Last-minute gifts for Mom to make up for all the times you didn’t say ‘Thank you’

These gifts are great for Mother's Day, but also great for any other giving holiday celebrating someone special in your life.
A lineup of the best Mother's Day gifts on a white background
Amanda Reed

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Mother’s Day provides an excellent opportunity for you and your siblings or children to try and one-up each other in an effort to prove yourself as The Favorite. Yes, being supportive is not a competition, but you can’t be the one who gives Mom a gift that doesn’t suit. Thankfully, the PopSci staff has extensive experience in gift-giving of almost every variety. If you’ve spent years cultivating the perfect gift for mom—or grandmom, or the mother of your children—and have run out of ideas, we have recommendations to make her smile and you shine. Win-win! 

Best coffee: Zend

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These coffee beans go way beyond that crummy old can of Folgers mom keeps on her counter. Zend coffees give a mom the option to enjoy the coffee on its own, or they can infuse them with one of three functional blends: Beauty, which supports hair, skin, and nail health; Recovery, which supports heart health and reduces inflammation; Serenity, which supports stress relief and balance. Mom deserves plenty of caffeine for everything and most definitely deserves to feel beautiful, healthy, and serene. We can’t think of a better gift if a single cup of coffee accomplishes both. Unless …

Best coffee maker for some on-the-go get-up-and-go: Nespresso VertuoPlus Coffee and Espresso Machine by De’Longhi

Best for beginners

It Doesn't Get Easier

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This machine—our best overall choice among Nespresso machines and a supremely easy espresso maker—is great for mom’s home, office, or home office: Just insert a Nespresso capsule, push a button, and watch it go. The Nespresso VertuoPlus offers options for single (1.35-ounce) espresso, double (2.7-ounce) espresso, or Americanos in 5-, 8-, or 14-ounce sizes. Any of these pours can be extracted from a single capsule. The removable water tank holds 40 ounces, and the used capsule container can store up to 12 pods before it needs emptying. This is a more hands-off option for somebody in need of a quick fix to fill their travel mug. The espresso drinks pour nicely with crema on top, though the VertuoPlus does not have a steam wand for milk, so mom will also need a frother. It does, however, come with a complimentary assortment of 12 capsules to get you started.

Best pastel pastime: Nintendo Switch Lite Animal Crossing: New Horizons Bundle – Isabelle’s Aloha Edition

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If you’re looking for a portable game system that’s kid-tested mother-approved, it’s the Nintendo Switch. Particularly the Nintendo Switch Lite. Particularly a Nintendo Switch Lite with a download code for Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The signature characters in this social sim are charming, and the gameplay is perfectly paced for winding down, not riling up the kids. But then there’s the fact that the game, and this cozy handheld printed with a leaf motif, is just as appealing to adults looking for a mental getaway. Maybe you can’t get Mom a trip to an exotic island this year, but you can offer her the chance to create her own paradise and enjoy a peaceful existence, even if it’s just for a few hours here and there.

Best for loud children: Vibes Ear Plugs

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Let us be frank: babies are not quiet. Toddlers are cacophonous. Kids make a lot of noise. You only reach silent nirvana when they ship off to college. Before then, you’ll still need to hear in case they break something or start a fight with each other. By gifting a mom these reusable high-fidelity earplugs, you’ll give them a little peace without being completely unaware of what the kids are up to. 

Best wine upgrade: Ullo Open Wine Purifier

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Enjoying a bottle of wine is all fun and games until two glasses warrant a hangover the next day. Help prevent them with the Ullo Open Wine Purifier, which uses a selective filtration system to remove sulfites and reduce the histamines that can cause headaches and hangovers—all while preserving the wine’s flavors and aromas. A built-in aeration dial lets you choose the amount of air to incorporate, from off for light whites to full air for rich red varietals. Plus, it’s easy to transport and use: just place the device over your glass and pour. Don’t worry about mess, either—the Ullo’s lid can be used as a base to rest the filter on when not used, making it perfect at home and easy to take to book club. Think mom would prefer something she doesn’t even have to carry and clean? The Ullo Uno single-use wine-purifying wands are perfect for some quick aeration and filtration of wine by the glass.

