Last-Minute Gifts to Keep Your Mother and Mother Earth Happy


Mother’s Day is approaching quickly — do you need last-minute gifts? Perhaps, this year, you should gift your mom something more meaningful than just flowers and a card. Something more eco-friendly, perhaps? You are in luck! There are plenty of gifts that will make both your mom and Mother Nature herself happy. And most of them cost very little or nothing at all!

Gifting flowers on special holidays may seem like a harmless gesture, but the impact on the environment can be quite high. In fact, 78 percent of cut flowers are shipped in from South America to the United States, burning tons of fossil fuels for a gift that only lasts a few days. Heavy spraying of fungicides and insecticides ensures these flowers’ beauty is preserved during the trip, many of which have been banned by the United States and Europe. Certainly we want better for all of our moms.

Last-Minute Gifts for Mother’s Day

Here you will find some great alternatives to gift mom this year. She’ll appreciate the thought and the softer impact they have on the world into which she brought your thoughtful self.

Vibrant Houseplants

A fantastic alternative to cut flowers is a beautiful houseplant, potted herb, or even a gift certificate to the nursery so mom can pick out her favorite blooms to plant in the household garden. Air-purifying houseplants are a thoughtful gesture for her health and are usually easy to maintain. Herb gardens require a little more care but produce an abundance of flavorful garnishes for meals. Either route you decide to take, she’ll be able to think of you every time she looks at her gift — unlike the fleeting nature of cut flowers.

Natural Wax Candles or Essential Oils

Another sweet-smelling option is gifting an essential oil set or some natural wax candles. Avoid candles made from paraffin, a petroleum product, as burning these may release “unwanted chemicals in the air” and are much harsher on the environment than alternatives. You can find more natural versions in soy wax, beeswax, and even coconut wax or hemp oil products. Another thing to keep on your radar is the presence of lead in the wick; look for a “lead-free label” and you are good to go.

Coupons for Lending a Hand

Giving out a coupon book as a gift is making a comeback! It is a more Earth-friendly and less wasteful option for loved ones who simply don’t want more “stuff.” Take a moment to think about what your mom would really appreciate. Maybe this is in the form of favors or taking care of tasks for her, like bringing over cooked meals on a busy week, taking her recyclables to the local recycling center, or weeding the lawn or garden for her. Other ideas can be more fun, such as a coupon for a happy hour catch-up session, an old-fashioned movie night, or a trip to her favorite museum. Get creative!

Plastic-Free Storage Containers

If you do provide a tangible gift, present it in a way where mom can reuse the packaging in the future. Mason jars hold tiny objects and food gifts well, and many items can be wrapped in a new scarf or quilt (bonus gift!). If you notice mom has been using the same dated Tupperware for decades, you can also update her plasticware with more sustainable options, such as these gems for every day lunch-packing.

An Outdoor Excursion

Who says you have to gift things? Experiences are often more memorable than any tangible item. An outdoor adventure can be scaled to mom’s preferred level of activity. Anything from a walk in a local park to a picnic to a kayaking adventure are options for new memories. Take advantage of the blossoming season of spring and spend some quality time with mom and Mother Nature at the same time.

Tickets to Learn an Earth-Friendly Craft or Skill

Learning a new skill is an awesome gift to receive! There are tons of skills that end up being super Earth-friendly, as well. Taking a class on canning and preserving food means less food waste, learning how to knit means avoiding potentially unethical practices in clothing suppliers, and becoming skilled on a road bike means less time spent in a car. Taking a class together also means more bonding time with mom, which is priceless.

Katie Medlock is a writer, mental health counselor, and educator on a quest to make the world a better place. Her writing has appeared on Headspace, Inhabitat, Care2, Ravishly, and Chic Vegan. On her days off, you will find her cooking, catching up on nerdy podcasts, blogging at The Offbeat Herbivore (, or lounging with her partner and rescue dachshund.

How are you spending Mother’s Day this year? Let us know below or share your eco-friendly ideas and last-minute gifts on Facebook and Twitter.

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