Thursday, May 6, 2010

Surviving The Perils Of Mother's Day Gift Giving

As you all know, this Sunday, May 9th is Mother’s Day. (No really, guys…don’t tell me you forgot?) It’s the one day of the year that we Americans set aside to honor mothers and motherhood. I dunno, are there any moms in the blogosphere? A couple? Okay, good! An early Happy Mother’s Day, all you moms!

While some guys really excel at giving their moms and wives their proper due, there are those whose actions fall far short of the mark. You know who you are! Which is why, as a public service, I am using this post to hopefully inform those of you that might be a bit challenged in this area as to the proper protocol. Maybe, in this way, I might spare a few moms a trip back to the store to return vacuum cleaners, toasters, sponge mops, electric hair removers and other unwanted gifts which, unfortunately, are a lot more than most moms receive on Mother’s Day.

Seriously, when it comes to the women who gave us life and pushed us out into the world (enduring hours of agony and lasting physical abuse) is it too much to ask to do more than drop some cheesy Mother’s Day card in the mail or make a phone call? At the very least moms want to be surprised with flowers or candy from her adult children, and that’s in addition to the card and the phone call. And don’t forget that moms love brunch! I can’t blame them, though. Who doesn’t love quiche and mimosas? (Yes, I eat quiche. Deal with it.)

I know a lot of moms don’t really care about gifts and will tell their kids it’s the thought that counts and all, but I know better from…um…personal experience. Sigh. I know for certain that no mom is going to be content with getting something as impersonal as cleaning supplies or kitchen appliances for their special day. And while some moms might be over the moon if you got “Mom” tattooed on your arm, most would probably rather prefer a nice plush robe and slippers.

The trick to giving your mom a great gift is finding things that she likes and that interest her (“Call Of Duty 3” for PlayStation, snowboards, Justin Bieber concert tickets, etc.) and not necessarily things that she needs (electric can opener, cat litter box, ironing board, etc.) so it’s important to be very thoughtful when deciding what to get. With regard to that, here are a couple of gifts to avoid:

1. Gift Certificates and Gift Cards - I realize that some people are hard to shop for and that the temptation for guys to abandon any real thought of an actual gift and instead to go for something safe like these, or worse – cash, is very hard to resist, but what it says to your wife or mom is that “you are not even worth the time and trouble it takes me to come up with something for you, so you decide what you want and go buy it on your own time.”

2. E-Cards - A lot of people consider this a lame gift, and they are right, but I do have to give partial credit here because the sender did pick it out and send it and it’s got to be preferable to an email or a text message – or nothing at all. I wonder if there is a “Thanks for thinking so little of me that you only got me an e-card for Mother’s Day” e-card which moms can send back in reply? If not, somebody should work on that.

3. Vermont Teddy Bears - This company has ridiculous plush teddy bears for every occasion and their willingness to prostitute every situation with an appropriately designed stuffed bear is insulting. If you don’t believe me, check out their “Butt Lift Bear” or their ‘Menopausal Bear.” Do not believe the hype. Moms are not as interested in teddy bears as the company claims they are.

4. Prepackaged Gift Packs of Body Soaps, Scented Moisturizers and Bath Salts - Another easy and mindless choice that fools guys all the time. They see a package of smelly crap together in a basket with a pretty bow and think “great gift.” And it is, if the message that you want to send is “you smell bad and have dry skin.” And giving scented candles? Why not just tell them it’s time to change the cat litter. Don’t fall for this one, guys.

Of course giving gifts to your mom is a lot different than giving gifts to your wife. Guys that give sexy lingerie to their moms are just freaks with an Oedipus complex. (Would that make the lingerie a Freudian slip?  But I digress.)  Typically the best way to show your wife that she is appreciated is by taking her out to a fancy restaurant (i.e. one without a drive-thru window), and bestowing upon her gifts of flowers, jewelry, perfume, clothing and accessories, and more recently with cool electronic gadgets like iPads, laptops and cell phones. Just be sure to keep the receipts, guys. Just sayin’!

