Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Out of the box gift ideas for Mother's Day

Don't feel bad if you're still trying to figure out what to get your mum on Mother's Day.
In a recent survey by Wakefield Research for Western Union, almost half of all Americans reported that their top gripe for gifting to mom is they don't know what she wants and that they would break their budget for the perfect gift.

One way to net some ideas is to follow the trends online. 

It's called people power.

"We sift through billions of Yahoo! Searches to uncover trends, burning questions, popular personalities and hot ideas," said Beth Florina, a spokesman for Yahoo.

Based on the Yahoo! searches for "Mother's Day" in the past 30 days, a whole lot of people are looking to buy mom a new purse. Topping the list of choices is Louis Vuitton, followed by Chanel, Gucci, Michael Kors and Juicy Couture. If you're not comfortable picking out a purse but you know she's a fashionista, San Francisco Bay artist "Philo" has a collection of whimsical paintings featuring pooches riding in handbags. Our favorite: Blue Chihuahua in a Chanel handbag.

How about flowers?
It sounds passé but it does not have to be a mundane purchase. Instead of just snagging the first bouquet you see, consider something new. Yahoo! reported that the search for orchids, in the last 30 days, was up by 158 percent. Second choice appears to be peonies, followed by lavender, lilacs and calla lily.

Florina said searches were off the charts for the recent quakes and tsunami in Japan. Off the charts refers to searches that received little to no searches the week/month before and are now gaining interest. "So this year, give back with a donation in Mom's name to the American Red Cross," said Florina. If you do a search online, you'll also see a number of companies selling apparel, T-shirts and hoodies featuring "Hope for Japan" slogans, in which proceeds from the sale benefits victims of the disaster. The official CafePress Japan Relief T-shirt is $15 and for every one purchased, $10 is donated to the American Red Cross relief efforts in Japan.

Searches of lately also include a preponderance of tech toys. Judging by the number of hits on Apple sites, iPad is leading the Kindle e-reader, as a choice, by 30 percent.
Whether your mom lives within driving distance or another state/country, there is bound to be something she might like. In case you're still not sure, we've included a few more ideas floating around the newsroom, and online, for your mom:

Aprons are back in style and at the top of the list of trend setters are those created by The Hip Hostess. Choose from a variety of designs including this halter apron featuring twin pockets and scallop trim flounce. Price: $24. What's nice is this also comes in a little miss size so mother and daughter/and or son can bake a cake together.

Sony Pictures
Bon a petite!
Le Cordon Bleu in Paris might be a little much. However, just around the corner is the culinary school of Sur La Table at Somerset Mall, 2801 West Big Beaver Road, Suite 264, in Troy. Classes on everything from grilling and sushi to crème brulee and other French bistro favorites are offered daily. Cost: $50-$79. For information, call (248) 283-1057 or visit surlatable.com.

Read on!
Lisa Lillien is not a nutritionist, she's just hungry! Her new cookbook from the Hungry Girl series "Hungry Girl: 300 under 300" (St. Martin's Griffin, $22.95) is a New York Times best-seller, featuring genius recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner under 300 calories each.

20th Century Fox
Chic flicks
What mom isn't up for a movie? Especially a passionate love story such as "Water For Elephants," starring Robert Pattinson as a veterinary student who abandons his studies after his parents are killed and joins a traveling circus as their vet. The feature also stars Reese Witherspoon as the lovely Marlena.

Royal treatment
Treat your mom, grandmother, aunt or niece royally this Mother's Day. The Community House will present a Mother and Daughter Tea, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., May 7. Cost: $20 per adult; $15 per child (ages 1-12 years old). For reservations call (248) 644-5832 or visit: The Community House

It's in the mail
Cheryl's watering can ($29.95) arrives with 12 buttercream frosted flower shaped cut-out cookies, plus six milk chocolate pretzel clusters. Order online at 1-800-Flowers.com

Perfect is not important
Busy moms never have time for themselves and because they value photographs are often the person taking them. This Mother's Day present her with a portrait sitting for herself and her baby. Be it the little one cradled in her arms or the tall lanky teen standing beside her - it is a gift that she will cherish forever. "It is important for us, as mothers, to get in the photographs too," said Jamie Fodale, a mom and professional photographer from Roseville. "One day our children will look back on their childhood and want a photo of the love we share. I can't tell you how many times I've heard, 'I don't like this haircut or I need to lose 10 pounds before I get in a portrait. Our children will not care in 15 or 20 years about bad hair or that extra weight."
Just ask someone who's mother is longer around if they would want one perfect photo of her or a bunch of real life everyday images like this one here.

Portrait of a mother and her sons courtesy of Jamie Fodale Photography

Giving frees us from the familiar territory of our own needs by opening our mind to the unexplained worlds occupied by the needs of others -- Barbara Bush