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Whether the pandemic is still messing up your perception of time and thus Mother’s Day snuck up on you outta nowhere—seriously wasn’t it just Easter like a week ago—procrastination is a deeply rooted in your DNA, or you’re simply struggling to nail down the perfect gift, you know the one that encapsulates all the love and gratitude and respect and sometimes frustration you feel for the lady while being unlike anything you’ve gotten her before and also better than anything your siblings will come up with, there’s no need to panic buy. We have got the perfect solution for you and, like vaccines, it’s backed by science.
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This May 9 try giving mom a new experience as a present for Mother’s Day because, according to researchers much smarter than us at Cornell University, more happiness is derived from participating in an experience or trying something new than from material possessions in the long run. Money can buy happiness but once basic needs are met it does so at a smaller rate. Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at the school who has been studying the money-happiness ratio for over two decades, explained in an interview with “Fast Company” that purchasing happiness though objects only lasts so long. He says, “We buy things to make us happy, and we succeed. But only for a while. New things are exciting at first, but then we adapt to them.”
As goods become part of your new normal, the joy sparked from them decreases. Experiences like vacations, concerts, or outdoor pursuits on the other hand become ingrained in someone’s identity, part of their life lore if you will. “We are the sum total of our experiences,” Gilovich said. “You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you.”
Even better, the doc says, picking something you can do together. “We consume experiences directly with other people,” Gilovich said. “After they’re gone, they’re part of the stories we tell.”
A solid case for skipping the usual bouquet and booking a floral arrangement class instead or trading the expected box of chocolate for a cheese and confection tasting. Following are some fun ideas for giftable, shareable experiences that will show her how much you care, make this Mother’s Day memorable, and might even inspire a lifelong hobby.
Bean & Bean Virtual Coffee Tasting & Cold Brew
Give mom something new to wake up for, or more accurately with. Bean & Bean, a New York-New Jersey mini-chain of cafés and organic, fair-trade roastery run by Korean-American mother-daughter duo, Rachel and Jiyoon, offers a virtual coffee tasting and DIY cold brew class. It’s led by Jiyoon, a certified Q grader (AKA pro coffee cupper). Purchase the class and they’ll send a complete kit with everything you need to make barista-level cups of cold brew. The kit contains a BPA-free Mr. Clever dripper, the signature Bean & Bean Downtown Blend, compostable filters, colorable instructions created by local artist Julie Cruz, and a bonus steeped bag. The group class is held every Saturday at 11 am online but these divas of drip can be booked for a private class as well.
Goldbelly Live! Cook-Alongs
You know the old saying: Give a mom a fish, and you feed her for a day. Teach a mom to fish, and you feed her for a lifetime. Delight “Top Chef” fans, foodies, and home cooks alike with a chance to learn a recipe and maybe even a kitchen hack or two from the finest restaurant owners, bakers, pizzaiolos, dumpling makers, BBQ pitmasters, noodlers, and culinary czars through Goldbelly Live. The class comes with a purchase of said chef’s meal kit from the site that delivers your favorite delicacies from around the states to your countertop whenever you can’t make it to feast in person. Mom will meet in a Zoom room and cook in real time alongside the chef. The May and June lineup includes Marcus Samuelsson, Shirley Chung, pasta matriarch Nonna Dora of New York’s I Trulli, and instruction that ends in feasts of pizza, ramen, and Nashville hot chicken.
Become A Backyard Beekeeper
Whether she loves honey or stresses over murder hornets and colony collapse after watching too much CNN or that M. Night Shyamalan movie, this made-in-the-USA set has everything your favorite eco-friendly mom needs to embark on a buzzworthy new hobby. The kit comes assembled and includes a hive body, wood frames with waxed RiteCell foundation, telescoping covers, a smoker, instruction book, and hive tool. It also comes with the chicest bee veil and leather gloves so mom stays safe while tending to her new friends. Sponsoring a hive in her name through The Bee Conservancy would also be a sweet, less time-demanding, gift.
Floral Arranging Workshop
What gift could be more appropriate for Mother’s Day than one that comes from Mother Nature herself? Alice’s Table and 1-800-Flowers.com, which of course can also meet all of your last-minute pre-arranged bouquet shipping needs with ease, have paired their expertise and premium products together to offer up several petal-powered centerpiece-arranging classes all spring and summer long. Each ticket comes with farm-fresh blooms, greenery, a vase, and live-streamed instruction from a hostess with the mostess from Alice’s Table. Extra fun is Red, White and Blooms, a class which assembles a Fourth of July-themed arrangement.
