29 Great Gifts for Mother's Day

By Diane Anderson-Minshall

Originally published on Advocate.com May 09 2013 7:18 PM ET

A Cat That Talks Back
Is Mom a crazy cat lady? Or on the verge? Push her over or celebrate the quirk with the totally fun Party Animal Dancing Pet Speaker. You can choose from several different plush pals (Cleo here is my favorite, but the company also makes dancing pet speakers that look like dogs, bears, bunnies, and even a koala) that plug into your music device and literally dance to the beat. Works with almost all sources, from laptops and iPods to CD players and MP3 players. Even better? A portion of all proceeds goes to PAWS Chicago and PETA. Oh, and these Party Animals have personalities; Cleo’s profile says she loves Madonna and Lady Gaga as well as hiking and camping. Sounds like a lot of lesbian moms we know. DancingPartyAnimals.com

Something New to Wear
Think funky, cute, and hip. The Toy Factory Dolls Boyfriend Jacket from QuirkBox is everything mom is not but you've wanted her to be. Trust me, it's wearable and she'll adore the subtle flourish of pink, which makes this better than blooms for a stylish MoDay gift. ($60.29, QuirkBoxed.com)

Something for the House
Does mom still have that ratty recliner that has been in the family for four decades? Make her try something a little more fun with this limited edition Tokidoki Signapore Arm Chair that screams, "Keep the dog off the furniture." When she says it's too young and hip for her, take it to your own apartment, guilt-free. ($2,465, ClickForArt.com

A Tell It Like It Is Bag
This adorbs "Bite Me" Victorian Vixen canvas tassel clutch from Jessica Cushman can be used for makeup, a night out, or basically anywhere Mom wants to make a classy statement. (JessicaCushman.com, $20)

Breakfast in Bed 2.0
Remember all those terrible breakfasts in bed you gave mom (where she had to finish cooking and clean up after you?) Try it again. With Wired Waffles, you can get pre-cooked, delicious, ready-to-eat or heat Bacon Maple Waffles with 200 mg of caffeine baked in. Not enough? Add some of the Caffeinated Maple Syrup. You can also get chocolate, cinnamon, or sugar waffles or a variety pack. (WiredWaffles.com, $12 and up)

Support Marriage Equality Stylishly
This awesome Maxwell Dickson Fight for Love graphic art toss pillow from gay-owned Apt2B is like a mini-Lichtenstein that's functional and fun but also kind of subversive and gay. (Apt2B.com, $60)

Hold Off on the Hearing Aid
Created by a really cool rabbi in Minneapolis (maybe you saw him on Shark Tank?), the SoundBender is a smart, simple product: You plug it into your iPad and suddenly you can hear better. It's a magnetic, power-free amplifier for all iPad models. Most important, Mom can stop yelling "Turn it up" to at least one electronic item in the house. (SounderBender.com, $12.99)


Making Sniffles Fun

Grandma always has tissues handy, but tissue boxes are u-g-l-y. This cute little Casa Tissue Cover from Umbra (which comes in purple and lime green) turns tissue box into art and the tissues into the white smoke from the fireplace. And it's very affordable and durable too. (Apt2B.com, $9)

Make Use of Those Old School Photos
You'll love these Instawatch design-it-yourself watches that let you upload any image (hello, Instagram!) and create your own watch in a dozen different colors. You can make one with your childhood pictures or a snappy modern shot of the two of you, or even immortalize her (show up wearing it at Mother's Day brunch and see if she notices). Oh, and if she loves beaches, Pac-Man, or Brad Pitt, you can put them on a watch face too, or get her a gift card and she can make her own. (Instawatch.me, $44)

Spoonful of Love
This smart, integrated measurement tool called Portion, which came to life thanks to a Quirky inventor campaign, has measuring lines and a hollow handle for different-size portions, which lets you measure and mix with the same spoon. Perfect for moms who are teaching the kids to help cook too. (Quirky.com, $9.99 for two) 

The Funny Girl Plays Every Mom
The Guilt Trip, which follows a salesman (played by Seth Rogen) on his cross-country road trip with his mother, played by the great Babs, is hilarious and heartwarming. This Blu-ray combo pack is a great gift with over an hour of hilarious bonus features including featurettes on Barbra and Seth, a look inside Barbra’s world, an alternate opening and ending, over 10 deleted scenes, and an uproarious gag reel. (Amazon.com, $19.99)

Some Sweet Feminist Tunes
With their 22nd album, Sweet Honey in the Rock: A Tribute Live! Jazz at Lincoln Center, members of the  internationally acclaimed, award-winning, all-women African-American a cappella group offer up a live performance from New York's prestigious Jazz at Lincoln Center venue. Even better, they pay tribute to some of their musical influences, including Odetta, Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, and Bessie Smith. (Amazon.com, $16.08)

A Stiff Upper Lip
Tap into mom's fun side with a StacheTat, the Temporary Mustache Tattoo, that comes in dozens of fun designs, from traditional (like Salvador Dali, Magnum P.I, and whoever the classic handlebar should be named for) to whimsical and poppy (there's a rainbow-colored Gay Pride series, in fact). They're cheap and weird, just how we like our women, er, gifts. (StacheTats.com, $6.99)

