Husbands Unite: Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Saturday, April 26, 2008

If Andrea and I ever became famous (or infamous) to the point that a column full of Jeopardy questions was dedicated to us on the popular quiz show, the following exchange would probably take place:

Contestant #1: "I'll take 'The Normal Mormon Couple' for $100, Alex."
Alex: "The answer is: A mechanical key chain featuring a mother pig nursing her baby piglets."
Contestant #3: "What is the first gift Andrew ever gave to Andrea?"
Alex: "Correct! Your turn to select."
Contestant #3: "I will stay with 'NMC' for $200, please."
Alex: "The answer - $3.89."
Contestant #2: "What is Andrew's hourly rate while working on-campus at BYU?"
Alex: "Ohh, sorry. That's incorrect. Andrew only made $2.95/hr. in that job."
Contestant #1:"What is the amount of money that Andrew spent on the first gift he bought for Andrea."
Alex: "That's correct! What a cheapskate. You're turn to choose."
Contestant #1:"Normal Mormon Couple for $500, Alex."
Alex: "The answer - Incredible."
Contestant #2: "What are Andrew's abs?"
Alex: "Sorry, but way wrong. Any other answers?"
Contestant #3: "What is the fact that Andrea didn't dump Andrew after his first gift to her was a mechanical mother pig key chain that he bought for less than five bucks from a 7-11?"
Alex: "Correct! Andrea should have ran while she had the chance!"

Yes, you read that correctly. The first gift I ever bought Andrea was a key chain featuring a mechanical mother pig that fed it's piglets when the case was opened up. Now, there was an inside joke associated with the gift, but still, what a lame first gift-giving effort! I have improved very little over the past ten years and always have a hard time finding good presents for the NMW that both delight and surprise her.

Not only is it hard for me to find good gifts for Andrea, but all of our major gift-giving holidays and anniversaries happen to converge over a short period of time. In a few weeks I will enter the hardest part of the year for me. I will soon be weathering the perfect storm of important husband-type gift-giving dates that begins with Mother's Day (May 11th this year) and ends approximately four weeks later on June 14th. During this short period of time Andrea commemorate four important dates:

1) Mother's Day
2) Andrea's birthday
3) Anniversary of my release from Utah State Prison at Point of the Mountain
4) Our wedding anniversary

Okay, I made number three up, but the others are legit. While Mother's Day, our anniversary and the NMW's birthday are three of the most enjoyable dates on the calendar, it is draining from a gift-giving standpoint. Within the span of about four weeks, I have to come up with the three most important presents of the year. It's like having a ward member speak in Sacrament meeting, substitute in Gospel Doctrine, and give the Elder's Quorum lesson on the same Sunday. It is just too much to pull off back-to-back-to-back. It is great to have those opportunities, but they are best when spread out evenly throughout the year. Well, I don't have that luxury when it comes to showering Andrea with her annual gifts.

The purpose of this post is to help all of the Normal Mormon Husbands out there provide a nice gift to their wives this year. May 11th will be here before we know it. Before asking each of you (females included) to share good gift ideas, I have a few unique, thoughtful possibilities that are definitely worth sharing.

-Jewelry: Instead of going to ZCMI and getting knock-off sterling silver jewelry at 50% off, take a look at The NMW has ordered a few necklaces and bracelets from this site and they look great. The person who designs the pieces also gives them funky, fresh names like, "Cowgirl Rockstar", "Spring Fiesta", and "Penguin Parade". It is a great alternative to the bland, traditional jewelry that gets purchased for Mother's Day.

-Scrapbooking: BYU scientists have overwhelmingly concluded that scrapbooking is hard-coded into every LDS mothers genetic makeup. A good site for pre-made scrapbook pages, "Day You Were Born/Married" keepsake pages, wedding invitations, etc. is I ordered a "Day You Were Married" keepsake page for Andrea and we got a few good chuckles reading about the cost of living ($1.19 for a gallon of gas), sports (Bulls beat Jazz in NBA Finals as every Jazz fan yells, "MJ shoved Russell!" Let it go, guys, let it go), and music of 1997 (Mmm..Bop and the Spice Girls topped the charts). I also got "Name Meaning Gifts" for the kids. Whitney's was on a Disney Princess background and was eerily accurate when it said, "The number Four is closely associated with nature, so it is important for you to spend a lot of time outdoors." We were planning an outdoor party for Whitney's fourth birthday when we got it.

-Swoozie's: A lot of LDS women window shop at Swoozie's, but rarely spend money there. They have great products, but are a bit on the pricey side for most young families with four kids. Letting your wife spoil herself a little bit with a Swoozie's gift card can go a long way.