Build A Charcuterie Board with Harry & David
Pay mama back for all the times she slipped a coveted Lunchable in your school bag with the grown-up version, the charcuterie board. Alice’s Table and Harry & David are collaborating on a series of virtual workshops that will teach virtual participants how to curate the perfect presentation of meats, cheeses, and various accouterments like olives, crackers, or nuts. All of the gourmet goodies come from Harry & David a day or two before the event. Mom just has to supply the platter, paper, or board. (If she doesn’t have one, might we suggest one of these from Uncommon Goods? A dairy-only class is available for vegetarian parents and a summer antipasto board workshop is also available. There are several dates every month through August.
Tea Runners Subscription Box
If your mom’s idea of a good time was binging “Bridgerton,” unpack the good China, whip up some mini cucumber sandwiches and scones, put your pinkies out, sip some fancy flavored tea that comes with her new monthly Tea Runners subscription, and indulge in some gossipy speculation about season 2. With each box, she’ll receive four loose-leaf teas from around the world (enough to make 30 to 50 cups), tasting notes, and steeping instructions. Can specify only herbal, only black, only pure, or a mix of tea types. The introduction box is $12.50 but it renews at $25 a month. For a list of more subscription box ideas check out this gift guide.
MasterClass Buy One, Get One Membership Sale
Albert Einstein famously warned, “Once you stop learning, you start dying.” Help your favorite mother escape that fate by signing her up for an annual membership to MasterClass. With it, she can sign on and learn about a craft or topic from a legend who does it well like Annie Leibovitz (photography), Alicia Keys (songwriting), Kelly Wearstler (interior design), Serena Williams (Tennis), Margaret Atwood (creative writing), or Niki Nakayama (modern Japanese cooking). And if you act now, you can simultaneously stave off your own premature ending because the site is having a BOGO sale for $180. There are already hundreds of classes to choose from and new one are added every month.
The Caviar Co. Mother’s Day Box & Virtual Tasting
Make mom feel like she’s the center of her own “Real Housewives” installment by booking her a slot in The Caviar Co.’s Mother’s Day tasting with owner Petra Bergstein. Bergstein will walk participants through an egg-cellent flight of Siberian sturgeon roe from Madagascar, Italy, and Poland and answer any questions they might have about caviar. The tasting box, which serves one or two people, also features a mother of pearl spoon, a gold mother of pearl palette, French cocktail blinis, Vermont Creamery crème fraiche, and a recipe for a specialty drink from Craft and Cocktails. Can be personalized with a handwritten note.The Caviar Co. Mother’s Day Box
A Celebrity Cameo
Add some of that ol’ Hollywood razzle dazzle to mom’s day by arranging a personalized video message from her favorite actor, musician, reality or soap star, comedian, chefs, podcaster, drag queen, models, titans of industry, or social media personality. There are thousands to choose from and they run the gamut from Anthony Anderson to Geoffrey Zakarian. Stay on theme and hire a few TV moms like Debra Jo Rupp (“That ‘70s Show” ), Beverly Goldberg, or OG “Teen Mom” Maci Bookout. Ask them to say their catchphrase, sing a few bars, call your mom by her nickname, roast her, give her a pep talk, or relay all the ways she has made your life better. Or maybe your mom spends her free time watching cute animals videos and Cameo has a roster of furry fame seekers too. The price fluctuates depending on the talent you select and how personalized and detailed the request is. You can also pay to expedite the request to get it turned around in 24 hours. She’ll never have to know that you procrastinated again.
Immersive Van Gogh
Tell mom to grab her bucket hat because it is time to make like “Emily In Paris” because you’re taking her to see a Vincent Van Gogh digital art light show like the Atelier des Lumières one Lily Collins attended in the Netflix show. “Immersive Van Gogh,” which boasts a connection to Massimiliano Siccardi, the Italian director behind the Lumières experience, and a soundtrack from Luca Longobardi, features hundreds of thousands of cubic feet of detailed full-color projections that allow guests to step inside the painter’s most famous masterpieces like ‘Starry Night,” “Sunflowers,” and “The Potato Eaters.” The exhibit is currently on view in San Francisco and Chicago, and touches down in Los Angeles (starting May 27), Detroit, New York, Minneapolis, Denver, Dallas, Nashville, and Las Vegas throughout 2021. They assure it is safe to Gogh as they require patrons to wear masks, reduce capacity based on city/state mandates, and create social distancing circles to guide folks through the show. Appropriate to go Dutch on this one with your siblings.
Flaviar Spirits Club
Three cheers to the world’s best moms! If yours is top shelf and enjoys a nightly nip, sign her up for a six-month or year-long membership with Flaviar. Members receive a quarterly spirits delivery to their doorstep with tasting boxes and full bottles of their choosing, access to a wide selection of highly rated, club-exclusive, and rare whiskeys, rums, bourbons, brandies, gins, mezcals, and other spirits as well as invites to a host of exclusive live and virtual tasting events and experiences. If you order now, there’s also something in it for you. The Mother’s Day promo gives a free additional bottle of Jefferson’s Very Small Batch Bourbon to those who buy a membership for mom and a quarterly membership for themselves at the same time.