Best cookbook: Eataly: Contemporary Italian Cooking

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“What should we eat for dinner?” is sometimes the hardest question to answer. Make the decision process 100 times easier with the Eataly: Contemporary Italian Cooking cookbook, which packs 300 recipes, including pasta with cavolo nero pesto and clams. With clear instructions and helpful tips, mom won’t want to ditch the entire recipe and just order takeout (although we’re not judging if they do).

Best dinnerware: Fortessa Nosse 16 Piece Dinnerware Set

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If your mom loves to host, Fortessa’s 16-piece dinnerware set will impress all her guests. Each piece is made from a twice-fired ceramic material that’s both dishwasher- and microwave-safe. The set includes four 10.8-inch dinner plates, four 8.8-inch salad plates, four six-inch bowls, and four 12.5-ounce mugs, and is available in three colors: deep blue, stone, and terracotta. We’re especially fond of the higher curved lip on the dinner and salad plates, which are both aesthetically pleasing and prevent foods and sauces from accidentally slipping off.

Best cooking aid upgrade: Vitamix A3500 Gourmet SmartPrep Kitchen System

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Kitchen gadgets shouldn’t make life more difficult, and Vitamix’s A3500 Gourmet SmartPrep Kitchen System is a two-in-one tool that’ll cut down on mundane cooking tasks like chopping and pureeing. The blender is equipped with a powerful 2.2 horsepower motor, can crush ice into a smooth slushie consistency and demolish vegetables to make hearty, yummy soups. A 64-ounce cup means that mom can make enough servings for the whole family with enough for seconds for themselves. The blender has five distinct modes for common foods like smoothies and soups, plus a clean setting that’ll prevent food particles from remaining in the blades and bowl after it’s been used. A touchscreen on the blender’s base ensures there’s no chance of gunk accumulating around buttons. This system also comes with a food processing attachment with several blades for dicing and shredding.  We also think the Yummly—a wireless smart meat thermometer that’s app-controlled—is also a great choice if she already has a swaggy countertop appliance setup and is a fan of roasting, grilling, broiling, and more.

Best snacks: Spirit Almonds

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If there’s a mom-on-the-go in your life who can appreciate always having a snack packed, look no further than Spirit Almond. Each protein- and healthy fat-rich nut gets one of six Japanese-style flavorings: black garlic, curry, koji salt, miso, mustard, and seaweed. It comes in a handy single-serve pack to easily throw in a purse or bag (making it easy to snag one for yourself, since one gift box comes with three packs of each flavor). If they’re more of a sweet snack mom, consider the Sahale Snacks Glazed Nut Variety Pack, which adds dried fruit and expands the nut varieties to pistachios, cashews, and pecans. 

Best food prep set: Falcon Enamelware Prep Set

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Falcon’s Enamelware Prep Set is the type of gift your mom wouldn’t buy for herself, but would really enjoy if she loves cooking and baking. It’s comprised of five color-coordinated ceramic mixing bowls and a colander, all of which are dishwasher and freezer-safe. The bowls can even be used in an oven at temperatures up to 530 degrees Fahrenheit. All of the bowls fit neatly inside one another, which makes storing them simple, and their timeless style will look good in any kitchen.

Best for new moms: Birthdate Pendant

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Technically, these pendants are meant as a lovely wearable to show off the wearer’s astrology (if they’re into it). However, between the unique collection of stones for every day of the year and personal engraving, we think it makes for a great gift to celebrate a firstborn. Each stone tells the story of their birthday, including their birthstone. Talk about a personalized gift. 

Best shoes: Allbirds

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Moms are always on their feet, between running after grandkids or working off all the child-related stress at the gym. Between their lack of flashy logos and synthetic materials, Allbirds is a natural gift for moms: they’re stylish, comfortable, and come in plenty of styles: Need some business-professional flats? They have that. Need some running shoes? They have those, too. The company itself is dedicated to sustainability, so you can feel good gifting them.  

