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Gift Ideas for Mother's Day

Frugal Crafts and Homemade Gifts (featured column)

Great Gift Ideas for Mother's Day

As we continue to add more of our favorite frugal gift ideas for our moms on MOTHER'S DAY, we hope you will join us by sending us a gift idea that you have made, or received from your family. Send an email to us at Great Gift Ideas for Mother's Day, we'd love to hear from you!

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The Gift of Time

"Give mom the gift of TIME, your time! Let her know how much you always appreciated the time that she gave to you and everything she always does for you. Make a meal for her, wash the clothes, take her to her favorite place (shopping, the book store etc.) and top it off by running her a nice hot bath filled with bubbles and an hour all to herself. Now 'that's' a Happy Mothers Day!" - Jan H.

Breakfast in Bed

"Serve mom breakfast in bed, complete with a small vase of fresh flowers from the garden, it will be a Mother's Day she will treasure for years to come!" - Michelle

While You Were Out

"Last year we did our version of While You Were Out. Our Dad took our Mom away for the weekend and we (her children) along with our spouses remodeled her kitchen and bath. We painted the walls and ceilings, and replaced old light fixtures. It was a lot of fun, and Mom was SO HAPPY. We video taped during and when they walked in the door. The video is definitely priceless!" - Keena

Misc. Gift Ideas

"Homemade tapes of music, blue grass, gospel, classical and etc.  Instant coffee, homemade cookies.

Tea bags, old tea cup and saucer from thrift store, honey bear (Earl Gray tea, Sleeping Time Tea, Ginger Tea, Constant Comment, Red Zinger)

Church cook books, new or used.  Flour sifter, measuring cup, measuring spoons.

Cute clean yard sale vase full of Iris flowers from the garden (or others) tied with a raffia piece or gold or silver string around the vase and a heartfelt note or a poem found in an old book.

Homemade pot holders.  Tied in a pile w/ a cinnamon stick.

Three new bottles of spice from the grocery store or farmer's market. With a nice note.  Look in their cabinets when they aren't looking or have the kids spy.

Xerox or two of grandmother as a little girl and as a young mother and one or two recipes she had or that were prepared in her house hold. Place in a little 1.00 photo album from Dollar Store.  This is a good multiple gift when giving to lots of people inside or outside the family.  Have the kids "hand color" xerox pictures with soft shadings of colored pencils.  Their efforts are charming no matter what!

Homemade date nut bread wrapped in aluminum foil with some cream cheese. And maybe an instant coffee.  A person can live off this for a week! Avoid: I made home made peanut brittle for Christmas - this is only good if you give people a 1,000 dollar gift certificate to the dentist to go with it!  Trust me. Also, avoid gifts that have religious significance only to you.

Save pretty dollar store rolls of contact paper to cover shoe boxes etc. to package gifts." - Susan H.

Home Video

"With the price of gas soaring these days, I found a frugal way to give mom an extra special Mother's Day present.  Many of us will not be able to travel hundreds of miles to see our moms this year.  Instead we have  decided to make a video and send it to Mom.  I am going to tape my son  practicing his Tae Kwon Do moves and my daughter rehearsing for her dance  recital.  I'll include a brief message and then send the video to my  sister.  She will then film her family.  She will send it to my mom  right before her special day.  It's much more economical than driving and  it is a gift she can enjoy again and again!" -
For Mother's Day and Father's Day

"I know the little cafe that my parents like to go out for an occasional meal. I called the place and talked to the manager and bought them a gift certificate for whatever amount I can afford (since we live so far apart). I try to make it between $25-$50 dollars. This works out great since it gives my folks a chance to have a treat and they don't get anymore things to have to find a place for. After this all I need to do is get a card off in the mail." - Lisa

Practical Gifts

"Often, giving gifts someone can really use ends up being one of the most frugal things you can do.  Last Christmas, my husband and I added our son to our AAA account for very little money.  He already has a cell phone, so for his birthday we added him to our cell plan at a cost of $10 per month (this may be a lot to some people, but the cost is spread out, besides, he can't use the excuse he has no way to call home). Just make sure you trust the person you're giving this gift to. I've had masses said for my mom (could have been free, but I gave a donation - I'm nothing if not grateful). My grandson's mother is in college, so I bought her some savings bonds for her retirement (seems strange, but we'd been talking about her retiring years down the road).  She can use some now, if she needs them, but if she waits until retirement, they will double in value. You can buy them in as little as $25 denominations." - Terry S. in OH

Garden Help

"I enjoy having a vegetable garden each year, but physically cannot do all of the ground preparation and planting alone.  To my husband and kids this is just work, not something they get excited about.  Several years ago, I told them I would rather have them help put in the garden instead of buying a gift for Mother's Day.  So now each Mother's Day we all go outside and put in the garden.  They save the money they would have spent on gifts, I get the garden in without anyone complaining, and we all work together enjoying each others company.  What more could a mother want?" - Laurene

Around the House

"Thank you for your wonderful newsletter - I really enjoy reading it every time.  Something that we have done in our family for MANY occasions (Mother's day - my birthday etc.) is doing an extra chore. For example on my last birthday - knowing that my 4 teenagers were really strapped for money, I asked them for extra chores to be done. For the week of my birthday I had no bathrooms or toilets to clean, no vacuuming to do, my car was washed and a wonderful extra was that one of my older sons waxed my wooden floor. I was ABSOLUTELY delighted with these gifts and the only thing that it cost my kids was their time and energy. Everyone was a winner. I am hoping that they ask if they can do this same kind of gift for Mother's Day this year. Keep up the good work!" - Avril S.

