60 Gifts to Give Every Type of Mom

amazon / istock
amazon / istock

This Mother's Day, give your mom a gift she'll love. Here are a few of our suggestions.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers, including Amazon, and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Good luck deal hunting!

CHEFS

1. CHEESE OF THE WORLD TOWEL; $14

This dish towel is a must-have for cheese lovers. It features 49 types of the delicious food from around the world along with their origins, characteristics, and flavors, plus handy cutting diagrams and a wine pairing guide.

Find it: UncommonGoods

2. MASON JAR HERB GARDEN; $20

These mason jars are a cute way to grow herbs. Simply add water and find a nice sunny spot for the plants to grow—the jars have an interior hydroponic system that makes sure the plants get the right amount of moisture.

Find it: UncommonGoods

3. CHOP WIZARD; $23

If your mom is looking to save some time in the kitchen, this device will make quick work of dicing up onions, peppers, or any other vegetable in need of chopping.

Find it: Amazon

4. SALT, FAT, ACID, HEAT; $23

This innovative cookbook (which features 100 core recipes with endless spin-offs) teaches home chefs four elements—salt, fat, acid, and heat—for more delicious meals. Illustrations and infographics bring the recipes to life.

Find it: Amazon

COFFEE AND TEA DRINKERS

5. TEA INFUSER SET; $17

These charming, sea creature-shaped silicone devices can be filled with loose tea leaves and hooked onto the side of a mug to steep.

Find it: Amazon

6. DEATH WISH COFFEE; $20

If your mom is always asking for an extra shot of espresso, you should introduce her to this super strong coffee. Considered one of the most caffeinated coffees in the world, Death Wish packs a punch of 660 milligrams of caffeine per 12 fluid ounce cup (a regular coffee will run 195 milligrams or so).

Find it: Amazon

7. CONSTELLATION MUG; $14

This mug just shows a blank starry sky, but with a little hot liquid, constellations will appear.

Find it: Amazon

TECHIES

8. BLUETOOTH TRACKING TAG; $40

Save your mom the trouble of searching for missing keys with a tracking device for her keychain. It connects to Bluetooth so the keychain can be hunted down on a smartphone.

Find it: UncommonGoods

9. FUJIFILM INSTAX MINI CAMERA; $69

This fun, brightly colored camera takes instant pictures that are perfect for sticking in a cubicle or on the fridge.

Find it: Urban Outfitters

10. ECHO DOT; $50

The Echo Dot is the perfect virtual assistant for all your smart home needs. Moms just need to say "Alexa," and they can turn smart devices off and on, order pizza, or call a cab.

Find it: Amazon

11. SAMSUNG GEAR VR; $50

Proof that we're living in the future: Virtual reality is now a thing, and it's affordable. This lightweight headgear can virtually transport the wearer to any environment, playing 360 degree games, videos, and images.

Find it: Amazon

ATHLETES

12. FITBIT; $150

This sleek black bracelet keeps track of heart rate, steps, and sleep patterns.

Find it: Amazon

13. RUNNING BELT; $16

Running with a smartphone can be tricky, what with the lack of pockets. This subtle fanny pack offers a zippered belt to store items while jogging.

Find it: Amazon

14. INFUSER WATER BOTTLE; $12

Fruits like strawberries and lemons can give water a nice little kick. This water bottle has a chamber for fruits and vegetables that give the water a refreshing taste.

Find it: Amazon

15. DOGA; $4

Yoga is a lot more fun with a furry friend. This hardcover book comes with full color photographs and tutorials showing the reader how to incorporate their pets into their yoga routine.

Find it: Amazon

16. WODBOM BOX OF THE MONTH; $35

If your mom has hopped on the crossfit bandwagon, then get a box filled with related goodies. The Wodbom subscription service sends a different box each month filled with fun items, shirts, and snacks.

Find it: Wodbom

17. SUNSKIS; $58

These stylish, durable sunglasses are lightweight (they're made with polycarbonate), and, thanks to flexible arms, they stay put on your face—they won't slide down your mom's nose during a workout. They're not so expensive that mom will be kicking herself if she breaks them, but even if she does, it's not a big deal: They come with a lifetime warranty.

Find it: Sunskis

18. CHACOS OUTCROSS EVO 1.5 HIKING SHOE; $115


These hiking sneakers slip on and off easily, breathe well (and dry quickly) thanks to a mesh upper, and have an antimicrobial treatment to keep them—and your mom’s feet!—from getting too stinky.