Booze and Brews
Sure, brunch will be overflowing with mimosas, but if your mom's anything like mine, she'll want to drink at home too. Skip the tried-and-true and try out Yacht Club Vodka or Van Gogh Vodka.The latter has been a pioneer in the flavored vodka category for years, and its Van Gogh Cool Peach Vodka makes the world's best peach bellini. Meanwhile, a newly launched luxury brand from France's Bordeaux region, Yacht Club Vodka, is actually gluten-free, makes a killer martini, and is sold in a bottle inspired by the Aquariva speedboats often seen in the French Riviera. Both drinks are found at many regional gay events and come in bottles that are art pieces unto themselves. (LaurentWines.com, $33.14; VanGoghVodka.com, $28.99)

Move Over, Boring Wine
The new Chilean Kappa Pisco is the latest project of the Marnier Lapostolle family, producers of Grand Marnier and the award-winning Lapostolle Wines from Chile. Chilean Pisco is a spirit made from the double distillation of wine, either aged or unaged in oak. Kappa is the unaged variety, a delicious white spirit with excellent mixability. With notes of fruit and blossoms, it's the perfect base for nearly every summer drink you can think of. (BevMo.com, $34.99)

Everything But the Kitchen Sink
Remember when you were a kid and Mom had everything in her purse at all times? She probably still does, and it still takes forever to find anything. Help an old gal out with the new woven Butler Bag, a purse that compartmentalizes the  interior so there's a place for everything, as well as a zippered “privacy pocket.” There's even a tote bag version. (Avon.com, $19.99)
                                                              
Makeover in a Bottle
Want to give her the spa day she deserves but stuck on a ramen budget? One bottle of GG Gatsby's new Ocean Kissed Waves Texture Mist will Make mom look like she spent the day at the beach without, you know, doing so. Made of coconut and argan oils, Ocean Kissed Waves leaves users with sun-kissed, tousled waves as if they're fresh from a beachy spa visit. (GGGatsby.com, $12.99)

Peace of Mind
This one is especially good if the mom you're celebrating is your wife, not your mum. Give her piece of mind with the MobileKids App, which enables parents to monitor activity and set limits on a child’s mobile phone use without eavesdropping on private conversations or combing through text messages. After you load the app on your phone and the kid's phone, it offers filters to block inappropriate downloads and contacts, GPS-tracking capabilities, and weekly reports on downloads and phone usage. She can even set limits on times the phone can or can't be used. (MobileKids.com, $59 for one year; there's also a free version)

Books About Motherhood That Aren't Self-Help
There are far too many books aimed at mothers that just underscore the author's biases, the vast commercialization of "self-help," and cultural myopia around women's roles. These two books, one biography, one novel, do no such thing. In My Mother’s Wars, lesbian literary pioneer Lillian Faderman writes of her Jewish immigrant mother, who lived among the squalid factories of New York's Garment District in the 1930s and '40s as the family she left behind in Latvia remained in Hitler's deadly path. It's a story of unionizing, single motherhood, enduring guilt, and more. Meanwhile, Diana Gould's brilliant debut novel, Coldwater, tackles the intimate relationships we can build wtih children who aren't technically our own. It focuses on a woman on a downward spiral who forces sobriety on herself in order to find the missing daughter of a former lover to whom she has no legal relationship, meanwhile juggling AA, Hollywood power players, and characters straight out of a neo-noir. Brilliant and resonant for many women who have raised kids they didn't give birth to. (My Mother's Wars: Beacon, $25.99; Coldwater: Amazon.com, $12.21)

For the Mother of Your Children. Maybe Not Your Own Mother
Not that every woman doesn't deserve this, but unless you're both one of those super cool Our Bodies, Ourselves types, you might not want to give this to your mom. But it deserves attention: the Stronic Eins uses the latest technology to give you an orgasm. The Stronic Eins is the first toy in the world to actually thrust (not vibrate). It does not use classic turbine motors, rather, it contains a new patented technology, called Drive Technology, that is supposed to replicate the pulsating found in "naturalistic lovemaking." And if you snag one for your sweetie, be kind enough to include a bottle of the new Astroglide Sensitive Skin Ultra Gentle Gel Personal Lubricant (FunFactoryUSA.com, $199; Drugstore.com, $6.99 )

Something to Make Car Trips Easier
The tiny Condigo Trivia Cube Game uses the QR reader on your smartphone to pose trivia questions so you can play on the go or toss it in the backseat to keep the peace on your next road trip. (CondigoCube.com, $14.99)

Tastier Tea for Two
Tea sets are all the rage for Mother's Day gift, but this year skip the tradition and give her a gift set with the new Numi Organic Savory Teas, which combine organic vegetables, wild herbs, decaf tea, and aromatic spices for something that's not quite a soup, not quite tea, but perfect for a rainy spring day. Flavors include Beet Cabbage, Broccoli Cilantro, Carrot Curry, and more. (NumiTea.com, $7.99 and up)

Where Babies Come From — Now
Hands down, one of this year's best Mother's Day gift has to be Cory Silverberg's hardcover children's book What Makes a Baby, which is the perfect 21st-century "Where do babies come from?" picture book. The book talks about where babies come from in a way that encompasses kids who are adopted, conceived using reproductive technologies, through surrogacy, or the old-fashioned way, and regardless of how many people were involved, their orientation, gender, and other identity, or family composition. Author and sex educator Silverberg nails it, as does award-winning Canadian artist Fiona Smyth, who illustrated the book. (SevenStories.com, $16.95)