Mother's Day is today. You can still make these cheap gift ideas at home

Give your mom a meaningful gift beyond the bouquet of flowers.

Katie Teague Writer II
Katie is a writer covering all things how-to at CNET, with a focus on Social Security and notable events. When she's not writing, she enjoys playing in golf scrambles, practicing yoga and spending time on the lake.
Expertise Personal Finance: Social Security and taxes
Katie Teague
4 min read

Short on cash or time? You can make your mom a thoughtful gift at home.


Happy Mother's Day, and please don't panic. In these strange times, you and your family may find yourselves having to adjust gifting expectations. The closure of nonessential businesses means a spa day or classic Mother's Day brunch are out. But that's OK, especially if you're on a budget. We have some other great ideas, especially if you don't mind writing an IOU.

Remember that even if you can't spend the day with your mom this Mother's Day, she'll appreciate any gesture from you -- even if it's "just" a Zoom, Skype or FaceTime call that you make extra special by adding backgrounds or serenading her with her favorite song. 

Read on for some gift ideas you can make at home for your mom. Here are 5 other great last-minute Mother's Day gifts and 15 more gift ideas if you're OK waiting until after Mother's Day.


Give your mom a photo book for Mother's Day.


Make a photo book or calendar

Your mom won't have this gift in hand today, but don't let that stop you. It's well worth waiting for, especially in these times of separation. You've already got several photo albums stored away, as well as hundreds of photos on your phone and laptop. Gather those pictures and use them to create a photo book or calendar to send to your mom for Mother's Day. You can use services like Mixbook, Google Photos and Walmart Photo to keep costs low.

Once you're finished creating the photo book, you can have it shipped to your mom or hand-deliver it yourself. Some sites offer free shipping if you spend a certain amount, otherwise shipping prices will vary, depending on the service you use. You can always tease the gift in a beautiful card or a photo you selected from the book with a note that the picture is just the beginning.

Read more: How to make and print your own photo books online

Plant a small flower garden

If you live nearby, you can surprise your mom on Mother's Day by planting a small flower garden at her house. Hardware store, supermarkets and nurseries that are open in your area will have potted plants, herbs and seeds. All it takes it a little labor on your end to create something she'll be able to enjoy all summer. 

Here's another idea if you don't have a green thumb. Try making wine cork planters. First, you'll need to hollow out several wine corks and place a small succulent in each of them. Then fill it in with soil to help sustain the plant. You can glue a magnet to the back of the cork so she can place it on her refrigerator. Succulents require little water and sunlight, so the maintenance is lower than other plants.

Want to go for something that's more practical? Consider a backyard vegetable garden. (Just be ready for considerably more work.)


Plant your mom a flower or vegetable garden. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Make her a care package

Being stuck inside isn't fun -- and even if your mom is a savvy online shopper, she might be focusing more on necessities. Thankfully, you can spoil her: Put a small kit together of things your mom enjoys, such as coffee, books or wine. Here are some options to get started.

Wine lovers: Give your mom the wind-down day she deserves with a wine kit. It can include a bottle of wine, bath salts and a good book to read.

Coffee lovers: If your mom can't start any task without that first cup of coffee, make her a coffee kit. It can include a mug with her favorite coffee and a journal or planner she can keep her tasks written in.

You can even gather small necessities that she needs, like lotion, chapstick and hand soap. Or if she's a foodie, make her a food basket with dry foods she's never tried. If your mom happens to enjoy cooking, here are 8 must-have kitchen tools under $20 that we absolutely love.


She'll appreciate wine on Mother's Day.

Brian Bennett/CNET

Make a door hanger

Get creative and make a door hanger or wreath to hang up on her front door. It doesn't have to be anything fancy -- you can make it from tissue paper and a paper plate. You can find quick and easy designs on Pinterest

Or if you want to put your design skills to use, find a metal wire (like a coat hanger) to create a frame, then gather some greenery from around your house. For example, you can use evergreen leaves or pine. Use material like dental floss, fishing line or thin metal wire to attach the greenery to the metal frame. When your wreath is finished, tie a ribbon around the top so you can hang it on the door.

Need more ideas for what to gift your mom? Here are nine Mother's Day gifts guaranteed to impress the palate, our 15 favorite gifts for Mother's Day and best Mother's Day 2020 gifts for foodie moms.

Watch this: Gift ideas to make Mom’s life easier