Find it: Amazon

DIYERS

19. MAKE YOUR OWN HOT SAUCE; $35

Hot sauce tastes even better when it's homemade. This kit comes with gloves, bottles, ingredients, and everything needed to make five 6-ounce bottles of hot sauce at home.

Find it: UncommonGoods

20. FIX IT KIT; $30

This vegan leather case pretty much has all the tools your mom might need to fix things around the house. The case, which comes in black or pink, contains a hammer, flashlight, long-nose pliers, tape measure, screwdriver, interchangeable handle, four sockets, 10 screwdriver bits, and a socket extension.

Find it: UncommonGoods

21. DULUTH TRADING COMPANY RAILROAD STRIPED OVERALLS; $90


These adorable overalls are lightweight enough for summer, but come equipped with enough pockets—13 in total—to make your mom a walking tool box. The chest pocket system has pen slots, a cellphone sleeve, and a sunglass loop, and there's a deep utility pocket that's perfect for pliers.

Find it: Duluth Trading Company

22. TERRARIUM; $20

Why give mom flowers when you can give her a DIY garden that will let her express her creative side? This 5.9-inch-tall glass geometric case can house all sorts of succulents, moss, or any other items your mom wants to pack inside.

Find it: Amazon

JET SETTERS

23. SHRIMP TRAVEL PILLOW; $7

Have a humor-loving mother who loves to fly but hates neck trouble? This neck pillow will help mid-flight naps be more comfortable—and best of all, it looks like a gigantic shrimp. For Francophiles, there's also a croissant version.

Find it: Amazon

24. SCRATCH-OFF TRAVEL MAP; $30

Travelers can mark their progress on this world map by using a coin to scratch off areas of the map after they've visited. After enough trips, the maps will turn from gold to technicolor.

Find it: Amazon

25. MOUNTAIN HARDWARE CITYPASS TRAVEL DRESS; $90


This adorable dress dries quickly and resists wrinkles, making it perfect for the mom on the go.

Find it: Mountain Hardware

26. PACK THIS LIST; $5

When packing, it's good to have a mother around to ask "did you remember to bring...?" But who helps mothers pack? This helpful pad lists out all the usual things that someone might want to bring on a trip.

Find it: Amazon

27. CUSTOM SANDBOX CUBE; $100-$110

If your mother has a favorite beach, you can bottle up a piece of it for her to bring with her wherever she goes. Handmade in Massachusetts, these cube pendants are filled with a pinch of sand. Buyers can send in their own sand or choose some from one of the thousands of beaches the artist has in her Sand Bank.

Find it: UncommonGoods

28. BATMAN ROLLING LUGGAGE; $45

Now your mom can travel in style with this hardside rolling luggage. Four 360-degree wheels make it easy to turn on a dime and fight crime in the airport.

Find it: ThinkGeek

BOOK WORMS

29. NOVEL TEA TIN; $30

What first appears to be a Jane Austen novel is actually a tea tin. Each "book" comes with 12 servings of herbal mint tea leaves. If Pride and Peppermint isn't the right piece of punny literature, there's also Matcha Do About Nothing and Oliver Lemon Twist.

Find it: Amazon

30. BOOK PILLOWS; $25 - $50

Have a mom who loves to read long into the night? Give her a book that's at least comfortable to fall asleep on. These book-shaped pillows are perfect for cuddling with. Choose from Alice in Wonderland, Treasure Island, or The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

Find it: ThinkGeek

31. BATHTUB CADDY; $40

Reading in the bath is a lot easier with a place to put the book. This bamboo stand balances over the lip of the tub and even has a place for a glass of wine.

Find it: Paper Source

32. SCRATCH-OFF BOOK POSTER; $35

Like the scratch-off map, this poster lets the owner show off. The chart has 100 "essential novels" with gold covers. As your mom works her way through the books, she can scratch off the foil and reveal a new cover underneath.

Find it: Pop Chart Lab

33. BICYCLE BOOK ENDS; $65

These carbon steel bookends look like a bicycle, suggesting that each book is a journey.

Find it: UncommonGoods

AUDIOPHILES

34. BEACH RADIO; $48

This turquoise radio combines the best of the old and the new: It comes with retro dials to help tune to the right radio station, and inside, there's a place to secretly connect a smart phone or iPod with an auxiliary cord.

