Is your mom passionate about a specific cause or charity? If she is, mother’s day can be a great time to join her in giving back to an organization of her choice. Perhaps she is fond of helping the homeless or finding homes for animals or even fighting breast cancer. Whatever her interest, offer to take part in an activity with her. This way, you can see what interests your mom and at the same time give back together.
Do It Yourself – Use mother’s day an an excuse to unleash your inner artist. Write mom a poem, one that is heartfelt or draw something for her and frame it. Your local craft store is bound to have a bunch of ideas that you can implement. You can even visit a local do-it-yourself pottery store and create a vase or a decorative object for the home from clay. The store will ensure the object is baked in the kiln and even let you paint and decorate afterward. Your mom will have a permanent reminder of your craftsmanship for all time.
A Camera – Most mom’s want to capture memories. What better way to facilitate this then to buy her a camera. As time passes and technology develops, cameras have become less expensive. Although $50 may not purchase a top of the line digital camera, dad is bound to chip in or a gift certificate to an electronics store will help your mom with the big purchase. This way, she can capture family outings and memorable events.
A Family Tree – Take some time to research your family and your ancestors, where they came from, etc. There are now a variety of websites which help you trace your family roots like Ancestry.com and MyHeritage.com. You can even go as far as to find your ancestors signature in the books of Ellis Island. Presenting your mom with a family tree and family artifacts is sure to touch her heart. Alternatively, this could be an activity you do together as you may need your mom’s help in your search. One great idea is creating a PBS Style documentary about your family or your mother. While the time may be short for this year, having a documentary made for your mom is an excellent Mother’s Day gift idea. Family Voice Media, a company based in New York, makes documentary films about families and ancestors. This gift will take some planning so keep it in your archives.
A Coupon Book – This gift works well for kids and husbands. Create a coupon book with “coupons” Mom can redeem for things such as cleaning your room, washing dishes, vacuuming, or even a massage. This way, you can feel as if you’ve added your own personal touch to the gift and given mom the opportunity to use her gifts at some time in the future.
Put On a Show – This is an ideal gift for much younger children who like to entertain and have a special talent. Do you like to dance, play an instrument, sing, do stand-up comedy? Nothing makes a mom more proud than seeing her child do something that he /she is good at. Set up a room in the family home for a special performance, print a program guide, seat the audience and go to town. This is guaranteed to warm your mother’s heart.
Mother’s deserve the absolute best that money can buy but sometimes, there just isn’t any money to spend. While the lack of money can be a real obstacle in buying a Mother’s Day gift, you shouldn’t let it get in the way of showing mom just how much you care. Waiting until the last second to shop for mom on Mother’s day can be extremely stressful and extremely pricey, especially if you’re ordering online. This year, make sure you get a head start and pick out one of the ideas on our list of 20 Great Mother’s Day Gift Ideas Under $50.
For those looking for even more great Mother’s Day gift ideas, be sure to check out Amazon.com and their Mother’s Day gift page.
Published or updated October 28, 2012.