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21 Gifts Moms Will Love for Mother’s Day

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This year, don’t put off getting a Mother's Day gift until the last minute. Order something really special now that you know she’ll love. Here are some gift ideas we found to get you started. (Mother's Day is May 8—maybe you should write that down ...)

1. DOGA; $12 

Dogs are needy creatures. Most of the time, they want to be right next to their owners, no matter what's happening. Dog-loving yogis will enjoy this book that incorporates their furry friends into the mix. The book comes with full-color photographs and clear step-by-step directions. 

Find it: Amazon

2. SEED BOMBS; $14 

Help your mom add extra life to her backyard or garden with a bag of seed bombs. The handy sacks contain 10 walnut-sized bombs brimming with your choice of flower seed. To plant, the user just needs to toss them outside and watch them grow. Best of all, the new flowers will promote butterfly and bee populations. 

Find it: Firebox

3. FUNKY VEGETABLE KIT; $19 

Help your mom mix up her produce with this kit that includes seeds to grow purple carrots, red Brussels sprouts, striped tomatoes, yellow zucchini, and multi-colored swiss chard. The set also features starter growing pots, plant markers, and gardening tips. 

Find it: Amazon

4. PERSONALIZED FAMILY MUGS; $30 - $160 

Your mom will love seeing you and the rest of the gang illustrated on matching cupware. To get started, you just pick which pre-drawn figure looks the most like each family member and then add the name. You can also change up the shirts and hair so they can wear their favorite colors.

Find it: Uncommon Goods

5. NOVEL TEAS; $15 

Moms who are also big readers will enjoy a cup of this special tea alongside their favorite books. The tea bags are adorned with tags that feature literary quotes from authors all over the world. Each box comes with 25 bags containing English breakfast tea. 

Find it: Amazon

6. CONSTELLATION MUG; $13 

This special mug isn’t like other mugs: When you add hot water, the night sky lights up with constellations from Hercules to Cassiopeia. Just warn mom that she'll need to hand wash this one; machine washing it will ruin the heat-sensitive material. 

Find it: Amazon

7. SLOTH TEA INFUSER; $10 

If your mom is into animal-themed kitchenware and also loves a good cup of tea, then this sloth is the perfect gift. The adorable tea infuser sits languidly right on the edge of the cup until your tea is ready.

Find it: Amazon

8. THE OBSESSIVE CHEF CUTTING BOARD; $23

A mom who loves cooking with precision will love this cutting board, which will help her get each and every ingredient exactly the right shape and size.The board comes with a series of lines to guide the cutter, including how to: medium dice, small dice, brunoise, fine brunoise, batonnet, allumette, julienne, and fine julienne. The lines are burnished instead of printed, so they'll never get worn away. 

Find it: Amazon

9. WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE TOTE; $18 

Remind your mom of the days when she used to read to you at night with this special tote bag. Out of Print makes a number of different bag designs that resemble childhood classics like Where the Wild Things Are and Goodnight Moon. By purchasing the tote, the seller sends one book to a community in need.

Find it: Amazon

10. STANDING MIXER; $230 

The KitchenAid standing mixer is a device beloved by bakers worldwide. If your mom spends a lot of time whipping up cookies and cupcakes, then this is the gift for her. The fancy kitchenware works with 15 optional attachments and comes in a variety of colors. We’re not saying your mom will bake you some thank you cookies if you get her this, but it could happen. 

Find it: Amazon

11. PROSECCO GUMMY BEARS; $13 

These Prosecco-flavored gummy bears are the perfect sugary something for moms with a sweet tooth. They don’t contain any alcohol, though, so you’ll need to get a real bottle of the bubbly for that. 

Find it: Firebox

12. JEWELRY TREE; $100  

This fancy necklace holder isn't something you can pick up just anywhere. It’s made with Manzanita branches that were taken from the high desert of southern California and coated with a gold paint finish. The carved tree offers miniature branches perfect for hanging jewelry and other knick-knacks. The beautiful tree sits on a hand-rubbed, alabaster base. 

Find it: Uncommon Goods

13. DIGITAL STYLUS PENCIL; $49

If your mom is the creative type, consider giving her a piece of technology that makes being creative easy. This elegant stylus, made by FiftyThree, looks and feels just like a real pencil. It works perfectly with the matching app as well as other apps like Noteshelf and Sketchbook Mobile. Just like a real pencil, you can draw, blend, and erase. It’s Bluetooth smart and has a long lasting battery. 

Find it: Amazon

14. PILLOW MASSAGER; $40  

After a hard day of taking care working or taking care of kids (or both), the mom in your life deserves something that will help her unwind. This back massager has a heating function and four rotating nodes that help soothe aching muscles. It even comes with a car charger for relaxing on the go. 

Find it: Amazon

15. WONDERSHELF; $25 

Show your mom how super you think she is with this novel bookshelf. The special “floating” appearance is actually created with a hidden surface that slips inside the bottom book’s sleeve. The superhero is magnetized and keeps the book closed while giving the illusion that she is holding the whole stack in the air.

