Moms get the most well-meaning gifts every year for Christmas, and most of us receive them with grace and poise. But jeez, wouldn't it be great if we could just send a memo to all the people shopping for presents that there are some gifts no mom wants? Consider this that memo.
All moms are different, and all families are different, so while one mom might really want a new sink faucet (I'm looking at you, dear mother-in-law), that doesn't appeal to 99 percent of the moms out there. Most moms, barring a few exceptions, really don't want appliances that have to be replaced because another one died, and they don't want new pets that they know they'll bear the brunt of taking care of, and under no circumstances do they want ugly nightgowns.
Moms want to be appreciated, and they want to be pampered a little. They want to know you took the time to think about what they might like, even if the gift is very small. A gift certificate to a local cafe and a promised lunch date with her favorite daughter or with her husband without toddlers to wrangle isn't going to break your budget, but it is going to let your mom or your wife know that you thought about something she likes and want to spend time with her.
Start by staying away from this list of gifts we shouldn't be giving moms and you'll be off to a good start!
A new fridge because yours died the week before Christmas? Call it a gift for the family, if you must, but don't call it mom's gift. She's certainly not the only one who uses the fridge! Same goes for vacuum cleaners, irons, dishwashers, and ovens. If it's something the household needs anyway, no matter how fancy, don't get it for mom for Christmas.
2. Ugly Nightgowns
Why do moms seem to be magnets for ugly nightgowns? Nightwear in general can be really tricky to get right, so if you're leaning that direction, opt for a luxurious, yet cozy robe that won't make her look like a yeti.
3. Anything Handmade If You're Over The Age Of 15
DIY gifts have come a long way in the last decade, but still, if you're heading toward or already in adulthood, skip the handmade gifts unless you are an actual craftsman or are exceptionally good at DIY. Anything with Elmer's glue or a stapler should definitely be nixed from your list when you're out of middle school.
4. IOUs For Housework
How about just help her more with the housework on the regular, rather than promising to do it for a holiday present that she will then probably have to nag you about later? Unless you're promising to take over an entire task forever, you can't call it a Christmas present.
5. An Oil Change
Anything to do with maintaining a car should not be considered a good gift for a mom. There are exceptions, however, like a remote starter kit installed for your mom who hates the cold with all her being, or fancy gloves she can wear driving but also for other occasions.
6. Adventure Gifts
This might sound obvious, but we're talking about the gifts that you think will "push a mom out of her comfort zone," like ice skating lessons or a trip to Timbuktu. A fraction of moms are up for adventure gifts, but if you're gifting a mom something just to get her out of her comfort zone, that's not what Christmas is for and can come across as a little bossy and a lot judgmental.
8. A Puppy
Unless mom is the ultimate dog-lover, do not get mom a puppy or a kitten or a hamster. It is more work for her with a bow on top.
My husband and I have said no gifts this year, because we are saving for other things. But that doesn't mean that I'm not planning a few special and inexpensive or free non-gift surprises for him. I'd like him to do the same. If your mom or your wife has said, "I don't need anything!" then printing a photo of your family and finding an inexpensive frame or whipping up Christmas morning brunch are things that show you care without the expense.
Especially if it's for your own mom, underwear as a gift is a total no-go. But even if it's for your wife, underwear or even lingerie can be tricky business. You're better off getting her a gift certificate to buy herself some slightly fancier basics.
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