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Best Mother's Day 2021 gifts under $250

This year's celebration calls for something different.

Justin Jaffe
Justin Jaffe Managing editor
Justin Jaffe is the Managing Editor for CNET Money. He has more than 20 years of experience publishing books, articles and research on finance and technology for Wired, IDC and others. He is the coauthor of Uninvested (Random House, 2015), which reveals how financial services companies take advantage of customers -- and how to protect yourself. He graduated from Skidmore College with a B.A. in English Literature, spent 10 years in San Francisco and now lives in Portland, Maine.
Expertise Credit cards, Loans, Banking, Mortgages, Taxes, Cryptocurrency, Insurance, Investing. Credentials Coauthor of Uninvested (Random House, 2015)
3 min read

Sunday, May 10 -- Mother's Day -- will be here in just a few short weeks, and there's no doubt that it will be different this year. Though not everyone will be able to get together with their mom in person, there will still be plenty of ways to celebrate virtually and make a thoughtful gesture of appreciation. Given the challenges and limitations of these times, we've selected an assortment of practical gifts, priced under $250, all of which can be enjoyed at home. 

Need gifts in more affordable categories? Check out our top picks under $25, under $50 and under $100.

Read more: Mother's Day cards you can buy online that are actually funny

Give mom a bedtime upgrade with this set of king-sized pillows lined with cotton and filled with hypoallergenic, down-alternative material. The set normally costs $100, but the king size set is currently on sale for $90. That leaves enough budget to add a set of percale, 215-thread count cotton pillowcases, also on sale, for $18.

There are certainly cheaper smart light options, but the Glow -- a highly portable, rechargeable battery-operated bedtime lamp -- is undeniably beautiful, easy to setup and pleasing to use. My family has two of them, and they've become an instrumental part of the bedtime routine for all four of us (the adults steal from the kids after they fall asleep). 

Thanks to the built-in gyroscope you can flip it over to turn it on and off, twist it to dim it up or down or shake it to trigger a low nightlight setting. The lamp produces a very pleasant ambient glow -- hence the name -- which dims gradually over 15 to 60 minutes. You can control the span (in 15-minute intervals) using Casper's streamlined iOS and Android-compatible app. And you can also set the light to come on in the morning -- a reverse nightlight, of sorts -- for a perfect waking scenario. 

Read our Casper Glow preview.

Read more: Best 2-player board games for 2020  

Though there are newer Apple smartwatches out there, the Series 3 remains the best value of the bunch. Mom will appreciate the fitness tracking, the music syncing and all of the other great communication features. Walmart is selling the 38mm GPS model for $169 and the 42mm model for $200.

Read our Apple Watch Series 3 review.

Vanessa Hand Orellana/CNET

If you're not feeling the Apple Watch, the Fitbit Charge 4 is another good choice for mom. It includes built-in GPS to track outdoor workouts independently, has solid training tools for athletes and fits a lot of smartwatch features into a slim package. (I'd also recommend the Garmin 235 as a less expensive alternative that's particularly well-suited to runners and cyclists.)

Read our Fitbit Charge 4 review.

I have a small, simple one-zone home, where the thermostat controls only the furnace. This winter, I bought several different top-rated smart thermostats and, with the assistance of my neighborhood electrician, installed and tested them one at a time. The Nest was the one I kept. It's a snap to set up and it totally delivers on the few features I wanted: scheduled temperature adjustment, appealing aesthetics, an intuitive interface and absolute control via iPhone or Android.

Read our Nest Learning Thermostat Third Generation review.

This knife's beautiful Victorinox blade is fluted, so it won't stick to what you're cutting. The elegant, hand-polished wooden handle gives it the perfect amount of heft. And it's sharp and agile enough to make cutting meat, fish, fruit, vegetables and cheeses an absolute pleasure.

Read more: Best headphones for mom  

Battery Life Rated up to 6 hoursNoise Canceling Yes (ANC)Multipoint NoHeadphone Type Wireless earbudsWater-Resistant Yes (IPX4 -- splash-proof)

Moms wearing Bluetooth earbuds look cool, without exception. The ultracompact, lightweight AirPods Pro feature a noise-isolating design that fits most ears securely and delivers top-notch performance for making calls. (These will work for moms with non-iPhone moms, too, but those with Android-toting moms should look at the Jabra Elite 75t instead.)

Read our Apple AirPods Pro review.

Moms deserve wine. This subscription to the Wine of the Month Club includes two bottles delivered right to her doorstep every month. Every shipment includes the club's 24-page newsletter. You can choose from among 10 different subscriptions, starting at $133, that feature varietals from different regions of France and California.

How to get alcohol delivered to your door.

Read more