Gift Guide

peonies make a beautiful Mother's Day gift
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17 Extra Special Mother's Day Gifts For The (Newly) Empty Nest Mom

Your first Mother’s Day since after your kid goes to college better be good!

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Last year, Mother’s Day felt rather momentous for me — almost as momentous as that very first year I celebrated as a mom, with my brand new 2-month-old baby girl in my arms. Somehow 18 years passed since that lovely and bewildering May and suddenly Mother’s Day was arriving just as that same baby’s first year of college was wrapping up. I’d survived my first school year with an empty nest, and darned if I didn’t think thatMother’s Day should be a bit of a blowout!

Of course, the absolute best present was having my daughter home for the summer. (It just so happened that we moved her back out of the dorm the Saturday before Mother’s Day.) But if you’re looking for a gift for any mom who spent most of the autumn crying and sadly pouring over baby photos (where does the time goooooo?) —well, may I suggest something from the below list? Newly empty nest moms have been through a lot, and we deserve some treats.

A gorgeous bouquet that supports other moms

Farmgirl Flowers is the creme de la creme of the subscription services — their flowers are always incredibly vibrant and beautiful. I love that $10 of the price of this arrangement will be donated to Every Mother Counts, which is a great organization. If you really want to spoil this mom, give her a a subscription for weekly, bi-weekly or monthly delivery!

A to-die-for dress

A major splurge, indeed! But what a gorgeous dress for Mother’s Day brunch — and many more spring and summer occasions for years to come (because this in an investment, for sure). Use code MD2023 for 25% off.

Extremely luxurious and excellent body cream

Boy, do I love Charlotte Tilbury! As an editor, I get to try a loooooooot of beauty and skin care products, and Charlotte Tilbury Magic Night Cream is one of my all-time favorites. And now there’s a body cream version! To die for.

A unique getaway

Staying at Auto Camp is such a fun experience! Yes, it’s glamping — choose between truly luxe tents or incredibly cute and fun Airstreams. There are a bunch of locations around the country, from Cape Cod to Yosemite and the newest spot, Zion. You can buy a voucher or get that weekend away booked for an amazing gift.

A chic jewelry travel case

This little leather jewelry box feels extremely luxe, especially if you are used to just tossing some extra earrings in an old makeup pouch, like I am!

A fancy beach towel from a beloved brand

For fans of all things Rifle Paper (like me), their adorable beach towels are a sure-fire hit — especially for someone who has been schlepping around everyone else’s beach towels for at least 18 years!

Another great choice from Rifle Paper: their pretty enamel cuff bracelets, which run from $36 to $48. I’m partial to the “menagerie” design.

An on-the-nose sweet treat

Funny Face bakery is actually a brilliant go-to for literally any holiday / gifting need. If you’re in the mood to go whole hog, check out this Mother’s Day starter pack. Or maybe the mom on your list is more of a White Lotus fan? The possibilities are endless.

A delightfully bougie candle

Truly decadent! This bay laurel scent brings me back to my childhood in Northern California, but there are a plethora of lovely choices, from absinthe to iris.

A dreamy bath

I cannot overstate how much I love this bubble bath. It’s perfection. For a super treat of a gift, sign up for the auto-replenish option and give her a year’s supply!

Another great gift option for lavender lovers is the L’Occitane Lavender Collection ($64).

A beautiful custom bangle

Just because her babies aren’t little doesn’t mean she’s outgrown mommy jewelry. This beautiful bangle from Sarah Chloe is an understated but meaningful and beautiful way to keep her babies’ names close, and the diamonds add just the right amount of bling.

One-of-a-kind glam

My college girl and I went to the Bite Beauty Lip Lab in Soho over spring break and had the best time creating our own custom lipstick shades. In addition to working with a Lip Lab technician to blend up our own colors (so fun from start to finish — including seeing how they mix it up and pour the final color into the tube, then freeze it!), we each chose a custom scent, and even had the packaging engraved with our new shade names. I choose “THREE NINETEEN” for my daughter’s birthday; she went with “Spicy Pisces.”

If you don’t live near a Lip Lab location, the same service is available virtually.

A very cool bag

One advantage to being footloose and fancy free is not having to schlep anyone else’s stuff around! You can wear this 100% leather bag from sustainable brand Baobab Roots as a clutch, crossbody, or wristlet. It’s actually quite practical, but the metal spike studs take it into a cooler level, whether you’re heading out for a night on the town or your Target run.

I also like the smaller, spike-less version for the minimalist at heart.

A truly deluxe book subscription

Starting at $82/month, Sweet Reads will send your recipient a box a month filled with treats in the theme of the month’s book. Each box comes complete with items connected to your novel’s storyline/setting/characters, including “ a delicious drink to set the mood, a sweet treat to enjoy while reading, and a card explaining the choice of novel and how the items connect.”

You can do three, six, or 12 month-long subscriptions, or you can buy one box to try it out.

Stylish kicks that go with everything

Hurray for the era of comfy shoes being on trend! These lightweight but deluxe-looking Loci sneaks are a step above (pun intended) the other great options out there — they’re cool vegan leather, stylish, and extremely comfortable!

Earrings one can wear whilst napping

I can’t sleep with regular earrings poking me, but a nap earring... with a flat back... now you’re talkin’! These push pin style earrings are made from in implant grade titanium, so they should be safe for sensitive skin. And, though they have the same flat backs as earrings designed for cartilage piercings, they’re made in a 20g thickness (i.e., the same as traditional earrings), so they're specifically designed for lobe piercings.

A decadent bottle of wine

When’s the last time you had a truly delicious glass of wine? This is a bit of a splurge for sure, and equally delicious in the bath with some night cheese and Netflix, or accompanying a scrumptious meal (that someone else cooks).

A cozy throw

One advantage to having the house to oneself is no one stealing the good blankets when it’s time to cozy up and spend some quality time with Netflix. This luxurious blanket made from pre-shrunk cotton is a great option for the mom who needs an upgrade. It’s also great for the beach!

Finally, one last idea is a whole bunch of flowers. I don’t mean one bouquet, I mean go to Trader Joe’s or Costco and buy a cart-full of inexpensive beauties. The more the merrier, so it feels like a truly lavish gesture. You cannot go wrong.

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