Hopefully these Mother's Day gift ideas help, but please feel free to post every other good gift you have every given (guys) or received (ladies) to make this Mother's Day a good one. When it's all said and done, I hope to avoid ever hearing the following on Jeopardy:

Contestant #2: "Alex, let's stay with The Normal Mormon Couple for $300."
Alex: "The answer - Cash."
Contestant #1:" What is Andrea's annual Mother's Day gift?"
Alex: "That's right...Andrew, you should be ashamed of yourself."


Julie said...

Worst gift ever received from my loving husband: "Uncle John's Bathroom Reader: Extraordinary Book of Facts and Bizarre Information"

Best gift ever: A day at the spa.

Go for the spa gift certificate, guys! It is so rare that a mommy gets a whole day to be pampered, buffed, oiled and massaged. She will love you forever!

7:49 AM
Megan said...

I'm glad to know that my NMH is not alone! If you want nice (but very cheap!) jewelry, check out They have great jewelry that comes in a nice sachet... And if you just can't pick, they do have gift certificates. (Take note of ring sizes before purchasing!).

For some reason, people never know what to get me. I think I'm pretty easy to shop for. Cash works because I can make myself happy with it, but the sentiment doesn't seem to come across clearly. "I love you enough to give you $100, but I can't figure you out to buy something with it."

For some reason, perhaps the APH commemoration date being the 15th or something, our Stake has the Fathers & Sons campout on the Friday and Saturday before Mother's Day. Some people love it and others hate it. I'm a hater. I want to slack off the whole weekend. I hate camping and so I really hate getting others ready for a campout.

My Mother's Day generally consists of a girlfriends' weekend away (to Disneyland) and total slacking off on the actual day. I get to pick my menu and dessert (even homemade lattice-topped cherry pie) and get lots of lovin' from my family.

Really personal gifts are the best. They say to me "Take a minute to remember just you." I'd love:
- A plush rug or pillow to sit or kneel on for prayer and/or meditation.
- New sneakers or workout clothes (the danger there is that NMW might suspect you're trying to tell her something). However, should you accompany them with the idea that time is allotted for an evening jog or time at the gym without worrying about the kids or dinner (even if it's just a week) it'd work just fine.
- Dusting the house. (Again the NMW might suspect you're saying something about her housekeeping, but I'd be totally grateful!)
- Selecting menus for at least a week that (1)coordinate with the schedule in her planner (or "brain" as I call it); (2) you'll help to cook at least one night; (3) includes nutritional foods that the kids will eat happily.
- Taking pictures of the kids and presenting them on the wall or album. It's such a hassle to get everyone ready and smiling. EXTRA brownie points if you can pull this off without NMW figuring out what you're doing. Don't forget that if you go to a studio, it'll take about 2 weeks to get the pix back (HINT: That means do it VERY soon...)
- Complete (again stealthily--not proudly) the "Honey Do" list your wife keeps for you. Imagine her joy and complete shock if the oil was changed on all the cars, your home teaching appointments were made, the light bulbs all worked, her computer updates and virus definitions were all done, the stuff to/from storage was in the right place, you've taken food storage inventory, changed the sheets, and taken the kids for their bloodwork at the lab. I'm sure the next list would start soon since you're so efficient at completing the list at will...

Well, I guess I should end my epistle now. I'll definitely have to link to your very timely post! :)

7:51 AM
Amy said...

Hey, that jewelry site you listed has some cute stuff, but it is a little too expensive I think. I have a friend who makes bracelets. I am not sure about necklaces or earings, but they run about $25 a bracelet. She also has buy 2 get one free deals. She also does bracelets for baby and pacifier clips. Here is here URL if anyone would like to check it out.

9:31 AM
bioman75 said...

Two words: Laker Jersey.

Seriously, sounds like you have your work cut out for the next couple of weeks.

9:33 AM
Heather O. said...

I second the spa idea. For her birthday, my friend's husband bought massages amd manicures for ALL OF HER FRIENDS, TOO. It was sweet. I have no idea how much it put him back, but hanging out with the girls for a few hours while being pampered was excellent. That's so good, you could even combine her birthday and Mother's Day, and then just take her out to dinner on your anniversary. See? You only have to come up with 2 events, and she loves you forever. Everybody wins.

9:34 AM
Natalie said...

Spas, manacure, pedicures, massages, etc. Those all sound great to me! Too bad I am not a mom yet. Maybe that should be my gift. A baby! Or at least a willing husband who doesn't want to analyze our finances everytime I bring it up!

10:04 AM
Angie said...

I will never let my husband live down the year he gave me a fish filet knife for Mother's Day. I had told him I wanted a porch swing, even pointed out the best deal. His defense, "I walked around the hardware store for an hour trying to find something." Needless to say, his present for Father's Day, a fish filet knife. He has since learned to do much better. Moral of the story, GUYS do not go to the hardware store looking for mother's Day gifts!!

