Five Mother's Day Gifts for those looking for something more meaningful than a big-box store coffee cup

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      There’s no point pretending otherwise--as holidays go, it’s one of the more dubious ones. Not as questionable as National Eight Track Tape Day, Squirrel Appreciation Day, National Lost Sock Memorial Day, but somewhat as pointless as St. Patrick’s Day, Groundhog Day, and Father’s Day.
      Unfortunately, the problem with Hallmark Holidays is that you’re seen as some sort of goddamn ingrate if you choose to ignore them when everyone else is breaking out the wrapping paper and scribbling on gift cards. Got a more or less functional relationship with the woman who birthed you? You’re going to have to get her a Mother’s Day gift.
      Perhaps you're either married or cohabitating with someone who squeezed out a child for you? Sorry, but because she's now a mom, you’re going to have to get her a gift too. And sorry, but a sink full of dirty dishes for her to get busy cleaning after a house-made brunch is only going to make her angrier than she is most days. The same goes for a homemade “Good For One Massage” certificate, which might as well have “Which I Will Immediately Attempt to Turn Into Sex” stamped on the bottom in small print.


      Stuck for a Mother's Day gift? Here are five ideas, all of which came from canvassing actual mothers. Three of whom begged to spread the word that the last thing they want is brunch turning the kitchen into a real-life approximation of the Do Lung Bridge from Apocalypse Now. Again.

      GolemDesigns Ceramics

      How funny the way that our shopping habits have ebbed and flowed over the past half century. Back when Elvis and the Beatles were kings of cool, life was—from the mom-and-pop butcher and baker to the candlestick maker—all about shopping small and local. Then the 1970s arrived and suddenly the only things anyone cared about were shopping malls and megastores—the bigger the better. Now, from craft breweries to the local handle-bar-mustached butcher and Burnaby punk rock baker we're back to small is beautiful, because artisinal is where it's at. This is all another way of saying you can't pick up a World's Best Mother coffee mug at Walmart and expect that to mean something. So instead consider the handcrafted ceramics at GolemDesigns, which range from Japan-inspired tea bowls and gorgeously rustic handmade plates to future-chic O wall planters and heart-shaped Raman bowls. Got a mother whose favourite rock stars are Chani Nicholas, Debbie Frank,  Jessica Lanyadoo, and the Astro Twins? Zero in on the Zodiac gold-decal black tumblers—which comes emblazoned with different atrological signs—before some pigheaded Leo beats you to the virtual checkout line. (

      DIY Hanging Basket

      As anyone who's ever purchased an elaborate hanging basket for their backyard, Yaletown condo balcony, or Strathcona Park tent knows, those things aren't cheap. The more assorted flowers packed in per square inch, the more you're paying. A decent hanging basket runs you between $45 and $65 at most gardening stores, including those on budget row on Marine Drive in South Burnaby. Here's a secret: a couple of pounds of  black earth costs about seven cents, and most of the plants found in hanging baskets run between $2 and $5 when purchased individually at a nursery. Make a pit-stop at Dollarama for a plastic hanging basket, and you're ready to get busy. Believe it or not, you don't need a degree in horticulture to plop some dirt in a container, sink seven or eight plants into that dirt (look for the likes of babies breath, petunia, impatiens, bacopa, fuchsia, nasturtium, geranium, or, um, cannibas), and then wrap with a bow after watering. You don't pay someone an exhorbitant amount of money to fix the brakes on your car, or replace your gas furnace do you? (Alright you probably do, but that's only because to do it yourself is to risk possible death). So why should you pay someone $65 for something you can do yourself for $20? And, no, the mother in your life doesn't have to know what you've done, unless you're trying to show her how she raised a child who's resourceful, creative, and thrifty (which sounds better than totally cheap). 

