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21 terrible Mother's Day gifts

There could be exceptions, but generally these gifts aren't wanted, aren't appropriate for the occasion or are thoughtless.

By MSN Money Partner May 3, 2013 4:05PM

This post comes from Craig Donofrio at partner site Money Talks News. 

Money Talks News logoMother's Day is May 12 and, like any decent son or daughter, you want to get your mom something great. What you don't want is to get her a crummy gift that might bore or offend her.

Knowing what not to get Mom is just as important as knowing what she likes. Worried? Don't be. We've identified 21 gifts that you should likely avoid when you're shopping for your mother.  

1. Diet or fitness products

I don't think anyone's eyes have lit up after unwrapping an Ab Roller. Ditto for a gym membership. Don't ever suggest your mom is fat, and definitely don't do it on Mother’s Day.

2. Wrinkle cream

Did your mom give you acne products for your birthday? I hope not. If you give her wrinkle cream, you're telling her she's both old and wrinkly. Let Mom buy her own cosmetics and creams.

3. Roses

Roses are a Valentine's Day bouquet. Instead, buy carnations and prepare a vase yourself.

4. A new pet

Giving Mom a new puppy means more bills, more worries and more responsibilities. If your mom really loves animals, consider making a donation in her name to the local animal shelter or the ASPCA.

5. Cleaning equipment

Your mom is not your maid. Don't ruin her day by telling her she's great at cleaning and should do more of it.

6. Bath stuff

As a teenager, I gave my mom gift baskets of bath products. Every. Single. Year. I would spot them in her room months later, unopened. The lesson? My mom already had her own soaps and shampoos she used regularly, and she didn't have any use for my gifts, however well-intentioned. Let Mom choose her own bath products.

7. Potpourri

It might smell nice to you, but it could be an allergen to Mom. Several people I know can't walk into a Crabtree & Evelyn without getting a headache. If you're not 100% sure, skip it.

8. Kitchen appliances

If your mother specifically asked for a new KitchenAid stand mixer, by all means go for it. But otherwise, Mother's Day isn't the time to ask for a free homemade meal.

9. Perfume

Chances are you don't know exactly what your mom is looking for in a scent, and you could buy something she wouldn't pick herself. If your mom already wears perfume, that's the perfume she wants. Don't make her feel obligated to switch scents because you got her a new smell.

10. Snarky signs

However well-intentioned those humorous signs are, many of them come off as snarky. While you might think a sign about cooking is great for the kitchen, or a sign about good moms keeping messy homes is great for her bedroom, she'll probably see it as your way of saying she should do more around the house. Not the message you want to send on Mother's Day.

11. Things that remind her of her mother

Shower caps, muumuus, flowery bathrobes -- these might have been appropriate gifts for women of another generation, like your mother's mom, but not now. You don't want to dress like your grandparents' generation, and neither does she.

12. A self-help book

Talk about a condescending gift: Getting her a book about building better relationships or other ways she could improve herself is a really bad idea.

13. A gift card or certificate

They're impersonal, and you run the risk of giving her one for a store or restaurant she doesn't really like. Instead, take her out to dinner at her favorite restaurant. She'll enjoy it and you'll actually spend time with her.

14. Money

Even more impersonal than a gift card, money essentially says, "I don't know what you want or like, but this buys stuff." You can do better than that.

15. Clothes

You don't know her measurements, do you? If you do, that's creepy. I don't wear the clothes my mother buys me (sorry, Mom! Happy Mother's Day?) and she'll likely have the same reaction to the clothes you choose for her.

16. An empty photo frame

This gift tells her you don't have any memorable moments with her. Even worse: a framed photo of you.

17. A really big painting

Art is personal, and what your mother displays in her house is tailored to her tastes. Unless you're absolutely sure she wants a 56-inch Vincent van Gogh print, don't risk it. She'll feel obliged to hang it in her home even if she dislikes it.

18. Wine and food pairing

Like roses, this is not appropriate for Mother's Day. You do not want to wine and dine your mother.

19. Candles

They seem like a good gift, but in reality candles only get used when the power goes out. You might as well give her a flashlight.

20. Something for you

Don't get her tickets to a sporting event involving your favorite team, or to a movie you really want to see. If you get more excited at the thought of having the gift than she would, don't buy it.

21. A mix CD of bands you think she likes

This might have been an acceptable gift for Mom when you were in middle school, but you know better by now. You don't want to watch your mom force a smile through a long mix of songs she doesn't enjoy while you celebrate her day of appreciation.

More on Money Talks News:

May 4, 2013 12:13AM
This is a great article of what NOT to do.  How about an article about what to do?
May 6, 2013 9:04AM
I went to a spa and had a facial the other day. It was awesome and I raved to my mother about it. She ooh'd and ahh'd about how awesome it sounded - so I bought her a gift certificate for a one hour facial by the same aesthetician that did mine. I don't see anything impersonal about that. It's a little something that she can enjoy for some "me" time. She deserves it, after all!
May 6, 2013 10:19AM
Carnations are the WORST flower.  My mother would much prefer roses.  And I get so sick of people saying gift cards are impersonal.  I want gifts that I can actually use want to do the same for others.  Sentimental gifts are nice sometimes but not EVERY year.
May 4, 2013 12:02AM

Simple personal things are the best gifts.  Although my mama is long gone, if she were still around I might offer to do chores around the house and yard for her such as help clean out  the garage, a closet or shelves, or maybe go out for a drive to some scenic area, a rose garden or park, and just have a nice conversation.  A basket of beautiful fresh organic fruit would also be enjoyable for many mothers.

May 6, 2013 11:13AM
I love kitchen appliances, money, fitness stuff, candles (which is actually what I'm getting.  My fiance bought me 4 Diamond Candles..I love him!), gift cards, wine and food pairings.  My son will be taking me out to eat at a Japanese steak house.  In the end, it doesn't really matter what you get, it's the thought behind it.
May 6, 2013 9:19AM
Well that pretty much rules out everything that I would think about getting so I guess I'm off the hook and have an excuse to not get anything at all this year.

Thanks for the heads up MSN.

May 6, 2013 1:19PM
An iron.  Worst ever!  I loathe ironing!
May 6, 2013 12:59PM

My Mom passed away last June, so this is going to be one bad mothers day.  I think we will spend it at her gravesite and maybe hit the casino (Her favorite hobby) I wish I could give her a crappy gift, cause that would be she would still be here.


Gone at 58, way too young and very unexpected.

May 3, 2013 10:00PM
Don't have a mom to give anything to. She passed away
May 6, 2013 1:20PM
I m planning on giving my Mom tickets to a MLB game. Think she will take her son?
May 6, 2013 11:14AM

I gave mom a brand new glass bong for mothers day. She LOVED it!!!!

She says its the most unusal vase she ever had, and gets lots of compliments on the artistic design.

My sister and I now have a little private joke as mom still has no clue of the orignal purpose of her favorite vase. Bwah-ha-ha!!!

Maybe someday we'll get her to use it in the proper manner.....

May 6, 2013 9:35AM
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