Family Photo Album

"Gift idea for a mother with older children and grandchildren. For my mom's birthday, my sisters and I made her a small photo album that contained special family photos.  But the best part of the gift was the handwritten notes everyone in the family wrote to her telling her how much she  means to us all. Even the little grandkids wrote notes.  Those that were too tiny to speak gave their grandmother a handprint.  We posted each note on a separate page of the album.  This gift was so cheap money-wise, but it was really priceless!" - JB

Friend Memory Jar

"One of the best gifts I ever gave was for my wonderful mil's 70th birthday. This is a woman who has enough money in the bank to be more than comfortable, is quite healthy, and lives in a two-bedroom unit.  So there's not a lot that she needs or wants. Get a nice glass jar, decorate lovingly with glass paints, usually with the name of the recipient, and perhaps with more detail of a personal nature (mine, very obviously had my mil's name and "Happy 70th" with the date as well), and then, at the celebration, or before hand, have nice pieces of notepaper and some good pens (you DON'T want things blotting and running, yecch!) and get the nearest and dearest to write down their fondest memories of the person involved.  At the end of the night, or on the special day, a great presentation is made.  This is also terrific to cheer up a friend suffering from depression.  It's amazing how depressed people can make excuses as to why people spend time with them." - Leonie

Vase Family Memory Jar

"I wanted to submit a great gift I gave to my mom for last Mother's Day. It can be used for a birthday or any other kind of gift. I went to Marshall's and bought a pretty vase type holder & filled it with memories that we had as a family.  I wrote each one on a small piece of colored paper, folded it in quarters.  I tied a pretty bow around the "vase" and called it a memory jar.  My mom was thrilled & she loves/loved reading all the different memories.  I can also add "memories" as time goes on. I know it is not a handmade craft but the cost was so small & the gift was priceless." - Jackee Kaplan

50 Memories

"For Mother's Day, my husband heard of an idea that he wants me to do for my mom... write down 50 memories of time spent with my mom.  I'm going to do that.  She doesn't need anything and will absolutely cherish it.  Have a great Spring!" - C. Kimberley

Fairy Garden Kit

"For a birthday gift for a friend of mine, I created a Fairy Garden Kit which would work well for Mother's Day as well. You can purchase small gardening tools at discount places such as Dollar General, Big Lots, etc... a half apron is very simple to make on the sewing machine to put gloves, seed packets etc in. Purchase a small window box and some seed packets, then place everything in the box like a gift basket. Makes a wonderful display. To top it off, add clearanced doll furniture to make a Fairy haven. I used a scrap book and colored paper to print off directions for making a fairy garden, history of fairies, and original fairy artwork by me. Very hands on gift that she adores. Change the theme to suit anyone." - Krista Ridge of NC


"How about a gas card? Since gas is so expensive." - Cindy

Spring Flowers

"My mother is elderly and therefore has very limited mobility.  She loves flowers so for every Mother's Day I go to Wal-mart and buy annuals (.99 cents) and plant her flowers for her every spring. She so looks forward to this and it gives for the whole season! - Jenny

No Whining Certificate

"Give your mom certificates that say for example "1 day of NO whining," then write on another paper "1 night of doing dishes," or other helpful chores.  These make a great gift." - Crazed Mama

ABC's of Mom & Birthday Calendar

"One of the best Mother's Day gifts I've ever given my mom is an ABC's of mom book.  I took a small photo album and wrote things that begin with each letter that remind me of her.  A-always there for me, B-beautiful, C-cares about everyone, etc.  My daughter illustrated the book and we wrapped it up nice and pretty.  My mom cried as she read it and couldn't believe we took so much time on a gift for her.

Another idea that I've not done yet but plan to is to get a perpetual calendar and put a picture of each family member on their birthday date.  This will help her remember and I may even add some inexpensive cards so she'll be ready." - Kim of Kentucky

Grandchildren Frame

"On my mother and my MIL's last birthdays, since they were close together and money was tight, I took pictures of my boys in different poses and then created a neat collage of them on an 8-1/2 x 11 sheet of paper.  I used a picture of them each by themselves and then used one of them together in between their solo pics.  I laid the page out landscape and centered the pictures in the middle, and on the top had in big letters BROTHERS and on the bottom, underneath their pictures, it said in the same big letters, FRIENDS.  Then after printing out 2 copies in color on nice paper, I went to the dollar store and got frames and gave my mom and my MIL the framed collage I made of their grandsons." - Shannon

Mom Coupons

"Make coupons for mom, saying, 'I will wash the dishes every night for a week!,' or 'This coupon is good for three backrubs!'" - Olivia

Photo Slide Show

"All you need is an unused CD and a computer with Word Power Point. I tried it last year for the first time and my mom loved it. She's a crier, so she cried. And she said that it was the best mother's day gift ever!" - Jana V.

Peaceful Bath 

"I bought my mum a magazine with candles and bath foam. Took down the shower curtain-this makes a nice bath time for her. Left her alone for an hour. Cheap, and she loved it!" - Julian S.


"You can make homemade jewelry for your mom. It's easy to do. Great gifts for Mother's Day, birthdays, and Christmas." - Natalie B. (10 years old)

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