Mother’s Day got you stumped? We are here to help

pguerra@modbee.comMay 6, 2014 

Sunday is Mother’s Day, and it’s very likely you already have a gift for the mom or mom-like figure in your life. If not, however, we are here to help.

The Bee conducted a very unscientific survey, posting a question on our Facebook page and making some calls to area merchants to get some nifty ideas for Mother’s Day gifts.

First, of course, are flowers and jewelry. These are a cliché, perhaps, but there’s a good reason they are a cliché: Just about every mom would like to receive flowers and jewelry. The Northern San Joaquin Valley is blessed with a wide variety of florists, nurseries and jewelers (and, in a pinch, grocery stores): Step into any one of them and you’re sure to find some great ideas.

Another popular tradition is to take Mom out for a nice brunch or dinner. Again, there are lots of wonderful restaurants in our area, many of which offer specials on Mother’s Day.

That’s what Alyce Machado Luis’ family does. “We are five generations strong and decided about 30 years ago the best gift was to be together for a meal where the women did NOT cook or clean up,” she wrote in response to The Bee’s Facebook question. “We have booked a late brunch at restaurants/country clubs so we can close down the place.”

If your mom isn’t a fan of crowds, you might consider a gift card from one of these places to take her out on another, less frantic day. Or you could stop by one of the bakeries in town and pick up a tasty breakfast to go. Farmers markets and specialty food shops also are rife with great gifts.

Gifts for moms of all tastes are available at shops throughout the area.

Susie Fagundes at Intrinsic Elements in downtown Modesto provided several suggestions, ranging from $2.99 incense to an $89.95 hunk of amethyst. Hair clips, scarves and hats also are among the items available at the shop.

And if you don’t have any ideas what to get Mom?

“We love that,” she said. Locally owned businesses offer personalized customer service. Many, including Intrinsic Elements, also have free gift wrapping.

In Turlock, the 20 vendors of Vintage Market on Main Street provide inspiration such as necklaces personalized with children’s initials and birthstones, handmade chocolates and plants.

We also checked in with Craig Stott at Crescent Work & Outdoor on Eighth Street in Modesto for his ideas. He responded with the following email:

“Funny, I went downstairs to ask employees for ideas. A lady at the register heard me and said she was here to purchase a kayak as a Mother’s Day gift to herself.” That might not be the perfect gift for all moms, but some of the more adventurous types definitely would love it.

For others, Stott suggested pool toys, rafts, floating lounge chairs, ladies’ shade hats and flip-flops. Any of those likely would be appreciated by a mom who is looking ahead to a hot California summer.

“One really cool item from GSI is a collapsible wine bag with plastic wine glasses,” Stott said. “Great for the pool or concert in the park.”

Of course, many of the moms who responded to our Facebook post said the best gifts were homemade items from their children. Indeed, a photo frame enjoys a prominent spot on Bee photo director Joan Barnett Lee’s desk. Adorned with pebbles, the frame contains a photo of her son, Jonah, holding a sign that reads, “My Mom Rocks!”

Any of the crafts stores in town, such as Hobby Lobby and Michaels, can provide you with great ideas for handmade items that don’t break the bank. Or you could do something that doesn’t cost anything at all.

Sheila Stewart said her favorite Mother’s Day gift was “a cute little trinket box with little goodies and a poem inside he made in kindergarten!”

Carina Janel Sanchez Campos agreed: “Handmade ideas from my children are the best.”

Shannon Dale Ippolito-Cross picked up some canvases and had her children paint on them. “Cheap idea that’s priceless,” she said.

Idalia Milan likes it all: school drawings, lollipops, a small flower and, once, from her youngest, a rock.

“Oh, gosh, anything that comes from them,” she said. “Me having them in my life is a gift to me.”

Finally, Brigid Kathleen McCreary reminded us that the best Mother’s Day gifts don’t necessarily come from children or partners. One year, her friends got together to make her a scrapbook and video of her children.

“I was a single mom at the time and kids were little, so Mother’s Day usually got looked over a bit,” she said. “They made my day incredibly special and something I’ve never forgotten.”

Breaking News Editor Patty Guerra can be reached at or (209) 578-2343. Follow her on Twitter @PattyGuerra.

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