In conclusion, let me again wish all you moms out there a great Mother’s Day. I hope you all get nice presents this year. I’m pretty sure my wife is going to be jazzed about her Mother’s Day gift. I bet she’ll be the only mom on the block with a riding lawnmower!

Oh, and to my daughter Lissa who turns 20 on Sunday, Happy Birthday sweetheart! (Now I don’t have to send her an e-card.)

You don't want to incur the wrath of your wife on Mother's Day. 

Trust me, it's not pretty.



  1. Crap, I'd be happy with a phone call. I think my kids lost my number! Where did you find that picture of me? I thought I had destroyed all the evidence. (And I swear, I have NO memory of using a hanger, to beat my kids)

  2. So it's not enough that I honor my mother every day?

    Yeah, yeah, I know.


  3. Good Advice! My sons are usually pretty good. They often come through with a gift certificate to my favorite restaurant, which is a great gift in my book.

  4. I actually wouldn't mind a decent vacuum cleaner. I kill vacuum cleaners on a regular basis. I need one that will stand up to my charms.

  5. That Twilight photo is hysterical and your point is right on! As for gifts, no woman was ever unhappy to get a gift certificate to an all-day spa for the works.

  6. #4 is THE WORST! My males would be in big trouble if they tried this!

  7. Very nice post, Tom! In addition to Mother's Day, I have my Parents' Anniversary (54 years, May 12) and My Sister's Anniversary, (25 years, May 11). So I am taking everyone to lunch on Saturday, and plying them with enough wine so that they don't notice (or mind) that I haven't gotten them any gifts!

  8. Now, don't be so harsh with kitchen appliances :)) I personally adore getting them as presents, although I'm not a mother nor a father :)

    We don't celebrate Mother's Day here in my country, but my mother never really uses any gifts she gets, she's very indifferent when it comes to that.

  9. Ha ha! I saw Gaffigan do this whole bit on the Vermont Teddy Bears and it was hilarious... but not as hilarious as your take. Well done, sir.

  10. I had never heard of the VT bears until last year and the commercial sucked so bad I thought it was a fake commercial, like on SNL. But sadly, it's very much real. *facepalm!*

    I would LOOOOVE a vacuum, sad to say, but true. Or diamonds. Whatev.

  11. Mother's Day is in March in the UK. Now I wonder what my 2year old will buy me for Father's Day next month. Time to start dropping hints to her Mum I think. Great post Tom.

  12. I'm afraid you've got it all wrong, Tgo. For your sake, I really hope you read this on time to exchange that lawn mower for a fancy pink leaf blower. She'd be much more appreciative, I'm sure.
    Happy Mother's Day weekend.

  13. My husband stopped buy for me years ago.:( I did email my daughters a list!! Can't wait!!

  14. I'm going to cook breakfast for Mom today. Lord knows she did it enough for me when I was a kid. I don't think Mother's Day should be a once-a-year thing, though. Shouldn't we all surprise our mothers with something nice once in a while?

  15. First of all, cougars are supposed to be all the rage, right? Mrs Robinson, anyone? Cougartown? (It is a creepy though to have grown woman ACTING like teenagers. Yikes.)

    My one daughter is SUPPOSED to clean her room today. I won't hold my is not my best color.

    I hope you have some good tips for father's day gifts~!

  16. Hilarity!

    My father is notorious for getting my mother things that are "utilitarian". I am the one who gets her whimsy gifts she doesn't use. Neither seem to make her particularly happy, I wonder if it's because she's french?

  17. Love, love, love this post.

    I really enjoy this style of writing and your puns and word play just engage me and make me laugh!

    Thanks for a wonderful bit of humor!

  18. Aw damn, I was seriously hoping for the Lipo Bear or the Sham Wow.


  19. I'd be happy if they would just put the seat down Mother's Day, Christmas and maybe my birthday.

  20. Time for you to start shedding hints to her mother's day gifts to India Mother I believe. Great publish Tom.


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