Find it: Amazon

35. RECORD PLAYER BRIEFCASE; $70

Moms can take tunes on the go with this record player hidden in a briefcase. The baby blue device comes a with a 3-speed vinyl record player and mp3 player that takes USB and auxiliary inputs.

Find it: Amazon

35. MUSIC TRANSPOSITION RING; $17

This ring comes with a music transposition chart that can be kept on hand at all times. The lovely homage to music theory is both fashionable and practical.

Find it: UncommonGoods

36. WIRELESS HEADPHONES; $69

According to Lifewire, these lightweight headphones are the best bang for your buck. The Bluetooth-compatible device is adjustable and provides eight hours of use.

Find it: Amazon

DRINKERS

37. TEQUILA MOCKINGBIRD; $9

Fans of literature and puns will be tickled by this clever book, which features cocktail recipes with names inspired by classic books. There are 65 recipes in total along with blurbs about the books' history, recipes for bar snacks, and charming illustrations.

Find it: Amazon

38. WINE TABLE; $22

Enjoying a glass of wine at the beach or on a picnic is suddenly very possible with a transportable table that can be speared into any soft ground. The 16-inch-long table has enough room for two glasses of wine, plus some snacks.

Find it: UncommonGoods

39. SPACE WINE TOTE; $5

If you decide to give your mom a bottle of wine this year, at least put it in a tote bag that she can enjoy in the future. The navy carrier comes with metallic silver constellations like the Little Dipper and Pisces.

Find it: ModCloth

40. BEER MAKING KIT; $32

Beer tastes so much better when someone you know brewed it. This kit provides everything needed to create an IPA right at home. With replacement ingredients, the whole kit is reusable.

Find it: Amazon

GEEKS

41. PI BLANKET; $20

This snuggly fleece blanket is covered with the first 413 digits of pi. The 45-inch-by-64-inch throw is perfect for cuddling up at home with some complicated math problems.

Find it: ThinkGeek

42. DOCTOR WHO COOKBOOK; $12

Have a Whovian for a mother? Now she can make all kinds of meals and treats loosely based on the popular franchise. The cookbook comes with 40 time-bending recipes to try.

Find it: Amazon

43. BEAKER SALT AND PEPPER SHAKERS; $14

Cooking is a science, especially when the salt and pepper shakers look like beakers.

Find it: Amazon

44. DEATH STAR TEAPOT; $25

The Death Star is a lot less imposing when it's serving tea. Pick up the top and reveal a hidden teacup underneath.

Find it: ThinkGeek

45. SOLAR ORBIT NECKLACE; $40-$80

Deck your mom out in jewels that represent the planets of the solar system. The 18-inch chain comes with the sun, Mercury, Venus, the moon, Earth, Mars, the asteroid belt, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and of course Pluto.

Find it: ThinkGeek

46. MOTHER OF DRAGONS WINE GLASS; $15

Wine glass

If you and your siblings ever acted up, your mom might have felt like a mother of dragons. Get her this set of stemless wine glasses with the Targaryen sigil as a nod to her patience.

Find it: HBO

ANIMAL LOVERS

47. BOSTON TERRIER UMBRELLA; $20

This umbrella has a bubble shape that allows your mom to protect her face from oncoming rain. It's clear so she can still see while walking, but is adorned with two fun illustrations of Boston terriers.

Find it: Amazon

48. CAT ZODIAC BOOK; $5

Horoscopes aren't just for humans: Now your mom can decode the perplexing actions of her pet with this cat zodiac book. Now when Socks knocks over a vase, she can chalk it up to typical Scorpio behavior.

Find it: Modcloth

ART LOVERS

49. FRIDA KAHLO DOLL; $19

This 11-inch-tall plus doll of painter Frida Kahlo is clad in a traditional Mexican dress and has a little monkey on her shoulder.

Find it: Amazon

50. ART SOCKS; $14

This set comes with eight pairs of socks, all dedicated to different pieces of artwork. Your mom's feet will love paying homage to the classics.

Find it: Amazon

51. STARRY NIGHT PUZZLE; $17

Van Gogh's Starry Night makes for a surprisingly good puzzle. This 1000-piece jigsaw promises a great family night trying to reconstruct the classic painting.

