10 Last minute and low cost Mother's Day gifts

Here are 10 gift ideas that will not break the bank and can be put together with little time. Photo: Cynthia B via Flickr

SILVER SPRING, MD, May 11, 2013 – Sometimes Mother’s Day can creep up on you, and before you know it you are panicking about what gift to get.  Other times the budget just is not there to get the gift that she really deserves. Here are some low-cost gifts that can be put together last minute to show Mom she is appreciated.

Time to herself

Moms are busy. They were many hats, and most of their time is dedicated to other people. So why not give mom a break? Take the kids for a day, so she can have a day off. Give her the time to pursue whatever she wants and make sure there are no unwanted interruptions. If Mom wants the day to go shopping, then make sure the car is not in the shop.

If she want to stay at home and garden, followed by lounging in the tub with a good book, make sure the kids are out of the house so there is not competition for the bathroom or soccer balls rolling through her plants. 

One last tip, do not make Mother’s Day the day she gets off. This should be a separate day. A date that is agreed on in advance so that she can makes plans if she so chooses.

A weekend of sleeping in                             

For moms with young kids, sleeping in is a true luxury. Little ones are frequently early birds and one they are awake, there is no convincing them they should go back to bed. That can mean Mom is up early seven days a week corralling kids who have gotten a full night’s rest regardless of how many hours of sleep she has gotten.  

Any sleep deprived mom will cherish the opportunity to have a morning to sleep in, but an entire weekend of sleeping in is gift gold. If you can slip out of bed in the morning before she has been roused by the kids and let her wake up to the surprise of a clock that has ticked past her normal time, all the better.

However, if you are a sound sleeper and are afraid you will not hear the kids first, or if she will still beat you out of bed, announce your intentions beforehand.  That way, when Mom hears the first sounds of a waking child she can nudge you out of bed.

A surprise girls’ night out

Mom may have a routine with her girlfriends. Maybe they arrange playdates so they can hang out, maybe they work out sporadic nights out when they can arrange kids-free time. Maybe Mom has not seen her girlfriends in a long time due to distance or schedules, etc. 

If she is a social butterfly, then try to contact the significant others of the rest of her social circle to pre-arrange a night when all “the girls” will be free. Then let Mom and her friends make their plans with the knowledge that there is no schedule juggling to be done.

Mix tape or playlist 

This may seem like a cheesy thing from your high school days, but do not think cassette tape filled with sappy love-songs. Rather, put together a playlist that includes some of her new favorites, as well as a few favorites from specific points in her life, and then include a track or two of her kids singing. This can be something that give her on a CD, or maybe load it onto her mp3 player to surprise her.

Homemade photo album

With how simple it is to take photos on our phones these days, not to mention regular digital cameras, people have far more photos of everyday moments than they did when there was the cost of film as well as printing the photos. Today we have the advantage of being able to shoot photos almost anytime and anywhere, with the instant results displayed on our screens. So why not scour the computer (and maybe her phone) for all the great photos of the memorable moments from the past year and turn them into a gift. Photo albums come in a number of shapes.

You can get them preprinted and bound, you can buy one that you put the developed prints into, you can make one with your kids out of construction paper, you can create an online photo album through a photo-share site, or you can create a new album for your digital picture frame.  Anyway you choose to go, mom will love having a visual reminder of the best of the last year.

Clean the house

In some homes the chores are split 50-50, in some maids do some of the basic cleaning, other moms dos the majority of the housework herself. Regardless of the percentage of routing cleaning tasks mom has on her plate, she will enjoy having a week where she will not have to do every single one of them.

Try to tackle the chores she dislikes the most first, and try to do as many as possible.

Personalized goody basket

This is a twist on the gift baskets you can order from any number of online retailers, but the benefit here is that you can do it for a fraction of the cost and really tailor the contents to her preferences. If she is a foodie, fill a basket with treats  from a gourmet store. If she is a chocoholic, put all her favorites together. You can also veer away from food. If she is a knitter, buy a couple balls of specialty yarn, or tubes and packets of beads for the beader.

What about a coffee sample basket for brewing new flavors at home?  Really, you can turn any of her interests or likes into a gift basket. You can buy a new basket, use one that is already around the house, or skip the basket all together and go with a bag, or some other container.  Remember, bonus points if the bag can actually be used long-term for storing or organizing the gift items.

Personalized goody baskets can be made of and contain anything. Fill a container with her favorite foods or hobby supplies for a personalized gift. Photo by LollyKnit.

In-home movie night

Every couple has movies that one wants to see and the other does not, and for most couples that means no one sees those movies. That is usually because there is a limited number of movie-date nights available. Aside from the outrageous cost of movie tickets these days, if you have kids there is the baby sitter fee as well. A movie that may only be a $10 ticket suddenly becomes a $50 night out, and that is only if you go straight to the theater and back with no concessions.  

So, make sure the last movie that she really wanted to see but did not get to is sitting on the DVD player waiting for her. Whether you purchase it or ensure that is at the top of your rental queue so it arrives on time is up to you.

Do not forget to have all her favorite movie concession treats ready as well, and then sit and watch the movie with her.  She will appreciate the gesture, and you may even wind up liking the movie.

Cook for the day

This only works if you can cook. If you cannot, you may want to make a gesture with a simple brunch, but order in for dinner. Start with preparing brunch. That is right, brunch, not breakfast in bed. Breakfast is way too early, she should be sleeping through breakfast. 

Secondly, while breakfast in bed sounds like a grand romantic idea, eating in bed can be difficult and not always very comfortable. Third, if you have young children, the idea of serving mom breakfast in bed will be too

much for them to resist, and mom will be woken early and eating with an audience. That being said, if you know mom does love having her eggs delivered on a tray, go for it.  Dinner should be her favorite, or the closest you can manage. While cooking for her will garner you points, if you are truly lost in a kitchen enlist some help.

Older children may be able to help prepare a meal, or arrange for carryout from her favorite restaurant. After mom has enjoyed the meal, do not forget to do the dishes!

Cook for Mom, but let her sleep. To let her stay in bed, brunch is a better option than breakfast. Photo by Gloria Cabada-Leman.

Complete the “honey-do” list

There is the to-do list, and then there is the “honey-do” list. These are the things that you are expected to do. The tasks may range from something as simple as changing the switchplate in the bathroom, to something more complex, like remulching the from gardens.  Whatever the case, the honey-do list is an ever-growing entity, so completing it may seem like an impossible task.

But even if you cannot cross off every last item, do you best to get as many of them done as possible. For extra bang, start with the ones you have been putting off the longest and bother her the most. Once you get those out of the way, you will feel better because they are no longer looming over your head, and Mom will be happy and may not even notice if every single item is not finished.

Just because you do not spend a lot of money, does not mean that Mom will not love her gift. Try a few of these suggestions, and you may find that Mom is even happier than if you had broken the bank to buy the latest and greatest. But do not forget the card!

Follow Brighid on Twitter a @BrighidMoret and receive updates when new columns post on Facebook or Google+. She also writes picture book reviews at Big Reads For Little Hands.

Read more about first time parenting issues in Parenting the First Time Through at The Communities at The Washington Times.


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Brighid Moret

Brighid is a freelance writer and first time mother.  She holds an MA in Writing from Johns Hopkins University.  Find her on Facebook @Brighid Moret

 

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