Uncommon Mother’s Day Gifts

What do you give for Mother’s Day? Let me rephrase that: what can you give for Mother’s Day?

What can you give to the person who made you? What combination of tchotchkes conveys thanks for years of love, support, and nurturing? What do you give someone responsible for your existence?

Do you give a gift card? A spa day? Breakfast in bed? All decent, all wrong. You don’t give your mother a present for Mother’s Day. You give your mother a gift for her.

The art of gift-giving is all about catering the gift to the giftee. The thought behind a present is just as important as the present itself. To properly celebrate your mother and express the full depth of your appreciation for her, consider some unconventional options rarely seen at malls or on Amazon.

For the Cooks

Our mothers were the first to nurture and feed us. Many continue to do so well after our birth. Many unique, perfectly affordable items are available for culinary mothers.

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A steel pot with white enamel. This piece would be excellent for stews and soups.

Enameled steelware is a reliable addition to any kitchen. This little piece of culinary knowledge I learned from my mother. The versatility of these pieces is unmatched. They are equally capable of frying chicken and braising veal shanks. I’ve even started using my enameled pot for mulled wine around the holidays.

The wonderful thing about enameled pieces is that they require very little maintenance and can stand up to anything short of a gunshot. So even if your mother is no Gordon Ramsay, she would be hard-pressed to ruin a quality enameled pot.

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A full set of china complete with bowls, plates, gravy boats, and teacups.

For mothers who may be more interested in entertaining, a unique vintage china set can be a showstopping centerpiece for any casual gathering. The wonderful thing about china is that it’s a diverse category.

Some china features simple but beautiful designs. Others feature complex landscapes and action shots, capturing a mountain range or family at a picnic. The range of vintage china available allows even the most uninformed children to find the perfect set for their mother.

Something a Little Unexpected

Before internet streaming, movies took over American culture like a pandemic: they diffused virally across the country and dominated conversations for weeks.

People felt a solid connection to what they watched and obsessed over the actors. Don’t believe me? Ask your mom for her opinion on Clark Gable. Then, when she’s done, come back to this page and admit you were wrong before continuing.

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A one-sheet poster from the film, Gone with the Wind (1939).

Vintage movie posters, lobby cards, and window cards are incredible display pieces that are often found with surprising ease. Some of the depicted scenes are iconic, such as this poster from Gone with the Wind (1939) with Vivien Leigh swooning in Clark Gable’s arms.

The real beauty of this gift is that it’s often unexpected. Your mother is probably expecting some cookware, maybe some clothes, or a piece of jewelry. But an original poster from Pretty Woman (1990), the movie she loved decades ago? Now that shows you love and know her.

For Mom and the Kids

Many of us have been in the position where our mothers want to spend time with us. Puzzles and board games are an affordable, heartfelt way of fulfilling this specific wish.

Vintage puzzles provide a unique flair to this timeless time killer. But be careful! Some of these sets might be delicate after so many years in storage. Regardless, it’s fun to explore these pieces by partnering with a parent and exploring the image soon to be assembled.

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A vintage version of Monopoly from 1935, complete with rules and pieces.

Board games can often bridge the generational divide between parents and children. While each generation has its favorites (remember this bizarre game?), a few holdovers have managed to find their way to every corner of a family tree. Of course, Monopoly is always popular, and the board game’s vintage varieties and special editions are almost never-ending.

Since Mother’s Day is a spring holiday, you could always buy a lawn game instead. Old school lawn darts, horseshoes, or a badminton set can lead to hours of enjoyment with the family.

Dangers and Opportunities in Clothing

Clothing is a controversial suggestion. Many people will tell you they’d rather receive nothing than a piece of ill-fitting clothing. When it comes to items like coats, blouses, or dresses, it’s vital to know your mother’s measurements before purchasing. Even then, some people have particular tastes and can be difficult to buy for.

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A great-looking Pucci-esque scarf.

However, accessories or “comfy clothes” like sweaters are a safer option. If you know your mother’s fashion, but don’t know her size, consider gifting her something less size-reliant such as a scarf or cardigan. Scarves, in particular, are an increasingly popular accessory, particularly in the spring and fall when the weather is mild enough to dress fashionably but not so warm as to make wearing a scarf uncomfortable.

Many people are tired of the same cookie-cutter jewelry options. Now, jewelry doesn’t necessarily have to break your bank account. Sure, a diamond tennis bracelet is fine (and quite expensive). But, if your mother has unique tastes or is looking for something not seen every day, consider a piece of Bakelite jewelry. These pieces are durable, often affordable, and come in various colors and designs. The lovely thing about gifting a Bakelite piece is that it’s unexpected. It shows that you went out of your way to show your mother you care and put in the effort to find something special for her.

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A lot of Bakelite earrings and bracelets showcasing the possible diversity of these pieces.

Call Your Mother

Regardless of your choice in gifts, remember that Mother’s Day is meant to celebrate your mom. It is the time to dig deep and think hard about what would best show you love and understand her.

While your mother will always cherish the crooked little mug you made in kindergarten, it never hurts to show some extra effort now that you can afford to. So take the time, consider your options, and make a plan for securing your best Mother’s Day present yet.

Jack Rose is an Associate Editor for WorthPoint. Jack provides show notes for our Flip It and Skip It Podcast and contributes to the WorthPoint blog and Dictionary pages. Jack graduated from Auburn University in 2019.

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