What to Buy the Mom or Mother-in-law Who has Everything

Updated on May 9, 2013

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Buying a Gift for the Woman that has Everything

Do you have a woman in your life that is perpetually difficult to shop for? I have three. With a Mother, Stepmother, and Mother-in-Law who all seem to have everything, gift-giving can be especially difficult. After years of navigating birthdays, Mother's Days, and Christmases, I've put together some great ideas for gifts for the special women in our lives and let them know that we care.

Also, prior to making your purchase, check out my Hubs on How to Save the Most Online and How to Save Money on Gifts: The Best Daily Deal Sites for getting great bargains.

Gifts for the Athletic Woman

The great thing about shopping for an athletic woman is that there are always great new products coming out, so it will be likely that there is a product that the person you are shopping for does not yet have. Here are some unique ideas:

  1. Quick Dry Towel- If you know that the woman you are shopping for goes to the gym or pool for a workout, chances are, they will bring a towel with them. They are generally made of microfiber which makes them very absorbent and fast drying. They are also lightweight and compact which makes them ideal for a gym bag. These types of towels are also great for backpackers, hikers, and campers. Many companies make these types of towels, but some great examples are the Discovery Ultra Fast Dry Towel, the Sea to Summit Towel, and the Aqua Sphere Aqua Dry Towel.
  2. Battery Heated Glove Liners- Perfect for skiers, snowboarders, runners, campers, and more...battery heated glove liners will keep any athlete warm in chilly weather conditions. Traditional glove liners also make a great gift if they are of decent quality. You can find battery heated liners at Brookstone or Amazon and traditional liners at any sporting goods store.
  3. Shake Flashlight- One of the best gifts that I ever received was a flashlight that recharges just by shaking it. For those of us that are perpetually bad at buying or recharging batteries, these types of flashlights can be a lifesaver. You never have to purchase batteries or new bulbs. These flashlights are perfect for the outdoorsy athletes in your life. Find online, in sporting goods, or in camping stores.
  4. Personal Fitness Trackers- If you are shopping for someone who is new to working out, chances are that they will not yet have a device to track distance traveled, calories burned, or time invested. Pedometers, GPS systems, and simple calorie counters are all great ideas. Since there is a wide range of quality and price levels, you'll want to do some research first.
  5. Roller or Foam Massage Tool- These are the latest craze with athletes and relatively inexpensive. A handheld massage roller tool can be used to perform deep tissue massage, trigger point therapy and sports massage therapy. They can also relive stress and tightness and improve circulation. These are great for runners, weight-lifters, swimmers, tennis players, and pretty much any athlete.

If you have an athlete in your life that you shop for often, signing up for emails from a site like Active.com will help you to stay on target with the latest fitness trends and products for any future gift-giving needs.

Gifts for the Traveler

Do you have a woman in your life that travels a lot for work or pleasure? If so, they could get a lot of use out of some of the following gifts:

  1. Travel Pillow and/or Blanket- While this is not a new concept, travel pillows and blankets can wear out overtime, and there are always new and improved models coming out. Newer models are generally more comfortable and more compact for easier traveling. Check out the Bucky Utopia Neck Pillow With Buckybag.
  2. Airline Miles- If the woman in your life loves to travel, but is on a budget, you can purchase miles or vouchers for an airline that they travel frequently. Also, if the woman in your life lives far away, this can be a great purchase to be able to see your family more often.
  3. Travel Money Wallet or Organizer- Move over fanny packs...there are hip, slim models of travel organizers and wallets that can hold passports, money and more while keeping these valuables out of reach from strangers. One option is the Victorinox Travel Organizer which can be found at Amazon or a variety of other sites.
  4. Compact Umbrella- Most travelers know that it is key to bring an umbrella with them in case of rain, but carrying a bulky umbrella can be very cumbersome. You can find umbrellas that are only 6 inches long or even smaller that open into full sized umbrellas. These are great to fit into a purse, luggage, or even pocket for those inclement weather days. A great option is the Totes Isotoner Micro Umbrella.
  5. Travel Washbag- When traveling, especially on a long trip, it can often be difficult to find a place to wash your clothes. wash bag is the best way to wash clothes while traveling. There is a great new product, called a washbag, that requires no power or electricity and allows you to wash clothes for free. Check out the Scrubba Wash bag.
  6. Compact Tripod- Most travelers take lots of photos, so it can be great to have a tripod handy. You can purchase tripods that fold up for easily bringing with you on your travels. These greatly range in price to fit any budget. One example is the Ravelli APLT2 49" Light Weight Aluminum Tripod With Bag.