Best for working moms: Troubadour Ember bag

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Work backpacks don’t have to be boring. This leather-and-neoprene variety has a waterproof lining to keep things dry, a sturdy grip handle that won’t break on the go, and a trolley sleeve for use as a carry-on. The main compartment folds down once opened for easy access to essentials, and a separate laptop compartment can fit a 16-inch laptop. Plus, there are plenty of pockets for essentials, like keys, a phone, or an emergency pacifier. A five-year guarantee means a mom always gets quality in case something goes wrong in manufacturing. 

Best for outdoorsy mom: Backpackers Pantry

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Camp cooking can involve a lot of grilled cheese, reheated soups, and boxed mac and cheese. These aren’t bad meals, but sometimes that mom deserves something a little more five-star after a long day of hikes. Backpackers Pantry has breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert covered with various dried and dehydrated foods. These meals aren’t wimpy, either—each averages around 15 grams of protein, which energizes you on your hike. We like to start our outdoor morning with the company’s Blueberry walnut oats and a cup of coffee. Once we get to basecamp, we sit down and enjoy some lasagna (it’s what Garfield would want), followed by the most important meal: dessert. Our choice? Dark chocolate cheesecake

If you want to give a mom the outdoor experience at home, we love the Solo Stove Mesa tabletop fire pit, which makes it safe and easy to roast some marshmallows on the balcony or porch.

Best for impromptu picnics: Nomadix Festival Blanket

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A large blanket is great if you find yourself at the park and need to find something to separate your bum from the cold, wet ground underneath you. The Nomadix festival blanket has a lush top and water-resistant base, meaning you’ll be comfortable sans soggy pants. It’s made with post-consumer recycled materials and comes with small loops at each corner to anchor with stakes (not included). No more floppy corners.

If sitting on the ground makes your back want to scream, consider gifting this Kelty Low-Love Seat Camping Chair. It sits about a foot off the ground, is lightweight, and manages to be perfectly stowable.

Best for staying hydrated: OXO Strive XL Tumbler with Handle

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Whether mom loves coffee, tea, or water, she’ll appreciate OXO’s Strive XL, a 32-ounce insulated tumbler that’ll keep her drinks hot or cold longer than a traditional mug. The BPA-free tumbler has a see-through lid, so she can keep an eye on how much of her drink is left, and it comes with a flexible straw, which makes drinking on the go easier. Once she’s done drinking, Mom will be able to pop this tumbler in the dishwasher to keep it clean. OXO offers the Strive XL Tumbler in five colors, so you can find one that matches her style.

Best for athletic moms: Hydro Flask 24 Oz Insulated Shaker Bottle

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Pre-workout. Greens. Protein (vegan or otherwise). Electrolytes. If your mom lifts weights, runs miles, crushes most yoga or pilates moves, or does a combination of activities, she’s probably using some sort of shaker bottle to combine some form of workout-enhancing powder with water for bigger gains. Unlike plastic shakers, which make fast messes, the Hydro Flask shaker has a leakproof flip-top lid that stops chocolate protein rain before it happens. It also keeps drinks cool for 24 hours, meaning Mom can enjoy her athletic liquids all day long.

Best sustainable gift: Lomi

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Mom’s coffee grounds, egg shells, and banana peels can live second lives as compost in the flower garden with this gift. Lomi makes composting easy: It’s odor-, pest-, and mess-free, and turns food waste into compost in less than four hours. It easily fits onto countertops and is discreet. With all that compost, your special someone’s rose garden—and kitchen—will be the envy of the neighborhood. 

Best for traveling: Monos Carry-On Pro

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Jet-setting moms will appreciate the gift of nice luggage that makes traveling a little less stressful. Our pick is the Monos Carry-On Pro, made for organization and easy access. It comes in eight standard colors and four limited-edition colors and includes an integrated TSA-approved lock for keeping belongings safe. An aerospace-grade polycarbonate shell prevents breaking from TSA agent rough-handling, and a built-in front compartment lets you store a laptop, passport, and other need-haves in one easy place. All-paid vacation not included.  

Best to recreate the spa at home: Sun Home Infrared Sauna Blanket 

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If there’s something a mom rarely rues and can most likely use, it’s a trip to the spa. Instead of giving a gift card to a spa, why not bring the spa along with the Sun Home Saunas Infrared Sauna Blanket, which allows you to feel the heat without even needing to become vertical. It helps relieve stress and anxiety and can help treat chronic pain. It’s like a sleeping bag that makes mom feel like a Hot Pocket in a microwave. 

