| word to your mother | 8 Last Minute Mother’s Day Gift Ideas So You Won’t Look Like Jerk

FYI, Mother’s Day is on Sunday.

I know, I know sometimes we get busy. And sometimes (just sometimes) we forget to get a gift for those oh so important/special/amazing/inspiring women in our lives.

Never fret, I’ve got you covered. I’ve come up with a list of gift ideas that are not only ethical, but also will make it look like you’ve been planning this (instead of scrambling at the local Walgreens 15 minutes before Mother’s Day brunch).


Subscription Box

A subscription box is an awesome way to keep the love going all year long. Whether you’re introducing mom to a whole bunch of new products and brands or just getting her a box full of stuff you already know she loves, they’re a great option (and p.s. they usually come out the same time every month, so the fact that she doesn’t actually receive her gift on Mother’s Day won’t mean that you weren’t thinking ahead).

Some of my faves are Change Co. (I wrote about them earlier this week), a quarterly subscription box that can introduce mom to a bundle of new lifestyle products every delivery that are connected to worthwhile causes; Nature Box for the moms who love good snacks in every sense of the word; Vegan Cuts for the vegan snack, beauty or cosmetic lover; or Globe In’s Artisan Box, a monthly subscription box of highly curated, artisan-made products from around the world.



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Flowers are often a last minute go-to for people, and for good reason — I don’t know a lady that doesn’t love a good bouquet of flowers. That being said, 80% of flowers are imported from other states or countries, which requires the use of extra resources for fuel transportation, refrigeration, etc. Sometimes they also get other treatments involved to keep the flowers looking fresh. Not to mention they’re often grown in energy-guzzling greenhouses and often inundated with toxic chemicals and pesticides. But there are some better options! Look for flowers grown locally (farmer’s markets are a good option), using sustainable agriculture practices. Even better, you can get a live or potted plant/succulent (if mom’s a hipster) from your local nursery. You can also check out Treehugger’s list of 8 unique green alternatives to cut flowers for more idea.



Similar to a subscription box, these ideas will live on well after those Mother’s Day mimosas. Mom a yogi? Get her a membership to her favorite yoga studio or a subscription to a yoga magazine.

Is she into cooking? Get her a eco-friendly dinner box like Green Chef  — they are certified organic by California Certified Organic Farmers, and from the salmon to the soybeans, all ingredients are fresh and sustainably sourced, non GMO, with no synthetic pesticides, no artificial ingredients, no growth hormones or antibiotics; and they use eco-friendly packaging to boot. Or help eliminate our food waste problem and get her a subscription to Imperfect Produce, or similar company that is helping the problem.

If she’s a reader, get her a subscription to a magazine. You could get one that you already know she loves, or one that will expose her to a whole new world of goodness and doing better, like Peppermint Mag.

Or just make a donation in her name to her favorite charity, or a cause that’s near and dear to her heart (far better than when you named a star after her in elementary school, amirite?).




I love a good glass of wine, and after raising you, your mom probably does, too (too far?). And it’s not hard to pick out a good bottle at your local liquor store or wine shop. Look for local if possible and for organic (handy definitions below):

  • “Made with Organic Grapes” or “Made with Organic Ingredients” means that the wine that contains at least 70% organic ingredients. Sulfites can be added, but it may not beyond 100 parts per million.
  • Organic means that the wine was made with 95% organically grown ingredients (the other 5% must not be available organically). On the label, you’ll see the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic symbol. Again the certifying agency must be listed. No sulfites are added, though the wine can contain naturally occurring sulfites.
  • 100% Organic means the wine is made from 100% organically grown ingredients. The wine also was monitored throughout its entire production process. The bottle bears the USDA organic seal (the certifying agency must be listed). No sulfites are added, though it can contain naturally occurring sulfites (or sulfur dioxide, an antimicrobial substance).
  • Biodynamic really goes above and beyond Biodynamic means the wine that is 100% organic, plus the grower has gone beyond to try to bring the farming process more closely in tune with nature.

You can also check out these 25 eco-friendly options from Treehugger for some more options.



Because everyone, especially mom deserves a little pampering, perfumes, lotions and other body care gifts are always nice. That being said, sometimes they are also made up of toxic chemicals and ingredients that are not only hazardous to the environment, but also to human health. Don’t worry though, there are more and more options out there. Check out a few of my past posts for some of my favorite options, but also some pointers below if you’re shopping locally.

  • Natural perfumes typically are either single-note or have fewer notes. This is due to that fact that there are fewer “raw materials” to work with as a lot of flowers don’t actually have oils that can be collected naturally.
  • Look for information about sustainable sourcing. The crops should be grown in a way that doesn’t cause harm to the land or the farmer.
  • Try to find companies that follow fair-trade policies. Ideally, they are paying fair prices for the crops and ensuring working conditions are safe.
  • Small batch and handcrafted are good signs, but not always a sure bet.



Another fine smelling option is the candle. Unfortunately, a lot of candles are made from crude oil byproducts, and between burning that and the often synthetic ingredients to get it to smell so nice, some candles can release some gross stuff when they burn. So instead of buying a cheap candle at the closest convenience store, check out some of my faves and some tips and tricks for what to look for as you’re out shopping:


  • Look for candles that are made from 100% natural wax (no blends), like beeswax or soy-based wax. It’s also good to note that soy has some issues of its own, but if you seek out soy that is organic, GMO-free and from US soy crops or an RTRSA certified plantation and you should be good.
  • Try to find a candle that burns clean — i.e. isn’t burning a trail of black smoke.
  • Go for the non-scented. If that really doesn’t float your boat, at least steer clear of candles using synthetic fragrances. Look for candles scented with organic, pure essential oils.
  • Stay away from candles with lead wicks, they should be labeled lead-free but the tell-tale sign would be a dark line in the white wick. Organic cotton or hemp wicks are best.
  • Pay attention to the packaging. Buy candles in glass containers or aluminum (i.e. tea lights), both of these can be recycled. Avoid candles that have unnecessary plastic packaging.
  • Buy local if you can. This will reduce packing waste and reduce impact of shipping/transporting across the country.



Mom’s like chocolate. It goes well with wine. And whines. But a lot of the chocolate  out there is choc-full of issues (#seewhatididthere). The chocolate industry is not known for paying fair wages and has been linked to forced labor. Working conditions are often bad. And the way coco is grown and cultivated is pretty much no bueno for the other mother in your life (Earth, I’m talking about Mother Earth). That being said, we have options, and even better readily available options. You can check out some of my favorite options, or just look for the Fair Trade Certified stamp (which ensures that the workers were fairly paid and had safe and environmentally friendly working conditions) and the Rainforest Alliance Stamp (which means that the farmers grew the cocoa in environmentally responsible ways).



Last, but not least, there’s always the jewelry route. Things that sparkle are often popular with the ladies, and mom’s are no exception. But the jewelry industry often leaves much to be desired (I know, can you say Debbie Downer, anyone?). There are human rights and environmental issues around mining diamonds (and other gems), as well as precious metals and labor issues around making a lot of jewelry. So, as always, a great place to start is by shopping local artisans — this can almost guarantee there are no labor issues, as the products are usually handmade. Second, look for recycled metals, jewelry made from stone or glass and other recycled or upcycled materials. You can find a few of my favorites here. And here.

Alright, go on now, make your mama proud!


What Are you getting your mom for Mother’s Day? Any good out-of-the box ideas?

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