Mother's Day gifts that won't offend moms

Forget the flowers. Get the mother in your life a vibrator and a gaming PC.

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We asked ourselves "what do moms want for Mother's Day?" The verdict was unanimous: moms want cool stuff. Not just mom stuff, because being a mother is only one part of a person's identity, no; we're talking about cool stuff for cool moms.

Here are the best gifts for the best moms. You're welcome. Also, thank you.

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Stuff for home

We know moms miss us dearly even though we keep ignoring their words of wisdom. Don’t make mom go to your Instagram or Twitter to catch up on your savage antics. Give your mom a Google Nest Hub and share new memories often with little effort. It’s easily the best digital photo frame you can buy; it automatically displays photos from a selected album, which makes it a great way to share new moments with your mom in the background without needing to send a flood of texted photos that’ll be lost in a thread forever. The Nest Hub is also a pretty good smart speaker thanks to the Google Assistant so it’ll come in handy for controlling a smart home, playing music, looking up recipes, and more.

Kamikoto makes handcrafted Honshu steel blades, guarantees them for life, and usually charges around $200 per knife as a result. The Kanpeki set includes a 7-inch Nakiri vegetable knife (the one that looks like a cleaver), an 8.5-inch slicing knife, and a 5-inch utility knife. Each offers a single bevel Kata-ha blade, and each is certain to make you feel like a ninja in the kitchen. I’ve got the insane, katana-like 13-inch Yanagiba and my favorite thing about it is how much it makes me concentrate on what I’m doing — because it’s so unbelievably sharp I’m convinced I could cut a finger off without noticing. My second favorite thing is the precision crudités it makes possible. Anyone who ever has to cut anything deserves a Kamikoto, but the person who raised you especially so.

This chair-and-ottoman combination isn’t merely an iconic and instantly recognizable piece of 20th century furniture design, it’s been called “a special refuge from the strains of modern living.” Which sounds like exactly what mom needs having endured the various demands you’ve no doubt inflicted upon her since she brought you into this world. It’s not your fault. Growing up is hard. Modern life even more so. We’re destined to try our parent’s patience and get on their nerves. But that’s why we also owe it to them to ensure they can kick back, relax and recoup from time to time. Choose from a range of finishes and upholstery, scope out an appropriate corner, and then do what you can to make sure you’re in line to inherit it one day.

A good vibe

I know what you’re thinking, but hear me out before you react. Maybe you wouldn’t be comfortable gifting this to your mother (though some families have that relationship and that’s cool too!), but chances are you know a mother who would really, really appreciate getting a quality vibrator, like a partner or a close friend. And it doesn’t get much better than Duet — trust me, I built one. It’s programmable, comfortable, and really fun to use either alone or with a partner. Since it’s shaped like a tuning fork, the stimulation comes from all around and can be as subtle or intense as you want it to be. In these isolated times, there are few better ways to de-stress. Mom will forget about all the other vibrators.

Not all moms have clitorises or prefer PIV intercourse. There are tons of versatile sex toys around to meet different preferences, and few (at least that I’ve encountered so far) come as highly-recommended as Unbound’s Shimmy. Or any toy from Unbound, for that matter — seriously, just read through their reviews. Shimmy is a reasonably priced multi-speed vibrating plug that’s good for solo or partner play. Just be sure to grab some lube, too.

A sick gaming PC

I know two things about moms: they need power, and they don’t necessarily have time to play around on PCPartPicker. So if your mom is a YouTuber, a gamer, a streamer, a photographer, or anything else that requires some muscular computing power *cough* Chrome *cough*, get her this tidy yet monstrous battlestation.

Just for them

The mom in your life deserves a beautiful pen because let's be honest: they're almost certainly creating a ton of lists, keeping things organized, and generally making sure life doesn't fly completely off the rails. The Ajoto pen is truly a joy to write with — the heavy brass structure feels sublime in your hands (and is naturally antimicrobial), and the ink the company provides is silky smooth on just about any kind of paper. If you’re feeling really generous, you can add on the leather pouch for safe keeping (an additional £36.00, or about $44, but a very nice touch). Sure, it's expensive, but you can't put a price on the memoir your mom is going to write, likely titled something like My Spectacular Kid.

There’s something uniquely rewarding about having a beautiful plant in a beautiful pot somewhere in your house. So Baetanical — a one-person operation that also has one of the most interesting Instagram accounts in the plant world — should be on your list for any holiday. Often you can find all variety of plant cuttings to begin your garden, but right now the store is offering Monstera deliciosa seeds — a striking plant that will be a constant conversation piece for any mom in your life. Add one of the handmade ceramic pots to the mix to complete the look (we're partial to the white speckle option, though it doesn't have a drainage hole), and you're all set to help someone commune with nature.

For a sneaker that’s more than 30 years old now, the Air Jordan 1 still hasn’t managed to lose its cool factor. And, simply put, every mother deserves to have this timeless piece of footwear in their closet — especially the “Blue Chill” version that Nike dropped in 2019. This loud-yet-subtle style features a patent leather upper with dark and light blue overlays, a design inspired by Michael Jordan’s roots at the University of North Carolina. The sneaker just pops, and it’ll be perfect for any mom as we head into the summer.

The women’s Blue Chill Jordan 1 isn’t cheap by any means — GOAT has it for $460 and up, depending on the size — but you can’t put a price on the amount of swagger this is going to bring to the lovely mom (or moms) in your life.

Pure peace

I know, I know. It seems obvious. The Switch Lite? For mom??? But, the Switch has become an essential tool in our current arsenal of combating coronavirus-related boredom, anxiety, and seemingly endless lack of distraction. For the mom in your life, those feelings are probably amplified thanks to the need to always be looking out for the people around them. (Also, not for nothing, the Switch is just… fun.) So this one is easy: get a Switch for a person you love and give them hours of relaxation and entertainment. If you’re really lucky, they’ll let you play too. Oh, and be sure to throw in a game or two — Super Mario Maker 2, Animal Crossing, or L.A. Noire (for the true crime buff) — can make the time just melt away.

If you’re even a casual reader of Input, you’ll know that Amazon is, for the most part, evil. That said, we get why you still shop there. But what if we told you that there’s a better way to purchase Mom some quality books online, all while supporting struggling small businesses? Try the Amazon alternative Bookshop, which makes shopping online from indie booksellers easy – and gives them a healthy cut of each sale. (On top of that, Bookshop splits 10 percent of its profits among member stores.) And if your mother happens to be the tech-savvy sort, we suggest you get her journalist Sarah Frier’s fascinating new book No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram.