This model might be a little old on the inside -- it's 99 percent the same camera as the D5500 -- but that just means you can give a great general-purpose camera, with a lens, for a great price. Plus it's pretty compact for an SLR.
One of the more expensive cameras on my list, the X100F is the best model yet of the popular series of fixed-lens cameras with APS-C-size sensors. It's got a wide-angle lens and a relatively compact design, and if you need a gift for a mom who likes physical manual controls -- and who you're willing to spend the bucks on -- this is a great choice.
The Sony RX100 V makes my list now that its price has been reduced. If you want to give the most feature-packed compact available today to someone who wants to carry a camera all the time, this is the one.
One of my perennial general-purpose go-to recommendations. The ZS100 delivers the upgrade in image quality afforded by a 1-inch sensor with enough of a zoom lens for a lot of framing flexibility. And it's sufficiently fast to capture life in action. Plus, it supports 4K video for the sharpest capture possible. And it's cheaper than the RX100 V. There's a newer model with a longer zoom lens, the ZS200, but it's more expensive and the lens has a more limited aperture range.
Any newbie downsizing from a DSLR or upgrading from a compact will find this a great interchangeable-lens model. With the image quality and performance of a DSLR, the A6000 is a few generations old, but that just means it's inexpensive enough to make an affordable yet terrific gift. If you can spend more, the latest successor A6500 is better, but it's also a budget-buster with a basic kit lens.
A small DSLR alternative, one of the best things about the Micro Four Thirds interchangeable-lens cameras is that the lenses are tiny -- you can throw five in your bag and barely feel them. The E-M10 Mark II is fast, with solid photo quality and a useful feature set, plus Olympus' policy of adding features via firmware upgrades makes this one a long-term choice. The company recently rolled out the Mark III, but most of the changes were in the interface, so performance and photo quality should be identical if you want something newer.
You can find this excellent general-purpose DSLR reasonably priced for the body. That makes it a nice gift for a mom who's done with her cheap DSLR and looking for faster focus and continuous shooting.
It may look like the Hero 5, but GoPro's Hero 6 Black update to the most popular action camera has a new processor. It enables better image quality and stabilization, plus another level of slow motion, which make it worth gifting the newest model.