Find it: Amazon

52. GARDEN OF EARTHLY DELIGHTS FIGURE; $49

Action figures aren't just for kids—moms will love them too, especially when they're modeled after classic paintings. Amazon has a whole collection of nefarious characters from Hieronymus Bosch's The Garden of Earthly Delights.

Find it: Amazon

53. THE SCREAM BANDAGES; $6

Most moms have a few bandages hiding up their sleeves in case one of their children gets hurt. Arm your mom with special bandages featuring The Scream. There are 15 large strips in each tin (plus a free prize).

Find it: Amazon

BEAUTY ADDICTS

54. LIGHTED MIRROR; $19

Light-up mirrors are so helpful, your mother is going to wonder why you didn't buy her one sooner. The ring around the mirror gives off a natural hue with LED lights and offers magnification that helps her see tiny details for precise makeup application.

Find it: Amazon

55. FACE MASKS; $16

Face masks are one of the easiest ways to relax and take care of your skin. Mom will love these luxurious pre-moistened masks that come in great smells like aloe, wine, and avocado.

Find it: Amazon

56. BATH BOMBS; $27

Bath bombs can be a pricey luxury, but this set offers 12 for just $27. The scents included are angel, black raspberry vanilla, shower, beach, kiwi strawberry, lavender, lemongrass green tea, love, mango papaya, melon ball, shea and coconut, and Victorian rose.

Find it: Amazon

57. TOO FACED NEUTRAL EYE SHADOW; $59

A pallet of natural colored eye shadows is a must-have for any beauty maven. This highly regarded set from Too Faced is a win whether your mom is a summer or a winter.

Find it: Sephora

FOR MOMS WHO LOVE THE CLASSICS

58. FLOWERS

If you want to keep it traditional, you can't go wrong with a bouquet of flowers. The Bouqs is a wonderful flower company that gets its supplies from eco-friendly farms. You can order ahead or use their same-day delivery option.

Find it: The Bouqs

59. PERFUME

Mail your mom a fresh bottle of her signature scent with the ScentBird subscription service. There are over 450 different fragrances to choose from, which all come in .27 ounce bottles.

Find it: ScentBird

60. GIFT BASKETS

Harry and David has long been a favorite destination for family gifts. After all, who can resist their chocolate covered fruits or their sea salt caramels? And if your mom doesn't have a sweet tooth, the company offers gift baskets with things like coffee, wine, and other food items.

Find it: Harry and David

Amazon Will Deliver a 7-Foot Christmas Tree to Your Door This Holiday Season

iStock
iStock

We're still technically in the dregs of summer, but Amazon is already thinking about Christmas. The online retail giant has just announced it will be giving customers the chance to skip the annual trip to the Christmas tree farm this holiday season and order live trees online instead, the Associated Press reports.

Amazon has previously sold live Christmas trees that topped out around three feet, with larger trees available on the site through third-party vendors. This year the company is establishing itself as a major player in the real Christmas tree market. Beginning in November, Amazon shoppers will have their choice of buying Balsam firs, Black Hills spruces, or Norfolk Island pines directly from the company. The tallest offering, a seven-foot Fraser fir, will sell for $115.

All of Amazon's trees will be wrapped up and delivered within 10 days of being chopped down, which should mean they'll still be alive upon arrival. As is the case with other Amazon products, the trees will be shipped in cardboard boxes. Some will even be eligible for free, two-day shipping for Amazon Prime members—just in case you're the kind of person who decorates their home for the holidays at the very last minute. And if you're someone who likes to get all of that holiday shopping out of the way early, Amazon will also offer pre-orders.

As for the possibility that independent Christmas tree farms will be the next industry brought down by online retail, tree farmers aren't worried. The National Christmas Tree Association told the AP that it estimates only about one to two percent of all live trees purchased for the holidays last year were ordered online.

[h/t AP]

11 Things You Should Know About Rosh Hashanah

iStock
iStock

The first Rosh Hashanah supposedly occurred in the Garden of Eden. But what does this important Jewish holiday involve today?

1. IT LITERALLY TRANSLATES AS "HEAD OF THE YEAR."


iStock

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, can fall any time between the fifth of September and the fifth of October on the Gregorian Calendar. On the Jewish calendar, it is the first day of the month of Tishrei and marks the start of the High Holy Days. These days are also known as the days of awe, ushering in the final phase of atonement. The holiday celebrates the anniversary of the creation of the world.

