You can’t buy your mother’s love, but you can try with these gifts
She raised you. The least you could do is get her a candle that smells like a national park.
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Listen, you’re not going to get out of the life debt you owe your mom, but the least you could do is make her smile on the second Sunday of May. Finding the perfect gift is near impossible, and while we’re not saying the presents on this list—or this one or even this one for new mothers—can articulate how you lucky you are that she’s your mom, they’re a decent start.
This Yellowstone Park candle will bring notes of pine and sandalwood into your outdoorsy mother’s living room. The 8-ounce candle burns for more than 45 hours, is recyclable, and will turn her indoor spaces into a forest—but without all the dirt and bugs. $24.
My mom loves kombucha, and this brewing kit comes with everything she would need to brew her own. Included: the SCOBY—Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast—glass brew jar, cotton cover, organic tea, organic sugar, and (of course) detailed instructions.
If your mother makes kombucha often, pair the kit with this 5-liter ceramic crock, which holds enough liquid to fill 10 Mason jars. The crock is 8.7 inches tall and has a built-in stainless steel tap for controlled pouring. A lip around the top lets her secure the cloth cover with a rubber band. $60.
If your mom enjoys the occasional glass of vino, this borosilicate laboratory beaker wine glass is a quirky gift she’ll actually use. Each glass is hand blown and dishwasher-safe. $20.
LIFX smart bulbs are compatible with Amazon’s Alexa, HomeKit, and Google Assistant. The bulbs display up to 16 million colors and connect to your internet via Wi-Fi. Unlike some other bulbs, LIFX doesn’t require a separate smart hub. Use the smartphone app for easy controls over the color and brightness. $47.
There are three things no mother should live without: the love and adoration of their family, oxygen, and PopSci swag. We’ve got our classic logo tees, shirts with illustrations from old issues, and fresh offerings like our Popular Science Pride tee or a tote bag with the logo for our new science podcast called “The Weirdest Thing I learned This Week.” The Threadless storefront can be found here.
This cookbook and/or tablet stand lets Mom prop up recipes while keeping the book or device (relatively) safe from spills. This one is made of steel and wood and breaks down into two easily stored pieces. $31.
This lunar lamp is made by a 3D printer that works with layers of biodegradable PLA material to produce a texture reminiscent of the moon’s surface. The lamp can glow either a cool white light or warmer tone. It charges via a USB cable and has a 500mAh battery, enough for 8-12 hours of light. There are six sizes ranging from 3.15 inches to 8.67 inches in diameter. The wooden holder is included. $23.
This case for the iPhone 7 or iPhone 8 has a dimmable LED light on the front to make even the most poorly lit locations prime for a selfie. All she needs to do is adjust the brightness according to her location and personal lighting preferences. The case has soft-rubber edges and comes in three colors: black matte, gold matte, and rose matte. You can find the iPhone 8/7 Plus version here. $25.
These silicon PodPocket skins will keep her AirPods safe. They also let her clip her headphones to a device or bag via a key ring or clasp. $20.
If your mother likes potted plants, TheSill.com has a lot of Mother’s Day gift sets that, to be honest, I’ve been eyeing for myself. The Ezra trio comes with three 2-inch-tall x 2.5-inch-wide pots with Jade, Echeveria, and Haworthia succulents. Yes, you can customize the color of her pots. $68.
This three-layer Milky Way skirt is a rad gift for anybody who enjoys wearing skirts. The garment features multiple views of the Milky Way—provided by NASA and taken from the Hubble Telescope, Spitzer Space Telescope, and the Chandra X-ray Observatory—plus two side pockets and 60 LED wire lights. There are six lighting modes. The skirt is powered by two CR2025 batteries that last for more than nine hours. $60.
Fender’s California Series acoustic/electric guitars come in three body shapes—the Malibu, the Redondo, and the Newporter—and feature a built-in pickup/preamp system that means she can play with or without an amplifier. For the beginning player, the colorful guitars—there are a number of photogenic options—can be paired with an educational music app that’ll teach them how to play. The guitar even has built-in tuner. $400.
This terrarium kit comes with an 8-inch glass container, hydrostones to promote growth, moss, and soil. Customize your own mini slice of nature to make something that’s personal and pretty. $20.
I’m totally nuts for this tote. Made of 100 percent cotton, the bag resembles an oversized library card. It’s 14 inches wide and 18 inches high, and has an interior storage pocket. $21.
The 16-ounce Ello stainless steel travel mug is leak-proof, sophisticated-looking, and has a cork base to protect your surfaces from rings. The vacuum insulated container fits in most cup holders and keeps beverages hot for 5 hours and cold for 10. It’s dishwasher-safe and comes in four colors: coral, teal, pink, and grey. $15.
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