      mindtheminimal hancrafted concrete

      We know what you're thinking—the last thing your mother needs is another plant, given that she's killed hundreds of them over the course of her life. One more sacrifice isn't going to hurt anyone, especially if that gives you the excuse to buy one of the uber-cool planters from mindtheminimal. Particulary covetable are the diamond-shaped teardrop planter (which comes in colours including metallic gold, silver, and rose-gold) and the mind-bending mint-gold octagan. Traditional meets too-cute with the watermelon-motif cylindrical planters, while the dode in terracotta, white, and mint green will look fantastic in your mom's West Coast rainforest geo dome. Can't stand the idea of another plant dying three days after it's left the store? Luckily for you, and whatever plant you might have briefly considered, mindtheminimal has a concrete rings holder and trinket trays as well. (

      Eufy RoboVac G30 Edge

      No one enjoys vaccuming, and that includes the mother in your life. Believe it not, keeping on top of the housework is not her job. Here is a cold hard reality: speaking from personal experience, we are slobs no matter how much we vaccum and dust. Nothing drives that home like the game-changer that is the Eufy RoboVac G30 Edge. You want to know what’s scary? That would be the fact that your house is nowhere as clean as you think it is. That's made crystal clear after a week with this five-pound marvel, officially billed as a “Robot Vacuum with Smart Dynamic Navigation 2.0, 2000Pa Strong Suction, Wi-Fi, Compatible with Alexa, Carpets and Hard Floors.” A couple of days after one of our bi-monthly cleanings, the Eufy RoboVac rolled into our lives. And, good lord, as Col. Walter Kurtz might say, “The horror. The horror.”

      Here's how it works—you load the app, hit “clean”, and then settle in with a copy of War and Peace while the Eufy does its thing—using sensors to navigate its way around furniture, shoes, and the family Komono Dragon. A spinning side-brush makes sure that the corners are cleaned, and mini beater-bar on the bottom goes hard at the carpets. Each vaccuming session goes something like this: even though you ran the RoboVac for an hour straight yesterday, the thing has once again sucked up a half-cup of dust, dirt, hair, food particles, dander, and Lay's Salt and Vinegar potato chip fragments. Because your home is seemingly suddenly cleaner than its ever been, repeating the process becomes an obsession, each running of the Eufy, leaving you feeling fresh as a daisy after a spring shower in Hanalei.

      A great side benefit is that the Eufy RoboVac 30 actually forces everyone in the house to get organized before every cleaning. Yes it will work its way around the socks, underwear, piles of newspapers, Rickshaw hoodies, and dirty dishes strewn all over the floor, but things run so much smoother when it's got a straight line to do its thing. All of which is to say it's the kind of gift that will ensure the Mom in your life will no longer have to listen to you or anyone else complain about the house looking like something out of Hoarders. Unfortunately it can't do anything about the Do Lung Bridge-like pile of Mother's Day brunch dishes in the sink. (

      Bottega Prosecco

      If there’s one thing the favourite Mom in your life is dreaming of more than anything else, it’s a change of scenery. Imagine waking up in a restored 19th-centure farmhouse in Bibano, Treviso, and thowing open the shutters to look out on a 10-acre vineyard. Idyllic-sounding, right? Such is life—real, or at least covetously imagined by us—for the Bottella family, which for three generations has been producing wine, grappa, prosecco, and more from its vineyard just north of fabulously scenic Venice.

      Here are four great-for-Mother’s-Day options on the other-bubbly front: Bottega Gold, Bottega Rose-Gold, Bottega Prosecco D.O.C., and Bottega Prosecco D.O.C. Rose. You know what you—um, actually, make that your mom—are getting thanks to the Glera grapes: plenty of floral aroma and big fruit flavour. Sweet (but not overpoweringly so) and redolent of peach and orange rind, Bottego Gold comes in the vineyard's signature, and quite frankly fantastic-looking metallic-gold bottle. (The same goes for the Bottega Rose Gold bottle, except it’s an eye-popping metallic-pink, and will have you thinking of fresh raspberries and plum strawberries).

      Pick up the two bottles that pop visually, and then accessorize with Botegga’s Prosecco D.O.C. (get ready for pear and apple notes) and the Prosecco D.O.C. Rose (hello cherry bomb!). Yes that’s four bottles, but isn’t the mother in your life is worth it? Which explains why you've also booked a trip to Bibano, Treviso for when this whole pandemic business is over. (