Best Mother’s Day gifts

Crystal Intini Alperin

Mother’s Day isn’t just for moms. It’s also a great opportunity to recognize all the special, strong women who have made a difference in our lives and those who continue to make a difference, even those who have moved or live far from us.

This week, I received an email from a reader and fellow blogger, Kate, who wishes to celebrate all of the many women and her family’s in her lives, many of whom live far away.

Dear Crystal,

We have many special women in our lives who live far away. Each year, I resolve to come up with a fantastic Mother’s Day gift idea for these ladies well in advance of the shipping deadline. Every year, I find myself scrambling to get something in the mail at the last minute because the ingenious new gift idea never materializes in my brain. These great grandmas, great aunts, or friends don’t need little trinkets to clutter their homes, and I am bored with sending framed photos of the kids.

Can you help me with some ideas for easily shipped Mother’s Day gifts?



Dear Kate,

Thank you so much for reading my column and for contacting me. You are so very blessed to have so many special women in your lives, and it is truly admirable that you take the time to celebrate each one despite the distance. I also love that you have requested ideas outside of framed pictures and trinkets. While I’m sure those gifts are appreciated, it will be an equally lovely surprise to send something new or unexpected.

Here are some Mother’s Day gift ideas which are easy: easy to ship, easy to make or assemble and easy on a budget!

1. Book of the Month Club. Start a new long-distance tradition: Purchase a book for her and one for you. Wrap it with a note to call you before she unwraps it. While you are on the phone, explain how much she means to you and how important she is in your life. Have her open the book and suggest starting a book club. Schedule a time each week to call each other, Face Time or communicate to discuss the book and your lives. I guarantee she’ll love it!

Variation: Include other members of your family, too. This is a great way to connect your kids with long distance relatives, too.

2. Recipe book. Whether you buy a traditional recipe book with recipe cards from the store or you print out some of your favorite recipes, slip them into page protectors and assemble the pages into a binder, those special people in your life will enjoy getting new ideas and a glimpse into your culinary adventures and preferences.

Tip: Whenever I do this for someone, I like to include my notes next to the recipe. I’ll write the many ways that I have tweaked the recipe. I’ll write if it can be made a day ahead or a month ahead and frozen. I also like to organize recipes so they create a meal: main dish recipe with 2 side dish recipes or suggestions.

Variation: Have the kids write some of their recipes or pick some of their favorite recipes to include in the book. Younger kids can illustrate it. Older kids can write the recipes or share ones they have created.

3. Pen Pal of the Month Club. Purchase or create 12 cards with envelopes and personalize them for each recipient by including pictures of things they love (dogs, cats, flowers, knitting needles and yarn, etc). Tie them with a string. Include a handwritten note with a promise to be their pen pal for a year or more.

Tip: Be extra helpful and pre-address the envelopes and affix stamps to them as well. Schedule a day each month to sit down and write your letter. Include candid pictures, drawings made my you or your children, articles of interest from magazines, papers or printed from an online source, etc.

4. Gift Cards for Local Restaurants. Everyone loves a good meal and a night out, especially when someone else is paying for it. Search for reviews of local restaurants in their area, print the restaurant’s online menu, and send a gift card.

5. Something Small, Sweet and Personal. What do you remember most about the person you are surprising? What favorite memory do you have with them? What inside jokes do you share? Buy something small and meaningful to send with a handwritten note explaining why you are sending it. Even basic items can transform to pure magic when they trigger a shared memory, laughter and smiles miles away from where you are.

May your gifts always be well-received and may joy fill your heart as you give.  If you’re not already a  fan of Kate’s tip-filled, eco-friendly, education and funny blog, The Reluctant Hippie, I highly recommend you check it out and subscribe!

Yours in Gift-Giving Delight,

Crystal Intini-Alperin

Challenge to readers: Do you need gift ideas for upcoming parties, events or birthdays? I would love to help you! Email me at with the occasion details, and I will feature your gift conundrum, preserve your anonymity and try my best to provide you with a suggestion or two. Visit the about page of this blog to learn more about me and my goals to inspire your gift-giving spirit!