Over twelve years of being together (hard to believe it’s been that long), M has never bought me flowers. Before you get your panties all up in a bunch and consider him an insensitive husband (because he’s definitely not), he’s only honoring my request not to receive them.
Some people love fresh flowers. They’re not really my thing.
They’re beautiful and smell lovely. They can brighten up just about any space. I love walking through nature gardens and photographing myriad flowers and greenery. But watching a bouquet of flowers die over the course of a few days (or maybe a week) and leave dried up petals on my counter doesn’t get my juices flowing. I know I have little company in my camp, but I’m owning my nonconforming stance.
A volunteer job delivering flowers at a hospital in high school probably doesn’t help my cause. Thanks to our innately strong connection between smell and memory, the scent of fresh flowers sends me right back to the hospital every time.
For someone like me whose mom lives far away, sending flowers often becomes the default Mother’s Day gift. As you might expect though, I don’t give flowers as gifts either. Again, it’s just not my thing.
While I may have little company among a crowd of women who drool over fabulous bouquets garnishing their homes, I know there are a few of us who prefer alternatives to the default Mother’s Day gift. Maybe you’re looking for something more sustainable? Maybe you’d prefer something more non-traditional and unexpected? Or maybe flowers are out of your budget because, after all, they’re pretty darn expensive (especially when delivered)?!
If you’re in the market for some sustainable and more conscious gift ideas for your mother, particularly if she lives far away and you can’t share quality time together, consider one of the ideas below.
8 Sustainable and Long-Distance Gifts Ideas Other Than Fresh Flowers
Chatbooks Photobook ~ I don’t know your mom, but I’m pretty sure she’ll absolutely love this one and it won’t break the bank. Chatbooks prints small photo books of your Instagram feed, up to 60 photos, starting at just $8. It’s incredibly easy to sign up, order the book, and have it shipped directly to your mom. You spend ten to fifteen minutes to set up your account and order the book in exchange for a very personal gift she’ll cherish for years. That’s a serious win-win!
While you’re at it, buy one for yourself. I subscribed to receive a new book each time I log another set of 60 photos on Instagram. If you subscribe, use code NR9QZEKZ to get your first book free!
Theo Chocolate ~ Can you go wrong with chocolate, especially high-quality, fair trade chocolate? My favorite is sea salt dark chocolate, but a more traditional milk chocolate or the dark chocolate peanut butter cups are great options also. If she enjoys spending time in the kitchen, also check out their chocolate cookbook. Theo takes chocolate beyond baking and incorporates it into many types of dishes.
Massage Gift Certificate ~ Experiential gifts always rank high on my list. But many gifts of experiences feel most meaningful when done together, which makes them not-so-great for long-distance gift giving. A massage, however, makes a great solo option. (Let’s be honest. Solo is probably the best option.)
Plant ~ If your mom loves fresh flowers, consider delivering a plant that blooms periodically instead. While flowers have disappointingly short shelf-lives, the plant can decorate her space and remind her of you for months to come. If you’ve got a larger budget, you may even consider a plant-of-the-month subscription.
Coloring Book and Colored Pencils ~ We could all use a little relaxation sometimes so get her started on setting aside some time for herself. I searched high and low for a coloring book and pencils I loved, landing on this adult coloring book because it’s not too detailed and these colored pencils because they fund education for children in Mexico and East Africa.
Donation to Charity ~ Send a donation to her favorite charity on her behalf. She may also like a gift card to DonorsChoose.org that allows her to support an educational project submitted by one of thousands of teachers around the country.
Handmade Flowers (from your kids) ~ Last year, T made my mom a small upcycled bouquet of flowers from an egg carton. It isn’t going to win any art awards, but T and I loved making it together and it still sits on her counter today. It definitely outlasted any fresh flower bouquet (and required all of zero maintenance).
Supplies for Her Personal Hobby ~ If your mom has a favorite hobby or interest, how about some supplies that encourage her to pursue that interest? A photographer might appreciate an extra memory card. A baker might love unique high end ingredients.
Just before the holidays, I shared a post about my distaste for traditional, generic gift guides. Check it out for more examples of things to encourage pursuit of her passion. You may find the whole list offers some additional Mother’s Day alternatives as well.
Hopefully a few of the items on the list resonated with you and will make a perfect option for your mom. If you found this helpful, I’d be more than grateful if you shared it with others who also might appreciate a few good ideas!