The Ultimate Christmas Gift List for Moms
For those of you who, like me, are itching to bend your bank accounts for the sake of your mothers (how can you repay the person who gave you life?), our time has come. The holidays are yearly compensation for all my sucky birthday and Mother’s Day gifts that have completely flopped. But it seems an impossible task. Moms deserve the world, and we can barely afford Target brand candles. Despite it all, she’s worth the splurge. And instead of sifting through the knick knack sections of just about every retail store, I’ve compiled my earnings and laid it on a few (or one) nice gift for mother dearest. So, here it is: my holiday list for the women in our lives who deserve a round trip ticket to Tahiti but aren't going to be getting it from us!
(And, Mom, if you're reading this.... spoiler alert!)
At the risk of sounding completely sexist (my mom is a born-again baker and she knows it, she lives it, she loves it), a crisp linen Williams Sonoma apron is the tell-all gift my mom has unknowingly needed for awhile, and currently $14. Through the years, she’s shuffled through trendy, frilly types—some hand sewn Christmas gifts from old neighbors and whatnot—but watching her slave in her best dress over Thanksgiving dinner made me realize that the woman needs a classy HQ apron. And, if you dip into Williams Sonoma at the right times, you’ll get them for less than their typical $30-something. These are true chef’s aprons, and worth every penny. They are titanium durable. Invest.
The style gods are watching over us, evidenced by the timeless faux fur pillow. We grabbed two from our local Restoration Hardware and have never looked back. If I could afford it, you would find me with faux fur-lined walls and drowning in an overlarge, European-style pile of faux fur pillows. Even if your mom hates pillows (not possible) there is a 98% chance that she will instantly stroke the gift and raise her eyebrows, followed by an audible, “Oh.”
While we’re talking faux fur, the #1 burrito of comfort is Pottery Barn’s faux fur blanket (although a little birdie told me they’re cheaper at Restoration Hardware… hmm). I don’t feel the need to describe the goodness to you — if you aren’t sold by now, great. Leave the blankets to the rest of us.
My mom has been begging for 3 years to have her Instagram turned into supreme, 60-page spreads called Chatbooks. This is a hometown company and a good one. They turn your Instagrams to print and have a rockin’ customer service department. When I typically start working on a printed photo project, I grit down, huff a sigh, and pull out the chips and salsa, because it’s a hellish process. With Chatbooks, not so much. The whole sit-down-and-order-my-mom’s-last-6-years-online took a mere five minutes. Consider me wowed.
I remember the year my mom got one of these under the tree. She squealed for days and cooked up a storm. (I also remember, as a kid, dreading the day when I would look at kitchen appliances with the same fervor. Here we are.) Either way, I don’t think our stomachs have had it so good since. Bless her. **SIDE NOTE: Many recipes that require a stockpot call for an 8 quart. This is a pretty magical deal on a tried-and-true brand. Worth every penny.
Jewelry is a tricky one for many moms, which means solid gold, semi-timeless bar necklaces are the quickest way to go high quality with a touch of daughterly goodness. And Made By Mary necklaces do the job exquisitely. I can attest to the fact that the gold doesn’t tarnish (at least not from my experience), and the material is solid.
“The Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead.
Double check to see if Mama’s already scratched this one, since the book was a Pultizer Prize winner from 2017 and a vitally important, ethos-driven ride through the fight for freedom during the slave era and pre-Civil War. You know moms. They love to cry at these kinds of things.
“Sing For Your Life” by Daniel Bergner
I haven’t yet read this, but the reviews are raving, and the premise is enchanting to me. This story is about an impoverished African American male in the throes of a violent upbringing who rose to sing in the Metropolitan Opera. Aside: Before Ben Carson was a political powerhead and just a regular, against-all-odds doctor, I read his autobiography and was floored. These stories are stunning and heart wrenching and, like I said, put humanity under a heat lamp. No better way to boil your blood than by sitting through a tale of terror and triumph. You bet I bought this $12 goldmine.
If we had it our way, we’d be sending our well-deserving moms to sublime Swiss chalets for the holidays, but since we’re poor as dirt and they deserve the world, some travel-savvy stationary will have to do. An easy little under-the-tree beauty, these pretty sketched cards are the perfect stocking stuffer and thoughtful gift for your classical, timeless mother. Maybe someday we’ll stick a plane ticket in there with it. Sigh.
Artifact Uprising's Wood Calendar
Besides being pleasant to look at, this petit photo calendar makes for a lively look book. Plus, this memorabilia is the stuff that makes mama bears weepy. Rummaging through the years' past and (undeniably) being a gift that she'll use all year, this timeless company has scored again. Gah, I love Artifact Uprising more than my firstborn. I didn't say that.
- A subscription to Bon Appétit magazine
- A soft space-dyed throw from West Elm (and under $20)
- The best-smelling Votivo candle of humankind
- A cozy pajamas set for $15
- A Pépin oil dispenser from Sur la Table
There is no way to pay our dues to our precious, primal mothers. And, the odds are we’re running on low budgets and trying to provide them with a lifetime of treasures. What a task it is. But, since they are our mothers, they take every tiny trinket (handmade or last-minute), and hold it so dear. Or they return it and cash in on something new. Either way, very special feeling.