Gifts for the Sentimental Mom

While loving and caring are top on the mother job description, some mothers are more sentimental than others. Here are some gift ideas for the sentimental mom:

  1. Photo Book- Many websites these days allow you to create photo scrapbooks online. These books can be fairly cheap, especially if you do some research first on how to save money online. Create a book of your favorite memories with mom or create a book of grandchildren photos. Either one is sure to please. Some websites to check out are Shutterfly.com, MyPublisher.com, and Snapfish.com.
  2. Sentimental Jewelry- Many jewelry stores will allow you to customize jewelry; especially necklaces and bracelets. Consider incorporating gems or charms to represent the women or children in your life. Try using family birthstones, initials, or just charms that remind you of the specific person.
  3. Family Recipe or Memory Scrapbook- Collect favorite recipes from the women in your family or have each family member create a scrapbook page of thoughts and memories of the woman in your life. Then compile these all into a book or other format.
  4. Family Tree or Ancestry Research- Create a family tree represented in a craft or digital format. Or, you can do some ancestry research online and compile results in a creative way.
  5. Family Interviews- So many family memories can easily get lost over the years. Preserve these memories by taking video or notes of interviews of various family members. It can be especially interesting to get the different perspectives from grandparents and children. Here are some references for interview questions to get you started:

Gifts of Services

For the woman that pretty much owns every product under the sun, or continuously purchases the things that she needs, purchasing a service can be a great option. Here are some examples:

  1. Manicure or Pedicure- Almost every woman enjoys a manicure or pedicure, but not every woman feels comfortable spending the money on herself. These are a great relaxing gift.
  2. Massage- Similar to the manicure or pedicure, massages will make your mother feel pampered and may not be something that she'd buy for herself.
  3. Lesson- Depending on your mother's interests, there is a likely a lesson that she'd enjoy. For instance, cooking lessons, golf lessons, yoga sessions, painting lessons, etc can be a great gift. If you live near the woman in your life, you can participate in the lesson as well. Many areas offer unique lessons like a sushi making class, or a class where you paint while drinking wine. These are great bonding experiences and very unique gifts.
  4. Meal or Dining Experience- Whether you purchase a gift card to your mother's favorite restaurant or cook a special meal for mom, she could certainly use a break from cooking for an evening.
  5. Field Trip!- Many women just want to spend time with their children or grandchildren. Consider taking a trip to a zoo, museum, or gallery. Or you could go see a play, sporting event, or other activity that Mom enjoys.

Often times you can find great service deals on Daily Deal Sites. Check out my Hub on The Best Daily Deal Sites for some ideas.

Free Gift Ideas

Whether on a budget or shopping for a woman that never wants you to spend money on her, it is always great to have some free gift ideas. Here are some options:

  1. Family Cooking Experience- For a fun bonding experience, you could meet up for an afternoon together and make some childhood favorites or decide to make some of Grandma's favorite recipes. This is also a great way to get children and extended family involved.
  2. Free Local Activities- Whether taking advantage of a local park or free museum, spending time together is often the best gift. Check out the newspaper or city website for ideas of free places to go.
  3. Game Night- When was the last time you had a family game night...especially with Mom involved? Not only can you enjoy some free entertainment and bonding, but it can bring back fun memories of childhood games.
  4. Homemade Gifts- Homemade gifts are perfect for gifts from children, but they are not just for kids anymore! If you haven't already checked out Pinterest.com, it's time to go! Find wonderful, unique, and non-cheesy ideas for crafts, and other unique homemade gifts.
  5. Photos, Poems, and More- Updated photos are an old standby, but can be done in unique and creative ways these days. While you can still provide family photo to Mom, you could also put together a photo slideshow on DVD by scanning photos to the computer. Also, suggest doing a family photo session that includes mom, grandmas, or other women in your life. Get a family friend or use a tripod to take some photos of the whole group together. If you have other talents such as painting, writing poems, or instruments, these can provide great gifts as well.

Send Me Your Clever Gift Ideas for Mom!

I hope that this article has provided some great gift ideas for shopping for a tricky mother or woman in your life. If you have any clever or unique gift ideas for mom that you don't mind sharing, I'd love for you to post them in the comments below and I will add them above. Thanks and happy shopping!


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    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      You have included many ideas that will fit well with the ones I am going to give gifts.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      my mother in law likes the massage roller but when someone bought a massage chair, she threw the roller away

    • Thrifty Lady profile image

      Thrifty Lady 4 years ago

      Happy to help iguidenetwork! I'm sure your mom would love a getaway :)

    • iguidenetwork profile image

      iguidenetwork 4 years ago from Austin, TX

      These are great suggestions... I admit that as a guy I find it very hard to think of gifts for my mother without her complaining that it's wrong, that it doesn't fit, etc. Maybe I could give her a short getaway holiday and a lovely dinner... With flowers maybe... Thanks for your fantastic hub btw

    • Thrifty Lady profile image

      Thrifty Lady 4 years ago

      Great idea with the phone. We recently started using Skype to chat with family members and they are all so excited that we are able to see each other on the calls. It makes it so much more personal when you are talking from a distance.

    • Rpenafiel profile image

      Rpenafiel 4 years ago from United States

      I certainly agree! The simplest, unique, practical, and handcrafted gifts can be considered the most thoughtful gifts that a mom could ever have; those that are delicately crafted out of love and personal touch. A gift is even more meaningful if meant to make their life better. Like the Just5 phone that I gave my mom a week ago. We barely see each other lately, and she was so thankful that now she’s got a way to call me when I am out late from work.

    • Thrifty Lady profile image

      Thrifty Lady 4 years ago

      I couldn't agree more Ceres!

    • Ceres Schwarz profile image

      Ceres Schwarz 4 years ago

      These are all very good Mother's Day gift ideas especially for those that are having trouble choosing what kind of gifts to give their mothers. But people should also remember that even the simplest gifts can mean a lot to their mothers as long as they are sincere and the gift comes from the heart.