I have NO idea what to get my Mom for Christmas.

My mom already has a spinning bow tie that she’s quite fond of.

I don’t know you and I don’t know your mom, but my guess is the best gift is the gift of your time and attention. Go do something together, look at old pictures, ask her questions that lead to stories you have not heard.

Seriously, we have stopped giving my mom “things” and begun giving her “things to do” - tickets for 2 to a play, a gift card for a nice restaurant in an amount that would cover 2 meals so she can take a friend, a spa visit, stuff like that. She has way too much stuff already.

Also, since you two live in different states, you could buy some wine or cheese or coffee or something from one of your nice local shops. It’ll be something different from what she’s had before, which can be fun for presents. Bonus if it’s from some place you like to go to often and can talk about, or some place that was named Best Whatever in your city.

Make her a book of “Chore” coupons…

My brother and I finally did away with the ridiculous gift exchange (“gee… another thoughtful gift card.”). However, before doing so I won the competition one year by finding a video documentary on the Nebraska farming county she grew up in. She loved it, shared it with all the relatives back home.

So, check where your mother grew up, went to high school, or college. Search for a Historical Society for the town or country, or contact the school. They may have picturebooks, DVDs, or books on topics of interest. Nostalgia is a powerful thing.

Be warned, you’ll have to hear lots of reminiscences throughout Christmas.