Shopping·11 min read

Mother's Day Gift Ideas for the Mom Who Returns Everything

mother's day gift ideas
Design: theSkimm | Images: Brightland, Terrain, Petite Plume
April 18, 2024

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Some moms are just harder to buy for than others. For instance, there’s the mom whose tastes run more expensive than your budget allows, the picky mom (or, as she would likely say, discerning), and the mom who simply refuses to accept gifts of any kind.

If your mom falls into any of the above categories, you’re in the right place. We pulled together the gifts that she won’t return as soon as you’re not looking, from items that seem more expensive than they are to crowd-pleasing home goods she’ll actually use — plus some edible gifts that she couldn’t return even if she tried. The oldest trick in the book.

For more of our favorite Mother's Day gifts, click here.

atlas coffee mother's day gift set
Atlas Coffee

A selection of premium coffees and teas...

As long as your mom drinks either coffee or tea, she’s going to like this. It’s a one-time gift box containing four bags each of herbal tea and specialty single-origin coffee from around the world, plus postcards from each country as an extra keepsake. To make this even more foolproof for you, you can choose to send her either whole beans or ground coffee. ($79, Atlas Coffee)    

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Sweet Zzz Bamboo Sheets
Sweet Zzz

A fresh set of bamboo sheets...

We know that buying bedding for someone else is a little risky (sheets, like pillows, are deeply personal), but bamboo sheets are about as universally crowd-pleasing as you can get. The 400-thread count is softer than Egyptian cotton, and it’s naturally temperature-regulating to suit cold and hot sleepers alike. A brand-new set of sheets is the ultimate way to spoil your mom. And the price point here is just so good. ($89.60+, Sweet Zzz)

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Quince Mongolian Cashmere Throw

A cashmere throw she'll love to have around the house...

We guarantee that your mom will find a place for this cashmere throw. It’s made of pure cashmere, so it’s lightweight yet cozy and can be used year-round, either at the foot of her bed or tossed over her desk chair. If you also have a mom who’s always cold, she’ll probably wrap it glamorously around her person and wear it around the house. Choose from two sizes and six colors (if in doubt, go for heather gray or cream). ($129.90+, Quince)

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Linen napkins she'll use for all her dinner parties...

There’s a lot to be said about the millennial/boomer divide, but chief among them — for today’s purposes, anyway — is that boomers feel strongly about using cloth napkins for special occasions, and we admire that about them. These Material napkins are made of flax linen with a naturally rumpled texture that looks incredibly chic — think Nancy Meyers kitchen vibes. Pick up a set for yourself so she doesn’t yell at you again for setting the table with paper towels. ($55+, Material)

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Petite Plume Pima Robe
Petite Plume

A classic monogrammed robe...

Show us a mom who doesn’t want a monogrammed robe, and we’ll show you a mom who’s lying to you about the kinds of gifts she wants you to get for her. We’re big fans of Petite Plume’s Pima cotton pajamas and robes — they’re soft, lightweight, don’t make us sweaty, and make bedtime feel much more luxurious. We especially love the classic contrast piping on this robe. And of course, the (optional) monogram, whose color and font you can choose. ($118+, Petite Plume)

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flamingo estate roma heirloom tomato candle

A luxury candle in a fresh new scent...

It is a truth universally acknowledged that candles make the best gifts for people who are hard to buy for. This one from Flamingo Estate smells like heirloom tomatoes, the new It candle fragrance, so it’ll likely be a little more unique than what she already has. She’ll burn this in the kitchen all summer long. ($58, Terrain)

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Le Creuset Small Stoneware Vase
Le Creuset

A multitasking vase from a classic homeware brand...

Another sneaky gift-giving tactic: Get them a reasonably priced item from a luxury brand. This stoneware vase from Le Creuset has floral-inspired ruffled edges and comes in six elegant colors with an ombré-effect glaze. If she’s not a flower person, she can use this for serving sauces and dressings — the finish is microwave- and dishwasher-safe — or even storing pens and pencils on her desk. ($31.99, Amazon)

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glass carafe with tumbler

A glass carafe and tumbler for her bedside table...

