Thursday, May 7, 2009

9 Healthy Gift Ideas for Mom

By Joe Wilkes - (from, hence the references, but you get the

With Mother's Day just around the corner, the pressure's on to find a great present for a great woman who has cared for you, taught you right from wrong, and provided you with many interest-free loans over the years. Flowers are a favorite, but they wither and die quickly—not exactly a lasting gift. You could get chocolates or candy, because there's nothing like the gift that says, "Mom, here's my contribution to your adult-onset diabetes!" Or, you could look for a gift that tells your mother you love her and want her to be around for a long time to come.

1. Gift cards/certificates. Does Mom have a favorite hobby? Keep in mind that a hobby is something she enjoys—not something she does all the time. If she loves to watch the Food Network and subscribes to Gourmet magazine, a gift certificate to Sur La Table® or Williams-Sonoma® would be a great idea. If she cooks meals for the family while cursing and muttering vague threats of ground glass under her breath, the kitchen store gift certificate may be akin to buying the maid a new mop for Christmas. Find something she likes, or if you're completely unsure, you can get her a Visa gift certificate she can spend anywhere. But for extra points, incorporate the gift certificate into a day of retail therapy that you spend with her.

2. DVD workouts. Come on, you didn't think we'd leave out the obvious great Mother's Day present? Whatever your mom's fitness level or interest, there's a Beachbody® fitness program that's right for her. Maybe she wants to get her mantra on with Yoga Booty Ballet® Pure & Simple Yoga. Or maybe she'd like to kick up her heels with Turbo Jam®. Or maybe she even wants to get ripped to shreds with P90X®. Investing in your mom's physical fitness is a great way to show you care about her long-term health. And if you commit to doing the videos with her, you'll be the best kid ever! Even if you don't live in the same town, you can still make dates to work out together. Putting your mom on the road to a healthier lifestyle is one of the best gifts.

3. Phone cards. Prepaid long-distance cards make great presents, especially if your mom's a long-distance phone call away. This shows your mom that you value conversation with her and want to keep her involved in your life, even if it's not possible to live in the same town. Other variations on the gift of gab would be to upgrade her cell phone plan so she has more minutes to talk to you, or add a line to your family plan especially for her. These are all good ways to get Mom's words of wisdom on the go.

4. Clean the house. Or if you aren't inclined toward domestic chores, you can hire a maid service to give Mom a week off. This may involve some strategizing with Dad or consulting with Mom beforehand, as this could backfire if the maid shows up for an 8 AM surprise the day Mom decides to sleep in. This also depends on your mom's personality. If she's someone who likes things "just so," having a stranger come in to "mess things up" might be more stress than treat. Also, I remember from my childhood that nothing strained my relationship with my mother more than my poor quality control regarding household chores. If you're going to clean the house, and she has to re-clean it, it's not much of a present.

5. Cook a healthy dinner. Preferably at your place, where you can wait on her hand and foot. Cook her favorites or try to introduce her to some healthy new foods. This isn't a good present if you're a lousy cook or an easily stressed host. Try choosing dishes that can be prepared in advance so that you're not spending the evening in the kitchen while Mom's cooling her heels in the living room. The idea behind any Mother's Day present should be about spending time together. If you get stuck in the kitchen preparing the big meal, set your mom up somewhere in the kitchen with a glass of wine or a cup of tea. This way you can chat while preparing dinner. And do NOT let her help clean up.

6. Spa treatment or massage. After all she does for everyone, doesn't Mom deserve a day of pampering and beauty—or at least an hour? Most day spas offer a range of services, from a simple manicure or facial to a full-body makeover. There should be something for any budget. If money's no object, you could even make it a full-blown weekend at a spa. And of course, it's even better if you accompany her to the treatment. If you're strapped for cash or don't live someplace that is spa-adjacent, make your own spa day at home. Give yourselves facials, rent some movies, make some healthy salads and smoothies, put on some Enya, and just bliss out with Mom.

7. Make your own gift basket.No one knows what your mom likes better than you do. You can pick up a wicker basket at your local World Market® or Pier 1 Imports® and fill it with goodies you know your mom likes. Fresh fruits are great. Or her favorite beauty products, like hand creams or perfume. Scented candles or artisanal soaps are also great non-candy additions. You can also check out Beachbody for some good ideas, like ActiVit® Multivitamins. Remember when your mom told you to take your vitamins every morning? Now you can return the favor. Beachbody's Joint Support Super Formula is another great supplement to throw in your gift basket, as is Total Health Women's Formula. Or maybe some fitness gear products like Weighted Gloves to go with that Turbo Jam or some new yoga gear to accompany Yoga Booty Ballet Pure & Simple Yoga. Whatever you put in the basket, make it something you know your mother will like. The real gift is the thoughtfulness that goes into putting it together.

8. The gift of music. In writing this article, I asked my mom, of the gifts I'd given her over the years, what she enjoyed most. While I'm sure there is a soft spot for the macaroni-and-glitter projects of my early years, her favorites were mix CDs that I gave her when I was in college and too broke to get her anything store-bought. But I was able to put together a couple of CDs of songs that I knew she would like, and she appreciated the customized music and finding out about new artists. Later in life, when I was less of a burden on society, I would get her concert tickets. And when possible, I made the concert part of an evening we could spend together.

9. Time and thoughtfulness. After I asked my mom about her favorite gifts, I asked what she thought were the best presents that any mother could get for Mother's Day, keeping my fingers crossed that the answer wasn't jewelry. She told me that the thing that any mother wants is to spend time with her thoughtful child. And while that's hard to wrap, it's a present you can give your mom all year long. Let's face it, your mom's got a basement full of misbegotten gift ideas you've come up with over the years. And while you should get her something tangible for Mother's Day, just so your brother doesn't make you look like a jerk, the most important component of that gift should be that you give of yourself, not just of your wallet.


  1. I'll take the "clean house", but of course the older kids are supposed to be doing some of this already as part of their daily chores.

    Don't you love when there's a piece of paper in the middle of the floor and everyone walks past like it's invisible? I asked for something I could plant in the garden, but they'll probably forget.

  2. Perfect timing & I loved the picture!

  3. Great ideas. I love making gift baskets. I could pass on the cleaning the house part... I hate cleaning my own.


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