In our house, Our anniversary, son's bday, Christmas and my birthday are all within a month of each other, so we tend to slack on gifts then, but since Mother's/Father's Day are spaced from them, I fully expect a gift or some sentiment, even if it is a day to myself. Great post, thanks for giving the men some good ideas!!

10:13 AM
Anonymous said...

I like the scrapbooking...I'm totally hardwired that way. This year, I'm making little brag books of all the grandkids for my mom, and one for each sister/sister-in-law with their kids. I've done those in the past for different occasions and they always go over well.

10:52 AM
Queen of Chaos said...

Your first gift to Andrea was a pig and piglets?!! You are a sucker and she's a bigger one for marrying ya! hehe J/k!

For our first Christmas {while dating} my husband bought me a bottle of Binanca. {ya know the mouth spray} What was he thinking?!! Yeah- there was an inside joke...but still! And I married him!

See the trend ladies and gentleman? You buy the girl you love a stupid gift...then they'll marry you in the long run. Now the big secret it out. { and I are CRAZY!}

The jepordy game was too funny, NMH! Great read! And your gift ideas are well thought out. You are doing something right. Good job! :)

I think you can't go wrong with breakfast in bed, foot massage and have the kids shut up at nap time so mom can SLEEP! Seriously---the best gift...EVER.

10:53 AM
The Wiz said...

Scrapbooking blows. I've never heard of Swoozies. It looks weird.

11:57 AM
Sandy said...

I think there must be a connection between weird gifts and marriage. The first gift Jake ever gave me was a 24K football helmet(like 1 1/2" tall) hanging on a gold necklace. I was all sappy about it then - I mean, he gave me a necklace about HIM, right? But now it makes me laugh - its like something out of "Snoop Dog's Gifts for the Honey" or something. I still appreciate the gesture, though:)

Don't you also have a baby being born in the middle of all your Andrea-holidays? You'd better get something GOOD this year, man. We're in the same boat as you guys (since we live in the Twilight Zone of similarities)...Mother's Day, my birthday is in June and our anniversary is in August, so Jake gets all hit up at once, too. This year he's sending me to a pretty pricey scrapbooking retreat for 3 days as a gift collaboration of all 3 events.

I like the gift certificate idea, since that means a.) the wife gets to buy what she wants...but the husband still went through the trouble of picking something out and paying for it and b.) that means that she gets to LEAVE THE HOUSE and go get her present (which means, of course, that the husband will watch the kids while she's gone, right?)

12:01 PM
Amanda said...

My poor husband has a similar situation.
12/7- Wedding Anniversary
12/16- Wife Birthday
12/25- Christmas
1/10- Baby Girl's Birthday

Worst gift ever received from my amazing husband: NOTHING! Yup... One year he did absolutely nada for my b'day

Best gift ever received from my husband: My daughter. She was a little late for my birthday though.

If I had my choice, I'd want one of the following:
1) Nice sheets (at least 400 TC
2) Some books off of my Amazon wishlist
3) See's chocolate. Yes, I'm on a diet, but it is a HOLIDAY!
4) Anything monogrammed. Check or
5) A BOM in the old people text size for reading in bed.
6) A cat. I know he'd never do it. But it would be AWESOME!!!

AND I'd want it to be a SURPRISE!!!

12:52 PM
Anonymous said...

Nice to see my NMW posting here, now I have an idea of what to get her.

My best present was getting a wedding photo placed on a pillow cover for our bed. But it might have been my best only in comparison to the other gifts I have given.

I would advise caution with jewelry, clothes, or anything that requires a fashion sense (unless you happen to be remarkably gifted in that area). It is very easy to think something is nice and pretty only to find out that it isn't or that it clashes with everything.

I actually have gotten into the habit of keeping a 3x5 card in my wallet so when I him my NMW mention something that she would like to have, I write it down for later use.

The key is to do something different from norm, and that shows a sincere level of effort and thought. In the end, it requires an incredible sense of understanding of your wife and thinking outside of the box. (Hence the reason many men have troubles. Only redeeming grace is that women have no trouble understanding men, and know that the pig braclet from your perspective is a good gift.)

1:06 PM
Ang said...

Oh, Drew, don't you know that the fact you care about this at all is one of the best gifts in the world? Really. (Okay, women, don't kill me for saying this, but it's true: It really is the thought that counts. And then it would be GREAT to get a massage, too).

Some of my best gifts have been handmade cards with little notes inside. Although I did really, really like it when he got me a brand new Mac laptop last Christmas. So it's the inbetweener gifts that are tough to pull off. (At my house, the not-so-thoughtful dead give away is if the gift is anything that can be bought at a grocery store.)

Also, I second The Wiz in saying that I've never heard of Swoozies. It doesn't really look weird, but I wonder whether or not you should get her the ceramic wine cooler that says, "You have to believe in something. I believe I'll have another drink!" I'm just sayin . .