Best splurge: Dyson AirWrap

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The Dyson AirWrap is the hair styler to have—it dries, curls, and styles hair, combining at least four styling tools into one. We’ve gone hands-on with it before and love that it gives salon-quality, shampoo commercial blowouts at home. It comes with two barrel sizes (both with switches to change airflow direction), a soft smoothing brush, a firm smoothing brush, a round volumizing brush (our favorite attachment), and a blow-drying attachment. If the AirWrap is out of your budget, consider the Shark FlexStyle, which has a bendable arm and a diffuser attachment for curly hair. Protect strands beforehand with the K18 molecular repair oil, and help keep hair healthy when it’s shower time with the Kitsch Pre Wash Scalp Oil and K18 leave-in conditioner. For the in-between days, we recommend the Act+Acre Plant-Based Dry Shampoo, which uses rice and tapioca powders—along with fulvic acid—to keep tresses bouncy and fresh.

Best for those chillaxing: Liiton The Peaks Mountains Crystal Bourbon Whiskey Glasses Gift Set

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The average day can have lots of peaks and valleys, so an above-average way to unwind is with these crystal quick-chill mountain replica whiskey glasses for lifting spirits both emotional and intoxicating. Made of X1 Crystalline with the shapes of iconic summits within them (Denali, Mont Blanc, K2, and Mt. Fuji), these glasses can be stored in the freezer so that they will chill a drink in just 18 seconds, no ice to water down the beverage. Help Mom relax after a long day with a refreshing cocktail and a restorative mood.

Best for those expecting: Proxies Tasting Set

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If a pregnant person in your life wants to enjoy a fancy little beverage sans alcohol (we happen to have tons of recommendations), nothing looks better in a wine glass than Proxies. There are de-alcoholized wines on the market, but some may have traces of alcohol left after the process. Proxies, however, is boozeless from the start, made from wine grape varietals without the fermenting. The resulting product has a similar mouthfeel and taste to wine but without the “Am I hurting baby?” anxiety. They’re perfect to pair with pizza, fish, pickles, and any other pregnancy cravings. 

Best for music-loving moms: Sony WH-1000XM5

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If Mom has a killer vinyl collection and puts you on to some of the grooviest artists, you should give them a gift that says, “Thanks for giving me good taste.” We think the Sony WH-1000XM5 is an excellent choice. They’re sleek and comfortable on the head, including some killer noise cancellation (perfect for tuning out nosy neighbors) and four beamforming microphones to be heard clearly on work calls. If they’re more of an earbud person, the easily pocketed Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II have excellent sound and the most effective noise cancellation on the market. 

Best robovac: Narwal Freo X Ultra

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Messes happen, and if you’re not going to help clean them up, at least buy a robot that will. The Narwal Freo X Ultra is both a mop and a vacuum cleaner, and it’s pretty smart for a robot: It can sense the type of flooring it’s cleaning and adjust its power level accordingly. Sensors on the front and sides of the vacuum can detect objects as small as a centimeter and navigate around your room using LiDAR, mapping the space to clean more efficiently in the future. It’ll continually assess the cleanliness of an area before moving on to another one and will return to its base for charging and dirt removal. The vacuum’s base will automatically clean the Freo X Ultra’s mop pads, dry them, and apply additional detergent totally hands-free. Mom will appreciate someone finally helping out around here. 

Best for working out: OMORPHO G-Vest+

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Up any workout with this weighted vest from OMORPHO, which adds five pounds of resistance to level up burpees, sprints, and more. However, it doesn’t feel like a five-pound vest, thanks to even weight distribution. It’s a comfortable piece of workout gear that fits great (adjustable cables and straps help, too) and doesn’t limit your range of motion. Connecting the vest to the OMORPHO app gives you workouts that are quick but effective. If someone wants to outrun the other soccer team moms, gifting this vest is a great start. This leads us to our next pick …

Best for sore muscles: Theragun Mini 2.0

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For soothing sore muscles after working out—or anytime, really, especially for someone actually outrunning the other soccer team moms—we recommend the Theragun Mini 2.0, which is small enough to throw into a gym bag or hide in a drawer away from small hands. It comes with three attachments, but we love the thumb attachment, which is great for lower backs and pinpoint therapy. My back hurts, I don’t even have children, and even I could benefit from a percussion massager—we’re sure your mom will get a lot of use from the Theragun.

