Last Minute Mother's Day Gift Ideas If You Forgot To Buy Something In Advance

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mother's day gift ideas

Oh crap. Mother’s Day is Sunday and, if you’re reading this, chances are, you don’t have a present for your mom yet.

(Or you do, but you just take pleasure in the desperate floundering of those not as considerate as you are.)

And, while we live in a society of instant gratification, there comes a point in every week when not even Amazon Prime can save you. The delivery estimates are just cutting it a little too close and you’re forced to realize “Jeff Bezos can’t even help me now.”

So what do you do? How to do spare your family from the “I got you a box of chocolates from the gas station” shame?

Go to the mall? What, is this the 1990s? What are you doing to do? Stroll around Nordstrom trying to remember your mom’s blouse size or trying to pick out new shoes for the mother of your children even though you can’t remember if she’s a size 4 or a size 14?

Don’t fall into the usual last-minute Mother’s Day gift traps.

Your wife or your mom will KNOW if you just grabbed something off the seasonal shelf at Wal-Mart and they will never forget it. (Parents can always tell.)

But, if you don’t have time to order online, there are still some very simple, very effective, very thoughtful-seeming Mother’s Day gifts that you can absolutely pull together with almost no notice.

Here are 5 last minute Mother's Day gift ideas that will make the mom in your life think that you’re the sweetest person ever… even if we all know the ugly truth.

1. Make her a meal.


This is fast, relatively simple, and all it takes is a tiny bit of prep and a trip to the grocery store. The idea is that you wanted to give your mom handmade this year, but, since you’re a little old to be making clay ashtrays, you decided to treat her to a home-cooked meal. (This takes on additional significance if you’re the type of person who never really cooks.)

Spend five minutes on a recipe website, find something that sounds tasty yet more elaborate than a normal Sunday night dinner, and invite your mom over early to make chit-chat while you prepare your meal. (She might even pitch in.)

2. Write her a hand-written letter.


If you want to tug on the heartstrings this Mother’s Day, THIS is the way to do it.

Because who hand-writes letters anymore? I can barely hold a pencil anymore — those muscles have atrophied while my typing fingers have gained Hulk-like strength — so, simply taking the time to sit down and write out (in your best hand-writing) how much you love and appreciate your mom… that’s huge.

That’s the modern equivalent of carving their name in hieroglyphs on the wall of a tomb. Your mom will treasure it forever… and you can do it in like 10 minutes.

3. Buy her a collection of her favorite movies on iTunes.


This seems fast and simple, but it’s harder than it sounds. The idea sounds awesome — “Hey, I bought you a selection of your top 10 all-time favorite movies.” BUT, if your wife, baby mama, or actual mama is an IOS user, it means you need to get a hold of their iTunes account.

And you don’t just want to order stuff via their logged-in Apple account because it will charge them for it. So here’s what you do. You figure out what movies you want to buy — you get extra points for your thoughtful curation — and how much they’ll cost. You then get iTunes gift cards for that amount (either online or at the drugstore).

You get access to your favorite mom’s iTunes account, you redeem the gift cards, and then you buy them the movies. That way the movies from you, but you don’t seem like a moocher for charging their credit card.

4. Print out a selection of your favorite family photos.


Printed photos have become exponentially more impressive in this day and age, because, let’s be honest, most of our photographs just live on our phones. We Instagram them, we share them on Facebook, but we rarely actually have a physical copy of the photo in our hands. So simply the act of printing out some of those photos can seem like a really thoughtful gift.

But don’t print them on a home printer — the ink is expensive and they always look crappy. Here’s what you do… if you use a service like Shutterfly, you can normally send your photos to any big chain drugstore in your area and have them printed in an hour. (They can’t do crazy sizes so you’ll have to be OK with normal 4x6s.)

Get 20-30 photos printed in an hour (surprisingly cheap) and then find some fun way to display them. Maybe buy a photo album at Target. Maybe get a nice poster board and do a cool collage. But you will seem super thoughtful on Mother’s Day for just taking those photos on your phone and bringing them into the real world.

5. Buy tickets to an upcoming event.


This is a great last-minute idea because you can literally just do it from your phone or computer, but you do have to do a little… showmanship to convince your mom that you’ve been planning this for AGES.

The key is finding SOME big local event that your wife or mom would really, really want to attend. A rock concert, a musical, maybe her favorite author is doing a reading. (Again you get extra points if you would never normally want to attend such an event.)

Basically, you just find something they’d want to go to, buy the tickets online, print out the confirmation, and put it in a card. When you present the card, you have to go on and on about how you’re SO sorry that you don’t have anything tangible to give them today, but you just really wanted to give them an EXPERIENCE more than some cheap THING. (Really lay it on thick.)

One word of warning — if you’re printing out a confirmation, make sure that they can’t see the date you ordered the tickets on the paper or else they’ll know “This jerk ordered these 5 minutes ago.”

ANY of these gift ideas can help make Mother’s Day special, especially if you only remembered that Mother’s Day was coming on Saturday.

They all involve a tiny bit of prep work, but they stress personal connections and handmade sentiments, which, trust us, moms go nuts for you.

Should you feel bad about throwing together a gift like these at the very last second? NO. Because your mom loves you no matter what AND she also probably knows you well enough that she wouldn’t expect anything else.

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