Oh, and you failed to note that this year, you will also be required to get her a little somethin' somthin' for GIVING BIRTH in the next few weeks. :-)

Now I'll stop yammering.

6:24 PM
normal mormon wife said...

I think the best gift NMH ever gave me was a Sonicare toothbrush. That probably sounds crazy, but keep in mind that a) I was in dental hygiene school and completely obsessed with oral hygiene b) I'd never asked for one, had just mentioned how cool I thought they were in side conversation and c) They are expensive and we were still students, so I was SO not expecting it.

Those kind of gifts are the best. When you realize that, hey, he was not only listening to the things I was telling him, but remembered it and acted on it. Sweet!

6:30 PM
Earl & Vickie said...

If you get an expensive enough gift, you can give it at the first thing and have it count for all three. How's that for a typical male point of view? I once got her a baby grand piano.... and I got her a mother's ring with the the birthstones of the kids, that one got me brownie points...

7:00 PM
Scrap Happy said...

I've got you covered, for Mother's Day, at least.

BTW, love your blog!

8:03 AM
Lindsey said...

I can't decide what the best gift ever given to me from my husband was, but I sure remember the first!
We had only been dating a couple of weeks (with lots of "friend" stuff before that), when I had my birthday. He showered me with gifts that were extremely well thought out that either had private meanings or just things that he knew I liked, such as a new journal, a fun set of pens (I like to write real letters), a necklace, a big four-square ball, a light-up frisbee and a big pack of gum. Each gift could not have cost more than 6 or 7 bucks a piece (other than the flowers), but the whole with the date of making me my favorite dinner, ice skating and making cookies together, made it a truly memorable night. He set the bar pretty high for himself, which is kind of a shame because I don't know if he has ever matched it in 7 1/2 years of marriage.
He does know that I love to pick my own stuff with his input, though, so it's always fun when we go shopping together and he lets me pick out whatever I want--so fun!

8:54 AM
Nat said...
This comment has been removed by the author. 11:16 AM
Nat said...

Because my husband is still in school and we have two small children, we usually try to be really practical with presents. So our presents are usually something that needs to be done to the house, like replacing a few windows, or whatever.

But every once in awhile, he surprises me big time. The best surprise ever happened a couple of days before this past Christmas. I had asked him to pick me up a salad from McDonald's. When he came home and handed me the McDonald's bag, there was a brand new camera inside. A really amazing one. And like NMW said, I had never even asked for it. He just knew how much I loved photography, so the thoughtfulness of it (including giving it to me before Christmas so I could use it on Christmas Day) made it perfect.

Coming in at a very close second, my next favorite present was not of monetary value. I went away last month for a few days with our boys for a family thing, and when I got back, my husband had cleaned our bedroom from top to bottom. We had been doing a little remodeling, and our room was a disaster. With a 2 year old and an 8 month old, I hadn't been able to get around to cleaning it and it was stressing me out and he knew it. Finding it spotless brought me to tears.

What I want for mother's day: Probably what every mom wants...and it's free: Just a little time for myself without the kids!

11:19 AM
Melissa said...

First present from my husband while we were dating--a rock. And I don't mean a diamond. I mean an actual rock. It was a polished rock, but still.... And I married him! His presents have gotten progressively better (piano, computer, camera, etc.) But a rock? Which he initially said was too expensive....

3:03 PM

No scrapbooking in my hardwiring. Best gift my hubby gives me is a coupon for a whole day off with money to spend. I kiss the kids goodbye first thing in the morning and don't come back till they are asleep (and I call to check before coming home). It is wonderful. Oh, and part of the deal is that any mess made while I'm gone gets cleaned up by hubby too. Oh, yeah, he is a good man!!!

5:52 PM
Anonymous said...

well, my dear husband tends to not do well with getting me gifts. Once he completely forgot it was my birthday. He didn't get me anything for valentine's day this year because me saying "no roses because I am pregnant and the smell will make me sick" Somehow translate in his mind into No flowers. I had cleaned the whole house had a nice dinner waiting, well since he didn't get me anything he didn't get anything else either.
Two things stand out in my mind as the best gifts he has given me. One was when I told him I was going to education week in Idaho last summer and that he was not only paying for it, he was staying home from work to take care of the five children. The second was 1 1/2 years ago he got me a personal trainer and clothes in a size smaller than I was currently wearing at the time.

8:08 PM
The Motherboard said...

I hate mothers day.

The worst gift my husband got me was a pair of socks and a Martha Stewart magazine. (can you say thank you Wal-greens?)
Martha is a dork!

Best gift? A trip to San Diego with my sisters-- sans kids and husbands-- over Mothers Day Last year. Best weekend EVER!

7:56 AM

pair that beautiful flowers to an original heart-felt poem, perhaps. ah, now that is a heart warming gift. :)

1:10 AM
Anonymous said...

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4:23 AM