Find it: SOHO Design Shop

16. NESSIE LADLE; $3 

Moms who cook and have a sense of humor might like this Nessie ladle. Its adorable shape makes it look like the mythical Scottish creature is lurking in the evening's stew. The nylon ladle is machine washable but should not go in the microwave. 

Find it: Amazon

17. TERRARIUM KIT; $27 

Terrariums are a lot of fun to keep around the house and even more fun to create. Give your mom all the necessary fixings to make her own with this pre-assembled kit, which includes a teardrop-shaped enclosure, hemp twine, an air plant, purple quartz, white rocks, dried echinop, reindeer moss, and juniper sprigs.

Find it: Amazon

18. PHONE SANITIZER; $60 

We are quick to wash our hands throughout the day, but less quick to clean off our phones, which come in contact with a lot of dirty things (specially if you drop your phone a lot or, ahem, take it to the bathroom). Germ-fearing moms will be grateful for this handy device that sanitizes a phone in a mere four minutes. Simply plug the phone in and close the lid and the UV light will zap away any germs. Most phones fit inside—even the iPhone 6 Plus. 

Find it: ThinkGeek

19. DEVICE ORGANIZER; $36 

Mothers with a lot of devices on their hands will love having a place to stash all their things. This bamboo organizer comes with an interior storage area for chargers so the devices can all charge at the same time. 

Find it: Amazon

20. SHOWER SPEAKER; $13

This waterproof speaker works with Bluetooth and comes with a powerful suction cup that allows it to cling to flat surfaces. It plays for about six hours on a single charge and also takes calls. Besides blue, the speaker also comes in black, pink, camouflage, and leopard print. 

Find it: Amazon

21. NARWHAL HEATED SLIPPERS; $34 

Relaxing is about to get a whole lot more adorable with these heated narwhal slippers. The happy looking footwear fit most feet and come with a USB-powered heating option. If your mom doesn't want to get tied down with wires, there's also a wireless option. 

Find it: Amazon

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10 Other Mother’s Days from Around the World
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After her mother passed away in 1905, Anna Jarvis resolved to dedicate a day to her mother, and mothers everywhere. Little did she know, and evidently much to her chagrin, Mother’s Day fast became a commercial phenomenon. Its popularity spread worldwide and many countries, particularly in the Western world, adopted the second Sunday in May as their official Mother’s Day. But not every nation followed suit—perhaps to the chagrin of their local flower companies. In fact, Mother’s Day in many countries has little or nothing to do with Anna Jarvis’s creation, nor does it always occur in May. These are just a few of those other Mother’s Days.

1. UK // MOTHERING SUNDAY, FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT

The name may sound strikingly similar to its American counterpart, but the origins of Mothering Sunday are quite different. By most historical accounts, it was the Church of England that created Mothering Sunday to honor the mothers of England, and later to commemorate the “Mother Church” in all its spiritual nurturing glory. Hundreds of years ago, Christians were expected to make at least one return to their mother church each year. In other words, Mothering Sunday was the ultimate guilt trip to visit the woman or entity that gave them life. Was that so much to ask? The fourth Sunday of Lent became the designated day to make this journey, and remains the go-to holiday to celebrate Moms to this day.

2. THAILAND // MOTHER'S DAY, AUGUST 12

Her Majesty Sirikit the Queen of Thailand is also considered the mother of all her Thai subjects. In light of her royal maternal status, the Thai government made her birthday, August 12, Thailand’s official Mother’s Day in 1976. It remains a national holiday, celebrated countrywide with fireworks and candle-lighting. In related holidays, Father’s Day in Thailand falls on the current King’s birthday, December 5.

3. BOLIVIA // MOTHER'S DAY, MAY 27

During the struggle for independence from Spain in the early 19th century, many of the country's fathers, sons, and husbands were injured and killed on the battlefields. As the history is told to Bolivian students, one group of women from Cochabamba refused to stand idly by; on May 27, they banded together to fight the Spanish Army on Coronilla Hill. Though hundreds died in battle, the legacy of their contributions lives on thanks to a national law passed in the 1920s making the day on which the “Heroinas of Coronilla” took to the streets national Mother’s Day.

4. INDONESIA// MOTHER'S DAY OR WOMEN'S DAY, DECEMBER 22

Made official in 1953 by its president, Indonesia's Mother’s Day falls on the anniversary of the First Indonesian Women’s Congress (1928). The first convening of women in a governmental body is still considered pivotal in launching organized women’s movements throughout Indonesia. The holiday was created to celebrate the contributions of women to Indonesian society.

5. MIDDLE EAST (VARIOUS) // MOTHER'S DAY OR SPRING EQUINOX, MARCH 21

Egyptian journalist Mustafa Amin introduced the idea of a Mother’s Day to his home country, and it quickly spread throughout much of the region. Inspired by a story of a thankless widow ignored by an ungrateful son, Amin and his brother Ali successfully proposed a day in Egypt to honor all mothers. They decided the first day of spring, March 21, was most appropriate to celebrate the ultimate givers of life. It was first celebrated in Egypt in 1956, and is still observed throughout the region from Bahrain to the United Arab Emirates to Iraq.