2. FOR THE MONTH BEFORE, JEWS ASK FOR FORGIVENESS FROM FRIENDS AND FAMILY.

In order to have a clean slate going into the New Year, Jews ask for forgiveness from those close to them. The idea here is that God cannot forgive transgressions against people until those wronged have forgiven.

3. TRADITIONALLY, ROSH HASHANAH HAPPENS OVER TWO DAYS.

These days are combined into the yoma arichta, or "long day." At sunset on the first evening, candles are lit by the lady of the house. Then blessings are recited: a traditional holiday blessing over the candles, followed by the shehecheyanu, a thanksgiving prayer for special occasions. Both evenings also feature a festive meal.

4. UNLIKE DECEMBER 31, THE JEWISH NEW YEAR IS A TIME OF SERIOUS REFLECTION AND REPENTANCE.


Getty Images

Even Jews who go to synagogue at no other time of year will often go on the high holidays, which include Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Religious poems called piyyutim are recited and a special high holy day prayer book called the machzor is used. The service is often longer than Sabbath services, and centers around the theme of God’s sovereignty, remembrance, and blasts of the shofar (see below).

5. DESPITE NOT BEING A HUGE PARTY, JEWS ARE EXPECTED TO ENJOY THE YOM TOV, OR HOLIDAY.

People often get fresh haircuts and new clothes in order to celebrate. The tradition is to wear white clothing as a sign of purity and renewal. Some avoid wearing red, since it's the color of blood.

6. ACCORDING TO THE TALMUD, ON ROSH HASHANAH, GOD INSCRIBES EVERYONE'S NAMES INTO ONE OF THREE BOOKS.

The metaphorical understanding is that good people go into the Book of Life, and evil ones into the Book of Death; those who are in the middle are put in an intermediate one and have judgment put off until Yom Kippur. Since virtually no one is all good or all evil, you're supposed to assume you fall somewhere in the middle, and in order to be inscribed in the Book of Life for the coming year, it is important to do everything possible to atone before Yom Kippur.

7. THE SOUNDING OF THE SHOFAR IS THE MOST ICONIC IMAGE OF THIS HOLIDAY.


iStock

The shofar is a ram’s horn that is curved and bent. It is hollowed out and blown during religious ceremonies to make three different sounds. Hearing it is meant to call you to repent.

8. WHILE SOME JEWISH HOLIDAYS INVOLVE FASTING, ROSH HASHANAH INVOLVES A FEAST.

It is traditional to eat apples dipped in honey to represent having a sweet year ahead. A round challah bread symbolizes the cycle of the year (another interpretation is that it represents a crown and thus God’s sovereignty). Sometimes a fish, or just its head, is included, possibly to represent that as fish cannot survive without water, Jews cannot survive without the Torah. Pomegranates contain many seeds, which have long been associated with the commandments that Jews follow, so by eating them they remind themselves to be good in the coming year. Other common foods include dates, leeks, gourds, and black-eyed peas, all of which are mentioned in the Talmud as foods to eat on New Year’s.

9. SOME BRANCHES OF JUDAISM PARTICIPATE IN THE RITUAL OF TASHLIKH, OR "CASTING OFF."

The ritual involves standing near water, like a river, and reciting prayers. Then participants symbolically cast away their sins by throwing bread crumbs or stones into the water. This is supposedly derived from the Biblical passage “You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19), although most Jewish sources trace it back to 15th century Germany. In New York City, large groups gather on the Brooklyn Bridge, while in Israel—where there is much less open water—people might use something as small as a fish pond.

10. THERE ARE VARIOUS TRADITIONAL GREETINGS FOR ROSH HASHANAH.


iStock

L'Shana Tova Tea-ka-tayvu is Hebrew for “May you be inscribed for a good year,” referring to that person’s name being put in the Book of Life. This is often shortened to Shana Tova, which just means “Good Year.” This isn’t to be confused with wishing each other a “Happy New Year.” Happy implies a level of superficiality, while the Jewish wish for a good year hopes the person will achieve their purpose.

11. THE HAVDALAH PRAYER IS PERFORMED AS NIGHT FALLS ON THE SECOND AND LAST DAY.

It involves saying blessings over a full cup of kosher wine or grape juice, although other drinks can be used in a pinch. After this, Rosh Hashanah is over.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER