1) Chocolates that will make her cry. I'm not talking about a box of chocolates that you ran out and bought at Long's Drugs or Walgreens on Saturday night when you stopped to pick up some Aspirin and Cheetos on the way home. I'm talking about organic chocolates made with dark sugar, cane rum and island bananas or how about Equadorian dark chocolate and filled with a mix of plum wine and plum puree? No? Mom needs a little more kick to her chocolates? How about a dark chocolate ganache with Tullamore Dew Whiskey? Oh, now YOU'RE interested. I see how you are. Go ahead and order a box for yourself while you're at it.
I ordered some of these as gifts for Christmas in 2006. I'd never tasted them before, but they sounded wonderful, and I ordered A LOT. I owned a Cold Stone and thought these would make nice gifts for my employees. The day they arrived, I had been in the store for about 9 or 10 hours, hadn't eaten anything all day, and was trying to decide whether to grab something to eat before my hour drive home or not. Instead, I opened up my box of chocolates to inspect everything. Along with my order, Lesley, the owner, had included a little sampler pack. You have no idea how happy this made me! I grabbed those suckers and headed out to my car. I don't remember which flavors she sent me, but I was having a hard time deciding which one to try. Whichever one it was, it was SO GOOD I STARTED CRYING. I know this may not seem very impressive, given my previous disclaimers about how everything makes me cry, but food has never been one of those things. Seriously, they were that good!
Now, it could be that I hadn't eaten anything all day, or it could have been the relief that I hadn't just spent hundreds of dollars on a sub-par product, or it could have been that after being in the store all day, these were the only bit of joy that were available to me, but these chocolates held up. I did include a box for myself in my order, and every time I'd eat one, I'd get a little teary-eyed. Oh, AND they lasted. I can usually devour a box of chocolates all by myself in one or two sittings, but I would eat one or two of these, be totally satisfied, and be able to put them away until the next day because even someone like me can't eat that much goodness all at once.So go visit the Life Is Sweet web site and pick out a nice collection of chocolates for Mom. You can go to their Artisanal Chocolate Flavor List to see descriptions of all the different flavors. There are several different collections available, AND Lesley donates part of her proceeds to support various fabulous charities. Mom will understand if her gift is a little late when she finds out you took the time to order a box of artisan chocolates for her and that in doing so, you made a donation to a good cause on her behalf. It just might make her cry. And if the chocolates don't make her cry, take them away from her and send them to me because, clearly, your mother has no soul and does not deserve chocolates this good. (One disclaimer: If you are ordering close to a holiday, they may be out of certain flavors, so you might not get all of the flavors that are listed in a collection, but Lesley and her crew will do their best to give you a good sampling of what they've got. If you find a particular confection that you are really set on, you might want to call and ask about it's availability. This could actually work in your favor-"Mom, I'm sorry your gift is late, but the hand-crafted organic chocolate collection that I ordered for you is still being made. They were out of the saffron-infused cream and Moroccan mint when I called, and I wanted to make sure those were included in your order.") Can you feel the tears coming to her eyes?
2) Hand-made jewelry. You can go to any Kay Jewelers or Zales and find Mom some diamond-studded ring or pendant that 8,000 other last-minute shoppers will be buying for their mothers too. Not that these aren't lovely, I'm sure, but come on. Get Mom something that doesn't scream out, "Oh @$^*! I forgot to get you something for Mother's Day, so I picked this up at the mall! Sorry about the Cheeto dust on the box."
Have something hand-made or even custom-designed. Julie at Silversmyth creates hand-made jewelry at reasonable prices. She makes these cool little box pendants that would be perfect for Mom. Not only is it a unique piece of jewelry, but there's room inside for a little note or a tiny picture of her kids or grandkids (your mom's kids, not Julie's, although I'm sure her kid's picture would fit in there as well). She also makes earrings, bracelets, rings, and chains, all the stuff you'd expect a jeweler to do. You can order off her web site or call her to discuss an idea for something original. Again, you might not be able to get this by Mother's Day, but if you tell Mom her gift is going to be delayed because the artist is still working on her original design, she'll probably cut you some slack; and if she doesn't, confiscate the gift when it arrives and send it to me because, clearly, your mother has no soul and does not deserve a beautiful piece of custom, hand-made jewelry.
3) Hand-crafted chocolates AND custom jewelry. You might want to reserve this for if you've REALLY screwed up bad recently or if you just have a really great mom and you want to let her know. Awwwwww!
I like these gifts for a couple of reasons. For one thing, I'm actually not big on consumerism (all evidence above to the contrary), but I believe in spending money on quality things that you really like. If you're going to buy chocolates, buy good chocolates and help out a worthy cause while you're at it. If you are going to buy jewelry, buy something thoughtful and unique that the recipient will love for both its beauty and the meaning behind it. Most people I know don't need more stuff. Raise your hand if you know someone who NEEDS another trinket to put on her bookshelf or another "World's Best Mom" coffee mug. Chocolates are consumable and jewelry allows you options-you can wear it or not, and you don't have to figure out what to do with it.
And finally, remember that you don't have to just celebrate YOUR mom on Mother's Day. Stepmoms, friends who are new moms, the mother of your child (AHEM! Guys, pay attention!), grandmas, aunts, or anyone else who has been like a mom to you. I'm not saying that you have to go out and buy stuff for all these people, but at least acknowledge them with a call or a visit to say thanks for being in my life.