As gifting assignments go, finding the perfect Mother's Day gift is about as important as it gets. It's Mom, after all, and it's only right that we dedicate at least one full day to saying thank you for all her dedication, caring, kindness and compassion. (Let's be honest: Even "Mother's Week" would be less than the recognition moms deserve.) Most of the mothers I know -- and certainly my own -- spend their days making sure everyone else has what they need, and rarely yawping about what they want, so zeroing in on the perfectcan take some effort. But if Mom's not worth it, nobody is.
We at CNET have put our collective mother-lovin' heads together to bring you our top Mother's Day gift ideas for 2021. Whether the mom in your life is a foodie mom, techie mom, working mom, a mom prone to bouts of nostalgia or a mom who just enjoys a fine, we've assembled a bevy of nifty gifts that should please the mother or motherly figure in your life this year. And to be sure, these gifts also work for all those "special someones" -- grandmothers, stepmoms, aunts, mentors and other loved ones who also deserve thanks and acknowledgment.
So be a good kid and read on, will ya? And don't forget to call your mother.
Most of the items on our list say they will still ship in time for Mother's Day -- Sunday, May 9 -- but check with each seller before finalizing your order.
If there's one thing moms put up with way too much of, it's noise. Help her drown out the clamor with a pair of noise-canceling headphones so she can listen to music, podcasts or the soothing sounds of waves crashing on a far-off shore. New moms with small children in sleep training will appreciate them doubly -- triply, even.
Because nothing's too good for Mom, we'd go straight to our top recommendation, the Sony WH-1000XM4. CNET's David Carnoy called it a "nearly flawless noise-canceling headphone." Not only are they more comfortable than the previous iteration, Sony upgraded the voice-calling capabilities, too.
These often sell for as low as $278, but if that's still too pricey we have plenty of other recommended noise-canceling headphones, including earbud models, that start at $100 or less.
A Mother's Day gift fresh from the sea. I recently tried this sushi making kit myself and it was truly just so much fun. The fish -- salmon, hamachi, tuna and kanikama sticks -- all arrived flash-frozen and super fresh and the kit included everything needed to make sushi or sashimi from start to finish (other than a pot to boil the rice in).
The whole process was far easier than I thought it would be. If Mom's been missing her favorite Japanese joint this past year, she'll appreciate this gift. The kit also makes a lot of sushi -- I got the pack for two but thought it was more than enough sushi for four or even five people.
Surely you remember the Snuggie. Well, definitely don't get Mom a Snuggie for Mother's Day. I repeat, don't get your mom a Snuggie for Mother's Day. The wearable blanket has grown up, however, in the form of this stylish and giftable Kammok Bobcat 45. CNET editors like this cozy number so much we stuck it in the master list of best gifts under $250 in 2021.
The 600-fill duck down insulated blanket is plenty warm and, weighing a mere 20 ounces, light enough for camping or wearing around the house (no judgment here). But it's the quilt's poncho mode that makes it the ideal accessory for hanging outside by the fire pit. If the mom you're shopping for tends to run a little cold, this might be an ideal Mother's Day gift as we roll through spring.
Kammok has a slightly more budget-friendly model, the Field Blanket, for $95 as well.
Appliance as Mother's Day gift is tricky so if you're going to do it, make sure it's a really cool one. This brand new blender from the guy who creates the NutriBullet is big on style and doesn't short on substance either. I tested the Beast B10 earlier this year and found it to be a smooth and powerful blender that's just the right size for daily shakes and smoothies but also good for bigger blends like soups and salsas.
If Mom's been clunkin' around with a cheapo blender, she'll appreciate this major ice-crusher that looks like something Apple might have made. The Beast blender alone costs $138 but you can add the infusion hydration bottle or a smaller blending cup for some extra dough.
I've used this indoor pod garden and it's perfectly sized for growing essential herbs like basil, mint and chives and salad greens. It couldn't be simpler to operate, with self-contained seed pods, LED grow lights and a water tank that needs filling only every two or three weeks -- a perfect Mother's Day gift and starter herb garden for someone with a not-so-green thumb. Mom can even grow flowers for a little pop of spring in any season.
Give Mom a taste of international travel on Mother's Day and each month after with a global snack subscription. Getting these deliveries is fun for the whole family, and each box comes with facts about the country-of-the-month and an assortment of salty and sweet treats. You can gift a subscription or single box with deliveries starting at $15 for five to seven snacks. Plus, shipping is free.
CNET editor and mom Bridget Carey says, "I never cared about an Apple Watch until I had to do everything at home. Now it's the only way I stay sane." With this multifaceted device, Mom can be with the kids and away from the laptop without worrying about missing a call or big email.
Working from home while also running a home can lead to some serious scatterbrain and an Apple Watch will help Mom locate her phone if lost, schedule her day, make playlists for running and 1,000 other things.
Perfumes are pricey and that often means you'll be limited to one or two bottles of the good stuff, depending on your budget. Scentbird will allow mom to try a new premium scent every month without having to commit multiple Ben Franklins to just one.
This great-smellin' startup will send an 8-milliliter bottle -- enough for about 140 sprays -- filled with a designer perfume such as Versace, Prada, Clinique, Oscar de la Renta for $15 a month. Once it's finished, mom sends the sleek refillable bottle back to Scentbird where they'll juice it up with another scent. It's a unique gift idea that keeps on giving.
With all the time mom spends keeping the ship from sinking, there's not always time to spend on personal interests and endeavors. MasterClass makes it easy to learn about a plethora of subjects from the folks who know them best. There are cooking classes from icons like Thomas Keller and Alice Waters but also lessons on subjects you might not realize you need help with. Try Brandon McMillan's 15-part MasterClass on dog training, for instance, or TED Talk phenom Ron Finley (pictured) and his MasterClass on gardening.
A MasterClass subscription isn't cheap -- $192 for an annual membership with no monthly option -- but with more than 100 classes taught by legitimate luminaries in fields from fiction writing to poker, there's something here for everyone. With incontrovertibly credible teachers, solid production values and a vast catalog of subject matter, MasterClass is like Netflix for the overly ambitious.
Weighted blankets have become popular for helping troubled sleepers fall and stay asleep. One of our own editors snagged a weighted blanket for his mother this past Christmas and is happy to report that it has tamped down her restless leg syndrome symptoms, allowing her to sleep much more comfortably. In our list of the best weighted blankets for 2021, Layla's came out on top and it clocks in at a reasonable $129.
If mom doesn't have the ability to leave home for a workout, Ring Fit Adventure ($70) means she can sneak one in the comfort of her living room and all while playing with the kids. One CNET editor who does just that calls it "endless fun with the family and also a sneaky way to stay fit (plus, it's pretty fun)."
Anyone who's ever said candles are an impersonal gift hasn't experienced a candle subscription. Subscription gifts are famously superior because they remind the giftee -- in this case, Mom -- of your thoughtfulness every month -- not just the one time. And since candles inspire calm and relaxation, this is in double brownie points territory.
Vellabox will send Mom any one of its soothing soy or coconut candles with scents like lavender-mint, sugar-huckleberry and earl grey. You can subscribe for her to receive a 4-ounce, 8-ounce or one of each either as a one-time send or recurring for six or 12 months. Vellabox is affordable too and starts at just $10 a month.
Bridget Carey from the CNET team has been growing a tower of salad in her kitchen and is totally loving it.
"No mess, no bugs, no soil -- just tasty leafy greens and herbs and tomatoes and strawberries and peppers and, well, almost anything I want -- in a tower that automates watering and light for me." Gardyn also sends new seeds monthly, and cameras and an app lend guidance on how to care for it all. It even got Bridget's kids into salad.
The Gardyn is high-end (around $700 with a current discount offer), but there are several options now for hydroponics at home at different price ranges, some small for countertops such as the aforementioned Click and Grow Smart Garden or the Rise Garden that doubles as a chic end table.
If you've ever heard mom complain about all those photos sitting in her phone collecting proverbial dust, now is the time to do something about it and a digital photo frame is the thing to do. The Nixplay smart digital picture frame stores thousands of images and will help you display either one or a running slide show of your favorite people and moments so you can actually enjoy them for once. The frame is available in various sizes -- up to 15 inches -- and a motion sensor will turn the frame on and off automatically.
While the Sony noise-canceling earphones are great, not everyone is into that over-the-ear style. Mom can keep one ear on a Zoom call and the other on the kids with these popular and versatile earbuds. Long battery life comes via a case that recharges them throughout the week. The handy ear hook means Mom can wear them anywhere and while doing pretty much anything. Plus, the Powerbeats come in a range of flashy and fun colors.
Flowers for Mother's Day may not be a new concept but with a subscription to BloomsyBox, the bouquets keep coming. You can choose weekly, bimonthly or monthly deliveries of fresh flowers to lift mom in the way only fresh flowers can. You can also choose the bouquet size, priced accordingly, from the Bloomsy Original (18 to 24 stems) all the way up to BloomsyBox's Premium bouquet (27 to 32 stems).
Insider tip: Use our exclusive discount code FLOWERPOWER12 at checkout for 12% off your order.
The Ode is one of those luxury gifts that fits squarely in the splurge category, and it should probably be reserved for a true coffee nerd of a mom. I tested the Ode and it grinds faster, more consistently and more quietly than any other I've used. It also aims to please even the most finicky coffee drinkin' mom with 31 (yes, 31) grind settings.
Important to note that the Ode is engineered specifically for drip coffee and not espresso. The claim is that too many grinders attempt to do both and fail to do either well. It's also not meant to grind large amounts of beans at once, making it ideal for Chemex and pour-over systems.
These stemless wine glasses are handmade by Mexican artists, blown from recycled glass to create six elegant vessels for wine, cocktails or water. Because each set is handmade they'll look a little bit different but you can bet they'll draw some attention and compliments every time they're set out on the table.
Speaking of memories of the photographic sort. If mom has a pile or piles of old-fashioned paper photos that are susceptible to damage, floods and fires, there's an easy fix: professional photo scanning. Plus, you can use the files to make a sweet digital album or slideshow that mom can share on social media.
Everpresent is a master of photo scanning and will digitally organize any images no matter where they are -- scrapbooks, photo albums or piled up in a shoebox. In fact, the company is especially well-suited to handle photos in all forms, shapes and sizes, turning them into a neatly organized, digitized collection that is completely safe from the elements.
Prefer to curate some photos and give Mom a photo book instead? We've pulled together the best photo book options.
The Japanese have been hiding some seriously good snacks from the rest of us. Bokksu collects the best snacks and treats from the east and sends them west in a tasty, curated monthly snack subscription. A perfect gift for the mom who's prone to a snack attack. It's also a unique gift for the new mom or expecting mom who needs those extra calories.
The best part about Bokksu is that almost none of these Japanese snacks are similar to snacks we already have here in the US, so she'll likely come across some munchies she's never tried before. Snacks run the gamut from sweet to savory with favorites such as seaweed tempura, puffed rice with ramen seasoning, green tea and lemon cakes, Japanese candy including yuzu gummies and creamy matcha Kit-Kats.
You can send as few as three months' worth of snack boxes ($45 each) or as many as a full year ($40 each) and no two snack sends will ever be the same.
Read more: The best snack boxes to gift in 2021
Any one of the oh-so-cool cooler brand's Rambler travel mugs with sliding lid would make a solid gift for Mom. These things keep the hots hot and the colds cold and we love them for coffee, wine, soup, wine, tea or even wine. They come in multiple sizes, a range of seven colors and are built to last.
Another gift idea that's personally endorsed by CNET's own Bridget Carey. Give Mom some fancy tea time at the touch of a button. This machine grinds fresh, bright-green Japanese signature tea without the fuss. It's pricey at around $370, but it's beautiful and delivers one heck of a tasty cup of nutrient-packed tea. Matcha famously provides a focused boost that lasts longer than a normal cup of coffee which might be just the boost Mom is looking for.
After my Mom treated herself to an espresso machine last year, I followed up with these double-walled cappuccino glasses. It was perhaps the best 15 bucks I've ever spent and they're now the only glasses she'll use for hot beverages.
This set of two sleek glass coffee mugs are great for coffee but also tea, chai and matcha (see above). If you'd like to really amp the gift up, pair the set with one of these great coffee clubs and subscription services that'll ship the best beans -- espresso and otherwise -- to Mom's door.
When the opportunity to swim arises, you must always be prepared to take the plunge. This lightweight towel is small enough to throw into a bike bag, backpack or back pocket. According to Matador, it absorbs more than twice its weight (81 grams) in water. It's machine washable and comes in a mesh bag with a sturdy handle and hang loop.
While she may be confined to her immediate area, you can help your mom scratch her hunger and wanderlust in one fell swoop via some of America's most iconic foods from around the country with the help of Goldbelly subscription. New Orleans's muffuletta, San Francisco's cioppino, Maine's lobster rolls and Chicago's deep dish are all just a few clicks away when you give mom the City Subscription. A subscription from Goldbelly ($79 a month) also helps to support restaurants in those cities affected by the pandemic.
If the monthly thing sounds like too much, peruse Goldbelly's endless inventory of delicious eats from cookies to cakes, barbecue, pizza, bagels and just about anything else you can think of. All of which can be delivered safely to mom, wherever she is.
Another small luxury for Mom. These bright and refreshing herbal spritzes transport her somewhere much more peaceful than the place she probably is with just a few pumps. The three-pack from Ulta includes an aloe, cucumber and green tea spritz, another with herbs and rosewater and a third with lavender and chamomile to calm and comfort her skin.
If Mom likes her food spicy, Truff's is nothing like the humdrum hot sauces she's been using up until now. Snag a variety pack with Truff's white truffle, black truffle and the extra hot version of the original for $70 -- while it's in stock.