Best for support: Casper Backrest Pillow

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Whether a mom-to-be or a mom who just wishes to be by herself for a little while, anyone with a child on the horizon or in the house has a lot on their shoulders, which takes a toll on the back. Support the need for support by buying her a pillow that props up the woman who does the same for you. Then, leave her alone with a book or movie and the Casper Backrest Pillow, which has an ergonomic teardrop shape that cradles her entire spine and provides extra lumbar support (though you can flip it for just her head and shoulders if she needs a nap).

For grandmas: Aura Mason Luxe Smart Frame

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Although it’s perfect for any and every generation of moms, we think grandmas especially will love the Aura Mason Luxe Smart Frame. Grandmas love showing people pictures of their extended family (including granddogs), and this WiFi-connected cloud-fed frame makes it easy to update those photos from anywhere. Add photos and videos to the Aura app, and they’ll show up on your loved one’s frame as long as it’s connected to a network—there’s no work they need to do to get the photos up after the initial connection. You don’t need to worry about storage, either—it’s unlimited. And, you don’t need to worry about photo orientation since the Aura automatically rotates and resizes based on whether it’s placed landscape or portrait. PopSci’s managing editor sent one to his mother for their birthday—take their word for it: “What I have enjoyed the most … is the burst of joy every time I see a photo of a loved one or a picture a loved one has shared with me!” You can get an Aura Mason Luxe Smart Frame for the entire family, or you can check out some other digital picture frames we recommend

Best cozy: Big Blanket Co. Original Stretch Blanket

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If you know someone that hogs the blanket, or someone tall who deserves to have their feet covered when sleeping at night, the Big Blanket—providing 100 square feet of blanket—was made for them. This extra-large, giant soft blanket gives whoever is in the nap trap plenty of real estate to turn into a blanket cocoon, with room for you. We’re not kidding. It’s huge and soft—just like mom’s heart.

Best watch: Garmin vivoactive 5

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We’re all about the metrics at PopSci, so we love Garmin smartwatches. And one of the things we love about Garmin’s watches is there is one for everyone, whether you are a multisport athlete or just someone who wants a little insight into their everyday fitness. The Garmin vivoactive 5 is just as smart as it is beautiful—it has a 1.2-inch AMOLED watch face with built-in apps, including GPS, yoga, running, swimming, and more. Mom gets 11 days of battery life, and Gamin Pay lets them pay for a post-jog coffee without having to bring their wallet with them. They don’t even need to bring their phone, thanks to the ability to download music onto the watch. People won’t even know it’s a sports watch until Mom turns and says, “Thanks, it’s a smartwatch!” when they get a compliment on it. Looking for a model for a smaller wrist, with a more fashion-centric style? Check out the Lily 2, just one of many Garmin smartwatches on sale for the holiday.

Best for crafting: Cricut Explore Air 2 Lilac Machine Bundle

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If mom is crafty and doesn’t already own a Cricut, change that with this bundle gift that combines an Explore Air 2 machine with everything they need to get started on making their own bespoke goods for family, friends, and themselves. Heck, they could even start a small business! Built-in Bluetooth allows for wireless cutting, writing, and scoring, and the included spatula, weeder, scraper, scissors, and tweezers make it easy to lift and transfer your designs onto cups, mugs, sunglasses, and more. And if they already have a crafty corner, consider a Cricut Bright 360 lamp to help them capture and cherish all the details of their hard work customizing.

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Amanda Reed

Updates Writer

Amanda Reed is a commerce updates writer at Popular Science. She makes sure all product round-ups are up-to-date, shares deals happening all over the internet, and reviews various gizmos and gadgets. She lives in Pittsburgh with JunkJunk, a handsome, sad-looking tuxedo cat who only wants wet food and attention.