The busy mom in your life probably doesn’t need another scented candle, pair of comfy slippers, or bottle of lotion. But she’ll LOVE something that saves a few minutes in her jam-packed day.
The trick with buying for the busy mom, and for anyone, is to know her. What does she enjoy but hardly ever get a chance to do? If she has never expressed an interest in fitness, no need to get her a yoga mat with matching bag, no matter how stylish.
Best to skip fiddly gadgets—busy moms don’t have time for them—and gift certificates that have to be redeemed by a certain date. Gifts for busy moms need not be wrapped to perfection. Our brains are probably too fried to appreciate wrapping paper coordinated to match our living room.
Here are some gift ideas for the mom who …
… could use a cocktail. Gather up everything she needs for her favorite drink. If she’s too busy to have a favorite drink, go with a cosmopolitan: vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice, and lime juice. Include a recipe as well as a couple of martini glasses.
… loves to bake. The Barefoot Contessa Pantry line of baking mixes allows busy women to recreate the Contessa’s rich desserts. Pair the Black and White Angel Food Cake with the Lemon Pound Cake for a classic Contessa gift.
… wants to cook for her family. The 5:30 Challenge cookbook is packed with easy and tasty recipes, each calling for five ingredients or less. Full disclosure: My sister is the co-author of this book. But I swear, even if she weren’t a relative, I would still love this cookbook for helping me get dinner on the table fast.
… loves to work out, but doesn’t have time for the gym. Exercise bands are fantastic for strength training and much more portable and easier to store than dumbbells.
… values hand-written notes. Assemble several special-occasion, thank you, and blank cards. Add a roll of stamps, and pre-address a card or two to yourself.
… loves to help others, but no longer has time for volunteer projects. Donate to her favorite charity, such as the Heifer Project International. You don’t want her inundated with requests for donations, so put the gift in your name and explain your rationale in the card, or call the charity and make them swear not to put her name on their mailing list.
… loves to read but can’t remember the last time she finished a book. Books on tape are ideal for women who spend time in the car. Moms can also listen to books at home during precious spare moments.
… secretly loves celeb gossip. Get her a subscription to In Touch, the magazine that “almost always gets it right,” according to my friend Tina, who has a subscription. Because accuracy is so important when it comes to celebrity journalism! Or gather up a collection of gossip rags along with some chocolates, an at-home face mask, and other shameless indulgences.
… loves to spontaneously entertain. Give her a few bottles of wine, an elegant cheese tray , and some crackers, spiced nuts, or other nonperishable nibbles. All she has to do is select some cheeses and send out an Evite.
… takes a lot of photos but can barely find time to print them, much less display them. Travel back in time for the wonderful invention that is the photo album. Forget scrapbooking or virtual albums or digital frames. Just find a lovely fuss-free album. Include a few snapshots of the two of you or of her family.
This are my top ten picks, but the possibilities are endless. Think about the recipient’s typical, maxed-out day and figure out what you could give her that would make that day a little more special. She’ll appreciate the thought as much as the gift.
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