Gone are the days when my sister and I would “sneak” to the kitchen with my dad on that special Sunday morning and make mom a special breakfast (usually involving very cold toast and on one memorable occasion mixing tea and coffee together because “they smell nice”). Nowadays I tend to forget that it’s coming up and have to scramble a week beforehand to figure something out.
My mom is a very practical woman. She loves to buy gifts for other people, but when asked what she would like for any occasion she always replies that she can buy something for herself if she wants to. She doesn’t want us spending our money on her when it could be put to better use. I really appreciate that, especially as someone who is trying to work her way towards FIRE, but I always want to get my mom something. She worked hard her whole life and deserves to be recognized for everything that she’s done for me and my sister. Below is a list of things that I have gifted her over the past couple of years that she has truly appreciated.
- Homemade body scrubs. A little bit of coconut oil, some sugar and essential oils to scent. Shove it in a nice jar and put a nice bow on it.
- A handwritten note. I spent a lot of time thinking about all the things I wanted to tell my mom, and felt that truly the best way to do it was to write it. She has told me this was one of her favourite gifts to ever receive.
- Plants. She absolutely loves plants, whether for her garden or inside the house . It looks like a jungle half the time, but she always manages to make room for new additions.
- Specialty coffee and tea.
- Printed photos. She has an awesome collection of photo albums, but all of them end around 2006, the time we got our first digital camera and stopped printing negatives. In a way I like not having to print all the photos, as it seems more eco friendly not to, but being able to choose the best ones and make a photo collage or mini album seems well worth it.
- Different currency. My mom and dad love to travel and are making their way around the world. If I know where they are going close to gifting time then I can give cold hard cash with a twist.
- Socks. Never underestimate anyone’s need for a good pair of socks.
- New and obscure recipes. Copy them out or print them in an attractive format – my mom’s a wizard in the kitchen and loves trying new things.
Those have all been very well received and I feel are a bit more thoughtful than a last minute candle from the drug store. My whole family has reached the stage where we want to avoid giving meaningless stuff, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want to exchange gifts. It takes a little bit more thought and imagination, but it feels good watching it being unwrapped (from newspaper or recyclable wrapping paper – eco friendly gifts, people!).
However, far and away the best gift that both my parents love is quality time together. That might mean taking them out for a meal, a baseball game, walking around the Botanical Gardens, finding a new trail, or any other activities you can think of. Setting aside a whole day to be with my mom has produced some of the best memories we have with each other. If you can’t think of anything thoughtful to get your mother for this upcoming weekend, plan to spend the day with her. She probably thinks it’s the best.