This fluted glass carafe and tumbler set is a chicer alternative to keeping a water bottle on her bedside table. It’s also lovely for a guest bedroom if she often has guests (or you) stay over. We love the selection of bright colors on offer, like trendy cobalt blue. ($17.99+, Amazon)

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Brightland The Duo

The olive oil duo that belongs in every kitchen...

Even if her cooking skills begin and end with arranging a salad, she’ll love this olive oil set from Brightland. It comes with the brand’s two signature cold-pressed olive oils: one that’s best for cooking, and one for dressing or drizzling. The bottles are pretty enough to leave out on display. Special 🤝 practical. ($74, Brightland)

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Etsy Botanical Taper Candles
WildflowerAndFernCo via Etsy

Taper candles made with hand-harvested botanicals...

These beautiful handmade taper candles are pressed with real flowers, seed pods, and ferns gathered from the maker’s farm in Pennsylvania. She’ll no doubt appreciate the love and care with which they’re made. They come in a set of two, and you can choose which botanical you’d like. Complete the gift with a nice candle holder. ($24, WildflowerAndFernCo via Etsy)

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Weezie Makeup Towels

Makeup-removing towels that won't stain...

These cult-favorite Weezie towels are specially designed for makeup removal, thanks to the ultra-soft terry cloth that’s gentle on sensitive skin and eyes, and the dark blue color that won’t stain. You can customize your set with a monogram as an extra giftable moment. ($36+, Weezie)

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Anthropologie Ribbed Circular Pendant Necklace

A necklace that'll inspire her summer vacation wardrobe...

This pendant looks so much more expensive than it is, especially as styled on the model above with this linen crop top. Between the chunky, woven gold pendant and textured adjustable cord in rich navy, it’s giving Greek Island vacation/Meryl Streep in “Mamma Mia.” The ultimate summer style icon, as far as we (and probably your mom) are concerned. ($48, Anthropologie)

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Bouqs Potted Mini Orchid Trio

A unique take on a bouquet...

Flowers for Mother’s Day may be clichéd, but it’s a cliché that works. We like this trio of mini orchids rather than a traditional bouquet. Orchids are notoriously hard to kill, so they’ll last her much longer than a traditional bouquet, and they come in chic pots made of a lightweight recycled plastic that looks like concrete. And they’re sourced straight from an independently owned farm in California. A beautiful gift all around. ($79, Bouqs)

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Where Should We Begin: A Game of Stories

A card game that'll deepen your bond...

Several of our editors have this card stack from world-renowned couples therapist Esther Perel, and we all highly recommend it. At least one of us (👋) has played it with our parents, and can confirm that it inspires deeper conversations and helped us learn much more about them. Just leave the spicy cards out of it. PS: Read our full review of this conversation game here. ($40, Amazon)

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Naturopathica Lavender and Honey Face Mist

A face mist that feels amazing on every skin type...

We would typically warn against buying skincare for a picky giftee, but you truly can’t go wrong with this Naturopathica face mist — it’ll work for any skin type and fit seamlessly into even the most airtight routines. It’s made with lavender and manuka honey to soothe, balance, and hydrate, and since it doesn’t contain any actives, it won’t interfere with whatever retinol or exfoliant she’s using. Great for midday refreshes, an extra dose of hydration before her moisturizer, wetting a makeup sponge…there’s no wrong way to use it. ($42, Naturopathica)

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magnolia bakery pudding multipack
Magnolia Bakery

The slept-on dessert from a beloved bakery…

Magnolia Bakery is most famous for being the bakery that kicked off the Great Cupcake Craze of the Mid-Aughts, but we think their banana pudding is the true hero. This sampler pack includes two each of Red Velvet, Chocolate Hazelnut, and Classic Banana Pudding cups. They also freeze well, so she can always have a sweet treat on hand. That’s love. ($64, Magnolia Bakery)

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Online classes from world-famous instructors...

If your mom is more of an “experiences” person than a “things” person, a MasterClass subscription is the perfect gift. She can learn about virtually anything she’s been curious about, at her own pace, from the very best in their fields — think entrepreneurship with Martha Stewart, personal style with Tan France, and makeup with Bobbi Brown. Honestly, the roster of MasterClass teachers gets more impressive every year. Maybe she’ll even let you audit a class with her. ($10+/month, MasterClass)

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