Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for Minimalists

by | May 1, 2016 | Holidays, Minimalism | 0 comments it comes to Mother’s Day all moms are minimalists at heart. Sure, they might appreciate the expensive bottle of perfume or [fancy label] handbag

Kamilla, if you’re reading this, feel free to butt in with an appropriate name.

But ultimately, the best Mother’s Day gifts are time and love. Sounds sappy, maybe a little cheap even, but I know I’m not wrong about this.

When I started working and earning my own money I’d often buy my mom gifts.

Pretty trinkets —like the kind you get at— were always a hit. I get it. Everyone loves receiving gifts. They’re tokens reminding you that somebody is thinking of you.

Mom loved them, but she loved it more when I just took her out for lunch or coffee and hung out with her.

Sometimes we’d go further afield to a neighbourhood or area she hadn’t been to before (she didn’t drive, so her ventures were limited by bus routes and schedules), other times we’d just go to the local mall for a cappuccino and a slice of chocolate cake.

To her it didn’t matter, she’d always thank me enthusiastically when I dropped her off. Time with me was all she cared about. And because I made the effort, it let her know I loved her, that she was important to me. I wasn’t always as patient as I could have been, but I spent time with her rather than just fob her off with lavish gifts.

Now that she’s gone I have more happy memories than I do regrets. It’s a good place to be and one I’m especially grateful for. Okay, anecdote over. Let’s see about some gifts for mom.

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas (With a Minimalist Slant)

A Special Meal

Take your mom out for a special meal, but throw in a surprise. One time Sporty and I arranged a breakfast with my mom’s siblings without telling her. She thought it was just going to be the three of us and when we arrived she found her two sisters and her brother waiting at the restaurant.

Remember though, this is your mom’s treat, so choose a place that she’ll like. One that serves her favourite food and where the ambiance is to her liking. You can go wherever you like later.

If you have kids perhaps you could arrange a brunch at home and they could help prepare and serve the food. Or at least entertain their granny while you whip something up. Again, think about what she’d enjoy best and do that.


What about taking her to the theatre, movies or ballet? A concert, a comedy show, a dance? If it didn’t involve coffee and cake my mom wasn’t interested, but your mother might enjoy going out to see a play. If you’re anything like Sporty and I you probably limit your outings to the movies, so this is a great excuse to get out and do something different.

Touristy Stuff

If dinner and a show isn’t her speed then there’s the option of playing tourist in your own city. In Cape Town, for instance, we have the Red Bus, Kirstenbosch Gardens, Robben Island and Cape Point, to name just a few. These are all great experiences just waiting to be had and yet so often we ignore them, because, you know, we live here. Well so what if you live here, get out there and do something out of the ordinary.

But Maybe You Still Want to Buy Her Something?

Gift giving dates back thousands of years and is used as a way of connecting, a way to say, “I see you, and you mean something to me.”

I’m a minimalist not a grinch, even I get that exchanging gifts holds value. However, the problem nowadays, is that most of us indulge in token gift giving. Which is a polite way of saying that we buy stuff for one another because we feel we have to, not because we want to.

I know, I did that for many years and all it resulted in was a depleted bank account and a maxed out credit card. As for the gifts themselves? Well they most likely ended up in the recipient’s spare room cupboard, alongside everything else they didn’t want but couldn’t throw out.

Back to mom. First, don’t leave buying the gift until Sunday morning a week from now. Nothing reeks like a bunch of wilted flowers and that’s precisley what you’re going to get if you don’t plan ahead.

I wasn’t planning on writing one of those posts where I give you ten ideas to choose from and you pick one, but what the hell, here you go.

Flowers or a Potted Plant

Most moms love flowers, but a pot plant is also great, plus it’ll last longer. Provided, of course, that she doesn’t have two black thumbs.


In this case chocolates is a catch-all for mom’s favourite edibles. Maybe she’s a fruit dainty kind of a gal or perhaps she prefers savoury snacks like pretzels or roasted nuts. Could be I’m just projecting, but I think food is the perfect gift.

A Magazine Subscription

I’m breaking my minimalist norms for this idea (and the one below), but if you can persuade the old duck to donate the magazines to a library or school when she’s done reading them then it’s a good idea. However if your mom harbours hoarderish tendencies it’s best to stay away from this one.

A Book

As with the magazines, if you can get your mom to donate the book once she’s read it then great. However if your mom loves reading then I reckon a Kindle is the way to go. If she’s reticent about the idea tell her she’ll be able to adjust the size of the type, that’ll win her over for sure. A Kindle also makes future gift giving really easy, because all you do is buy her an Amazon voucher.

Make a Donation on Her Behalf

Sporty and I love doing this, especially for people who really don’t need anything. Which, if we’re honest about it, is most of us. Look for a charity or cause that you think will resonate with her (maybe she already has one she supports) and make a donation in her name.

Bake Her Something

Nothing says I love and care about you like a homemade cake or a freshly baked batch of cookies. Anybody can go to the shops and buy something, but making it by hand takes thought and effort.

Make a Photo Album or Collage

Be honest, you’ve got like a gazillion photos on your phone and laptop that you’ve taken and never looked at again. Well now’s your opportunity to actually do something with them. If you’ve got siblings ask them to send you some of theirs as well. Compile a photo album, create a collage or simply frame some of the nicer ones. Moms are sentimental creatures, so this idea in whatever form it takes is bound to be a hit.

If you’re still at a loss after this then I suggest you go and iron your ears and have a think about why you’re such a rotten child. Just please don’t tell your mom I said that.



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