6. NEPAL // MOTHER PILGRIMAGE FORTNIGHT OR MATA TIRTHA SNAN, LAST DAY OF THE MAISHAKH MONTH (USUALLY BETWEEN LATE APRIL AND EARLY MAY)

Stemming from an ancient Hindu tradition, this festival of honoring mothers is still commonly celebrated in Nepal. The holiday honors both the living and the dead equally. Traditionally, those honoring mothers who have passed away make a pilgrimage to the Mata Tirtha ponds near Kathmandu. A large carnival is also held in the Mata Tirtha village. Children show their mothers appreciation with sweets and gifts.

7. ISRAEL // FAMILY DAY OR THE HOLIDAY FORMERLY KNOWN AS MOTHER'S DAY, 30TH DAY OF SHEVAT (USUALLY FEBRUARY)

Henrietta Szold never had any children of her own, but that didn’t stop her from touching the lives of many young ones. Szold played an active role in the Youth Aliya organization, through which she helped protect many Jewish children from the horrors of the Holocaust. This earned her a reputation as the “mother” of all children. In the 1950s, an 11-year-old girl named Nechama Biedermann wrote to the children’s publication Haaretz Shelanu proposing they make the date of Szold’s death Israel’s national Mother’s Day. The newspaper readily agreed, as did the rest of the country. Despite the shift to a more gender-balanced Family Day, the holiday’s popularity has waned over the years.

8. ETHIOPIA // MOTHER'S DAY OR ANTROSHT, WHEN THE RAINY SEASON ENDS (OCTOBER/NOVEMBER)

Rather than tying themselves down to a specific date, Ethiopians wait out the wet season then trek home for a large, three-day family celebration. This feast is known as “Antrosht.” Unlike some western Mother’s Days, the mother plays a key role in preparing the traditional meals for the festival.

9. FRANCE // MOTHER'S DAY OR FÊTE DES MÈRES, LAST SUNDAY IN MAY

Celebrating a few Sundays later than the rest of the world feels so, well, French. However, according to one blogger, they may have beat all of us to the punch—sort of. France has a storied history of attempts to create a national Mother’s Day. Napoleon tried to mandate a national maternal holiday at the turn of the 19th century. But things ended up not working out so well for him and his holiday. More than a century later, Lyon held its own Mother’s Day celebration to honor women who lost sons to the First World War. It was not until May 24, 1950 that the Fête des Mères became an officially decreed holiday.

(The holiday is mandated to occur on the last Sunday in May. However, if that Sunday is also the Pentecost, then Mother’s Day is pushed to the first Sunday in June.)

10. NICARAGUA // MOTHER'S DAY OR DÍA DE MADRE, MAY 30

In the 1940s, President General Anastasio Somoza Garcia declared Mother’s Day in honor of the birthday of his mother-in-law. Despite its brown-nosing origins, it remains a big deal in Nicaragua.

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Big Questions
What's the Story Behind Cinco de Mayo?
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Cinco de Mayo, or May 5, is recognized around the country as a time to celebrate Mexico’s cultural heritage. Like a lot of days earmarked to commemorate a specific idea or event, its origins can be a little murky. Who started it, and why?

The holiday was originally set aside to commemorate Mexico’s victory over France at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. The two had gotten into a dispute after newly-elected Mexico president Benito Juárez tried to help ease the country’s financial woes by defaulting on European loans. Unmoved by their plight, France attempted to seize control of their land. The Napoleon III-led country sent 6000 troops to Puebla de Los Angeles, a small town en route to Mexico City, and anticipated an easy victory.

After an entire day of battle that saw 2000 Mexican soldiers take 500 enemy lives against only 100 casualties, France retreated. That May 5, Mexico had proven itself to be a formidable and durable opponent. (The victory would be short-lived, as the French would eventually conquer Mexico City. In 1866, Mexican and U.S. forces were able to drive them out.)

To celebrate, Juárez declared May 5, or Cinco de Mayo, to be a national holiday. Puebla began acknowledging the date, with recognition spreading throughout Mexico and in the Latino population of California, which celebrated victory over the same kind of oppressive regime facing minorities in Civil War-era America. In fact, University of California at Los Angeles professor David Hayes-Bautista cites his research into newspapers of the era as evidence that Cinco de Mayo really took off in the U.S. due to the parallels between the Confederacy and the monarchy Napoleon III had planned to install.

Cinco de Mayo gained greater visibility in the U.S. in the middle part of the 20th century thanks to the Good Neighbor Policy, a political movement promoted by Franklin Roosevelt beginning in 1933, which encouraged friendly relations between countries.  

There’s a difference between a day of remembrance and a corporate clothesline, however. Cinco de Mayo was co-opted for the latter beginning in the 1970s, when beer and liquor companies decided to promote consumption of their products while enjoying the party atmosphere of the date—hence the flowing margaritas. And while it may surprise some Americans, Cinco de Mayo isn’t quite as big a deal in Mexico as it can be in the States. While Mexican citizens recognize it, it’s not a federal holiday: Celebrants can still get to post offices and banks. 

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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