When I was a kid I loved making Mother’s Day gifts for my mom. One year I made her this huge cake with 3D flowers on it (that cracked and fell apart before I could get it to her). Another year I knitted her a throw for her couch (which I never finished and I think may still be in our garage). Another time I designed a greeting card just for her that wasn’t quite finished (that she ended up watercoloring over and over again onto cards when I decided to sell it). She was one lucky lady.
Now that I’m an adult, I try and give her things that she will actually want (and won’t have to actively spend years of her life finishing) but that also have meaning. Not always an easy feat.
But what mom doesn’t love supporting a good cause? I put together a list of fourteen gift ideas that your mom (and you!) will be genuinely excited to open on Mother’s Day and also serve a greater good. I think I finally got this one right.
Why we love it: Because you vowed you’d get the family photos up on the wall while the kids are still living at home and Minted has made it oh-so-easy. With hundreds of customizable designs to chose from that come already framed, you can have your fam up in your living room as fast as you can hammer a hole in the wall (or, in my case, ten).
How they give back: Part of the proceeds of every art print goes to Every Mother Counts, a non-profit dedicated to making pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother.
Why we love it: Remember when you were a kid and you had to wear your key around your neck to not lose it? These necklaces are like that only way cooler. Each one is engraved with a word to guide you (Love, Breathe, etc.) that you wear until you meet someone who needs the message on the key more than you. Then you give it away. And probably get locked out of your house and have to watch cartoons at the neighbors’ all afternoon.
How they give back: They employ people transitioning out of homelessness and work with Chrysalis, a non-profit dedicated to creating a pathway to self-sufficiency for homeless and low-income individuals by providing the resources and support needed to find and retain employment.
Why we love it: Um, because will you look at that tote?!? It’s full-grain leather, handcrafted in a studio in San Francisco, big enough for several trains and sippy cups, and will go perfectly with everything in your wardrobe.
How they give back: A portion of their proceeds are donated to local organizations dedicated to rebuilding the lives of women who have been sexually exploited or domestically abused. As well, certain products are made in conjunction with an apprenticeship program that helps women get back on their feet.
Why we love it: Until I came across Sackcloth and Ashes I never really gave a second thought to blankets (I’m just happy when they don’t feature Elmo’s face). Now I’m obsessed with heading to the desert and wrapping myself in one of their wool numbers while I restfully gaze into the fire and my children, apparently, gallivant elsewhere. Or, perhaps more realistically, I pull it out for a picnic in the park and am immediately the object of envy and interest. That sounds pretty good too.
How they give back: For every blanket purchased one is given to a homeless person.
Why we love it: Because while we think every mom should err on the side of comfy, your T-shirt from that 2001 Dave Matthews concert is starting to look a little worn. Sevenly has tons of fun T-shirts with inspiring sayings that, oh, by the way, support excellent causes.
How they give back: Each flash sale supports a different charity, which receives $7 from each purchase.
Why we love it: Because these headphones are awesome. They’re gorgeous to look at, made from real wood, and sport excellent sound quality. Plus, they have a video on their site of a little girl hearing music for the first time that is ridiculously inspiring and awesome. Just like these headphones. Which are awesome. Can you tell what I’m hoping the Mother’s Day fairy will bring me this year?
How they give back: Each purchase helps someone hear for the first time.
Why we love it: As much as I use (and love) my phone, I will always have a soft spot for paper goods. There’s just something about writing ideas down on paper that gives them weight and feeling. Frank’s Stationery has a line of lovely notebooks that pairs perfectly with a cup of tea and a lazy afternoon (a mother’s allowed to dream…).
How they give back: During giving days, for every product you buy they give the same one to a student in need in New Zealand.
Why we love it: Almost every holiday my husband gets me a water bottle as a gift. Yes, staying hydrated is important in our family, but it speaks to a larger issue—I tend to “borrow” his water bottles and then “misplace” them. (I swear I don’t mean to do it. I am just in a hurry and his are always, weirdly, available while mine are under a stack of clothes to donate in the car.) So, I can say with total authority that this is a perfectly sized canteen in an adorable color that will easily fit in the cup holder of your car. You’re welcome.
How they give back: For every bottle purchased they provide water for one person in need.
Why we love it: Because you need something on hand for those evenings when everyone’s spent the day melting down, the dishwasher is on the fritz, and Empire isn’t on for another three months.
How they give back: As the first fair-trade spirits company, they respect about 200 rules to make sure they pay the farmers they work with a fair price to help them cover production costs, live from farming, educate their children, and build schools.
Why we love them: Because what mom doesn’t love a new pair of shoes? Especially one that’s comfy, goes with everything, and supports fair trade. (They also have a full line of sandals just in time for summer!).
How they give back: They facilitate international market access, pay above fair trade wages, offer skills training, and provide safe working conditions to all their employees.
Why we love it: Because it’s chocolate. I feel like that about covers it.
How they give back: 100% of the net profits are donated to animal rescue organizations around the country.
Why we love it: Why wear one bracelet when you could rock an entire stack? Or even better a stack with a personalized 18K gold necklace? Or even better a stack with a personalized necklace and a “This Is My Year” T-shirt? I think you get where I’m going with this.
How they give back: Each purchase helps support and employ an inner city youth through college. (You can read the students’ stories here).
Why we love it: I will never, ever have enough photos, photo books, or calendars with our family’s faces on them. Seriously. With as cute as my kids are and as fast as they’re growing, I need something to keep record. Artifact Uprising lets you create your own photo books on 100% recycled paper that will last a lifetime. That is going so, so fast. Excuse me while I go cry quietly in the corner…
How they give back: Any wood used in their products comes from beetle kill trees rather than healthy trees. As well, their calendars and wood block + prints provide jobs for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Why we love it: Because it’s owned by Hugh Jackman, which would be a ridiculous reason to like a company, just because the founder is totally dreamy and funny and will probably figure out how to save the world on his wit and charm and…AHEM. I’ve also heard they have delicious coffee, teas, and chocolate, and a business model that respects the growers and pays them fairly. And a really good-looking founder.
How they give back: 100% of Laughing Man Worldwide revenue goes back to education, community development, and new business development.
More Mother’s Day Gift Ideas: