The annual great-holiday-gifts challenge reaches its peak when you start shopping for Mom. Expressing love, gratitude and all the rest of the things she means to you takes a truly special present. Along with spa days and sachets, facial potions and desk organizers, make room under the tree for a gift that's part technology, part family love and all about Mom. Whether you go the do-it-yourself route or opt for a big splashy surprise, honor Mom with your thoughtfulness.
You'll need a head start to produce this Mom-pleasing present, so it's not the best choice for last-minute shoppers. Whether she keeps them on her home computer or stores them in the apps on a smartphone, your mom has amassed a sizable collection of family-favorite recipes. Use your digital camera to snap feature photos of the delicious results, accruing a photographic record of her repertoire meal by meal. You can tell her you're putting together a food diary, working on a school project or thinking about starting a blog. Secretly, your pictures become the illustrations for a custom cookbook you put together, using her recipes as the text. You can upload your work to an online service and receive a bound book that gives a foodie Mom bragging rights for years to come.
Turn the portraits you take with your digital camera into a collection of custom mugs, each one featuring a different member of the family. Whether you send image files to a company that prints them on kiln-fired pottery or hire a local ceramic artist to create drawings on clay mugs or cups, the results become much more than containers for late-night hot chocolate. Note that most of these custom mugs require hand-washing to preserve them and don't make good choices for use in the microwave oven.
If Mom is tech savvy but her technology lags behind her needs, turn her portion of your holiday gift list into a great excuse for a welcome set of upgrades. A new computer—desktop or laptop, depending on her needs—helps her stay organized, whether she's tracking household expenses or writing the next great American novel. A tablet gives her hours of entertainment and reading pleasure when she takes time for private moments, and it doubles as a picture gallery on which she can view her favorite photos. Add in a new smartphone to round out her digital life with synced connectivity among all her devices.
For a big finish to your holiday gift exchange, upgrade the center point of the home—the kitchen—with one or more new appliances. If her refrigerator has reached the 10-year-old mark, it can't offer the energy performance of a new appliance, and innovations make an upgrade an easy choice for kitchen convenience. From ice, water and sparkling water through the freezer door to flexible storage drawers and multipurpose storage compartments that can change identity from freezer to refrigeration, you can meet Mom's kitchen needs and help her cut costs. A new range can offer convection baking and roasting, a gas or induction cooktop and an extra-large oven that can prepare an entire meal at one time. Announce the big upgrade with a handmade card featuring Mom's photo and pictures of her refreshed kitchen appliance.
Photo Credits: Shauna Hundeby/Demand Media
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