15 Mother’s Day gifts for moms who don’t want more stuff
Show your love without creating clutter.
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When searching for the perfect Mother’s Day gift, it’s tempting to go right for the tchotchkes. It’s not hard to see why: Years of exposure to Mother’s Day displays at department stores has taught us that there is nothing a mom yearns for more than a curio or trinket, such as flower-shaped coasters, terracotta candle holders, or a Cathy mug. Not to mention, there is some satisfaction in handing your mother a physical, nicely wrapped package (though no doubt not as nicely as if she’d done it herself).
For some moms, such items can make lovely presents. But maybe your mom isn’t really into physical goods this year. She may already have enough things to last a lifetime, or perhaps she’s done the Marie Kondo process, tossing everything that doesn’t “spark joy”—and although any gift from her beloved child is sure to bring some happiness, it may be best not to risk it. Besides, not all gifts need to take up a lot of space to make an impact. For your consideration:
1. A Disney+ subscription for 24/7 entertainment
This mega-popular streaming service is not just for kids. Disney has a stake in a lot of popular franchises, so its streaming service carries a wide range of movies and TV shows that people of all ages can enjoy, including The Simpsons, most Marvel and Star Wars movies (plus some spinoff shows from those series, including The Mandalorian), and musicals like The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins. You can also find both versions of classic kids’ movies that were remade later—like The Parent Trap and That Darn Cat—so you can compare the versions from her youth and yours.
2. A digital reading subscription to give books without the bulk
Books are a great gift—if you know what your mom likes to read, and know she has room on her bookshelf. If you’re not too sure about either of those, get her a Scribd or Kindle Unlimited subscription. These work similarly to a movie and TV streaming service, allowing users unlimited access to e-books, audiobooks, and magazines to download to a smartphone, tablet, or e-reader they already own. Both offer a massive selection that's regularly updated and expanded with new releases and old favorites. If your mom has a Kindle, she’ll find it easiest to use Kindle Unlimited. If not, Scribd is less expensive (more bang for your buck!) and downloads to most other devices.
3. Audible to help mom keep up with her "reading"
Those Oprah Book Club books won’t read themselves—well, not without an Audible subscription. If your mom loves books, but doesn’t feel like she has time to sit down and read them, Audible is a great gift. With it, she'll gets access to one audiobook, two Audible originals, and a 30 percent discount on other audiobooks in Audible’s catalog for each month she's subscribed. She can listen to a book while she does other things—and what mother doesn’t appreciate successful multitasking? Gift subscriptions are available in one-month, three-month, six-month, or one-year terms.
4. A yoga app that will inspire her to get up and practice
If your mom normally frequents a yoga studio, she’s probably missing those classes a lot right now, especially if her local studio isn’t offering streaming sessions. Help her out by giving her the gift of quality yoga instruction at home with a subscription to the Yoga with Adriene app.
Adriene Mishler’s 7 million YouTube subscribers love the yogi’s calm, nonjudgmental approach to her practice, where she encourages viewers to find what “feels good” in their flow and her dog often wanders through or snoozes in the background. The free YouTube channel is a great suggestion on its own, but the pay app offers bonus classes and the option to download videos so you can disconnect from the internet while you flow.
You could add to the gift with a nice yoga mat—but only if she really needs a new one.
5. A delivery service that keeps the vino pouring
One word: Wine. OK, two words: Wine delivery. As in, a mix of pinots, cabernets, and sauvignon blancs in a box, on your mom’s doorstep. Sound like something she’d be into? You could give her local wine store a call—many have clubs that ship bottles or allow a one-time delivery.
But if not, and you’re not sure where to start, consider a nationwide wine subscription service, like Firstleaf. It starts with a quiz to gauge your (or your mom’s) wine preferences and recommends six bottles to ship out right away. After mom has enjoyed all the offerings, she can rate the wines, so her next box is even better suited for her. Deliveries can come every month, two months, or three months. The prices are discounted with a membership, but you can select individual bottles, too, if a one-time present is what you have in mind.
6. The Headspace app to help your mom chill out
Everyone could use a little zen right now. If your mom is particularly tightly wound these days, she may benefit from Headspace, an app with structured meditation courses that help users learn to meditate and keep up the practice. Reviewers swear by its efficacy, writing that its courses help. them achieve a sense of calm, even in stressful times.
7. MasterClass to learn from the best
It’s possible that your mom has all the stuff she needs, but what she really wants is a spark of inspiration. The gift of Masterclass—an online learning service that allows members to take a course taught by famous masters in their field—should do the trick. With an annual membership, your mom can learn about acting from Natalie Portman, writing from Margaret Atwood, tennis from Serena Williams, and cooking from Gordon Ramsay (minus the yelling seen on most of his TV appearances), and so much more. It’s a great way to delve into a new skill with someone who knows what they’re talking about.
8. Coffee or tea to replenish her supply
You may not be able to take your mother out to her favorite cafe for an iced latte or mug of freshly-steeped tea. But you can help her make coffee or tea at home at home that tastes like it’s from a cool coffee shop.
If she’s a tea lover, consider sending her a Sips by box, which contains an assortment of caffeinated and herbal teas that you can choose yourself, or go with a pre-selected seasonal arrangement. If she’s all about java, send her some coffee that will make her feel like she’s sipping coffee somewhere that isn’t her kitchen, like Blue Bottle Cafe’s New Orleans Iced Coffee kit or Ily’s Italian espresso.
The coffee or tea should integrate nicely into an already-existing routine—and prevent her from having to take a trip to the store or do an online order herself—so she won’t feel like she’s being overloaded with stuff.
- Give a Sips by subscription starting at $45
- Get the New Orleans Iced Coffee kit from Blue Bottle for $17
- Get Illy Ground Espresso Classico from Sur La Table for $15.95
9. A Grove Collaborative box to take care of her cleaning needs
Right now, for obvious reasons, there are few things more cherished than a good stock of soap, cleaning spray, paper towels, and other house-cleaning essentials. Ship a bunch to your mom with an order from Grove Collaborative, an eco-conscious home goods store that carries products from brands including Mrs. Meyers, Method, Seventh Generation, and an in-house line, and reusable cleaning tools like glass bottles and scrubbing brushes. Grove Collaborative also carries beauty products, like facial cleansers, serums, and moisturizers, so you can add a few pampering items to her box, too.
Things ship on a monthly basis, but you can cancel or skip as you see fit.
10. Freshly for a delicious meal without the work
No matter how much you love your mom’s cooking, she may not want to labor over a hot stove every single night. Give her kitchen skills a break with a pre-made meal kit from Freshly. We tested the service and loved that it provided delicious-yet-healthy meals like chicken parm, steak peppercorn, and cauliflower Bolognese that are sure to satisfy old-school and adventurous taste buds alike. All that’s needed to prepare them is a zap in the microwave for a few minutes, but don’t worry about that TV dinner taste—our tester thought they tasted so good that, if she didn’t know any better, she wouldn’t know how they'd been cooked.
11. A Spotify subscription to keep the tunes coming
That old Discman can only last for so much longer. If your mom loves to listen to music during her daily constitutionals, but is running out of her cache of CDs, a Spotify subscription will be a revelation.
The app- and web-based music juggernaut, which we rated best in our test of streaming music services, offers access to almost every artist and curates playlists based on different moods and past listens. Whether that means your mom uses it to listen to classic bands, like The Beatles or Fleetwood Mac, or get into newer artists, like Post Malone and Billie Eilish, is up to her.
12. A language course to get ready for a trip abroad (eventually)
Most people have a lot more time on their hands these days. If your mom is one of them, and you’ve heard about her fond memories of studying abroad in Paris in college, she may want to dust up her French skills in anticipation of the day she might see the Eiffel Tower again. In that case, give her a membership to Rosetta Stone or Babbel. Both provide lessons on real-life grammar and conversation skills that help users remember and communicate in the language. Rosetta Stone is best if she wants to learn on a computer, Babbel is great if she wants to learn through an app.
Sure, she’ll just be saying “bonjour” in her living room now, but there’s no reason why she can’t practice for a trip abroad someday.
13. A gift card to local salon or spa—and a hair tool to hold her over in the meantime
One tried-and-true, bulk-free gift is a gift card to a local salon or spa for a blowout, massage, or other self-care day. Even though most salons are closed for the foreseeable future, it can’t hurt to inquire about a gift card for later use—you’re supporting a local business when they can’t provide services, and it gives your mom a treat to look forward to.
In the meantime, you may also consider the Revlon One-Step Volumizer and Hair Dryer—particularly if your mom hasn’t given up on her daily blow-drying habit. This cult-favorite hair instrument creates a salon-worthy blowout much faster than it takes with the usual assortment of a blow dryer, curling iron, and flat iron. Though it’s technically a “thing,” it can replace other, clunkier hair items—not to mention save a ton of time—so it’s sure to be a welcome gift for the right person.
14. A donation to charity in mom's name
The best gift for someone who doesn’t need anything? A good deed. If that’s the case for your mom, she’ll appreciate a donation to charity in her name. To support something local, use Great Nonprofits to find charities near your ZIP code. Otherwise, in tough times like this, social services such as Feeding America, Direct Relief, and National Coalition for the Homeless are great options.
15. A shipment from Nuts.com
A delivery from Nuts.com may take up some space on your counter initially, but trust that it’ll be gobbled up long before it starts to feel in the way. With everything from build-your-own trays to a 1.5-pound tin of something called “The World’s Finest Mixed Nuts,” there’s something for every snacker in your life. The Mother’s Day Deluxe Tray (a steal at less than $30) features salted roasted cashews, organic dark chocolate-covered almonds, salted roasted pistachios, espresso beans coated in dark and milk chocolates, dark chocolate-covered blueberries, and baby dried strawberries that serve as a nice chewy foil for all the crunchy bites. Our editor Meghan Kavanaugh has been nibbling on her tray and and describes it as incredibly yummy.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.