Design

Gift Guide #3: Your Mom (or Mother Figure) Who Talks Basketball Stats With Your Kids Even Though She’s Never Watched a Game.

A favorite photo of her, framed. From $49.

Flower-pressed shortbread cookies, $48 for a dozen. (Or a batch of homemade shortbread!)

A pin to make her smile, $10.

chocolate brussels sprouts

Chocolate Brussels sprouts, since she always told you to eat your greens. $28.

Personalized stationery, $28, and a promise to be penpals. (These cards are pretty, too.)

Heattech turtleneck, $20, because it’s THE WARMEST OF ALL TIME to wear under sweaters this winter. Perfect for taking walks around the neighborhood or sitting on the deck watching the snow fall.

teddy bear slippers

A bouclé scarf that looks great and feels like a teddy bear, $34. (Or fuzzzzzzzzy slippers.)

ring

A ring with her name (or that says “mama”), $160.

New Yorker

A year-long New Yorker subscription, $50, to support smart, funny, award-winning journalism.

Cloth Face Masks

Super soft cloth face masks, $22 for two, to keep her safe and cozy.

A donation to her local food bank to help keep fellow families well fed this season.

P.S. The 2018 gift guide for moms, the 2019 gift guide for moms, and the 2020 gift guide so far.

Note: If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. We recommend only products we genuinely like. Thank you so much.

  1. Kari T. says...

    Just wanted to chime in that I purchased What Kind of Woman by Kate Baer (from Indigo here in Canada) for both my own mom and my mother-in-law. I found Kate via CoJ so thank you CoJ for the gift idea!

  2. Mandy says...

    May I recommend crocus bulbs? Snow crocus — often called “tommies” — bloom so early, and sometimes through the snow. Other bulbs and seeds would be lovely, too, but I recommend these because they are early, tough, radiant, and they multiply year-to-year.
    We all need beauty to look forward to, especially now <3

  3. Cynthia says...

    The chocolate Brussels sprouts look so real! Hard to believe they’re candy!

  4. Lauren says...

    Where is the tray from holding the cloth face masks? So cute.

  5. Susan Galbraith says...

    I admire this community (CofJ writers AND readers) enormously and would never comment normally (too intimidated by you all – so I usually just lurk) but I’m trying to do a better job of speaking up when I see a negative race narrative perpetuated. The photo of the beautiful Black girl holding a turkey from a food bank sends a powerful message (unintentional, I’m sure – but nevertheless still sends one) that, of course, Blacks and POC are those who need/use food banks. We all can – and must – do better to stop these hurtful stereotypes. Shared with great love and respect (and a little trepidation too!).

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Thank you so much for your note! The photo was from the food banks’ site for their big Thanksgiving effort — but I hear you that there were a mix of photos on their site overall. Going to think about this. Thank you!

    • Sylvia says...

      Hi Susan, thank you for speaking up. I had the same thought. Also, liked the way you wrote it :)

    • Annie MB says...

      I think both extreme offense and defense are troublesome. So thank you Susan for graciously speaking up for yourself and for those of us lurking in the background as well, neither too offended nor too defensive, but certainly aware.

    • Escondista says...

      I have to say that my assumption from seeing the photo was that she was giving them out to people.

    • Lana says...

      I had the very same reaction.

    • Bec says...

      I agree with you, Escondista. That was my thought too.

    • Ocean says...

      100% was my 1st thought too. Thank you for speaking up!

  6. Katie Larissa says...

    Hello friends! I need out-of-the-ordinary board game recommendations! We are gifting each of our siblings a board game for Christmas, but they play a lot, so I know they have all the basic ones. I’m counting on the COJ comment section to help. (And I will go back and check Joanna’s posts for her recommendations, as I seem to recall there were a few.)

    • Bec says...

      We’re a big game family too so here are some of our favorites:
      Linkee, Scattergories, Last Word, Buzzword, Outburst, Say Anything, 5 Second Rule, Mr. Lister’s Quiz Shootout and Catch Phrase. Hope that’s a start!

    • Sara says...

      A friend recommended Carcassone. I love 5 Second Rule.

    • Jessica says...

      Our current household favourites are Codenames and Ticket to ride!

    • Anna says...

      I love Wingspan! It’s not super loud/fast-paced…more nerdy, with beautiful illustrations. My favorite game :)

    • Alice says...

      221b Baker Street is one of my favourites! It’s like extreme Cluedo.

    • Laura says...

      Carcasonne is fun! Other classical board games: El Grande, Settlers of Catan, TransAmerica. I am not so much into strategic games, so I love Dixit, Qwirkle, Ubongo, Ligretto, Boggle. Apparently Pandemic and Secret Hitler (sounds like a questionable game, but apparently really educational and fun) are good. As I was looking up the English names of some games – the German „Game of the Year“ award has a wikipedia side https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiel_des_Jahres
      Actually I think most people here just buy those games

  7. Jean says...

    The grandchild pins are already sold out! :(

  8. Sarah says...

    I love that picture with the grandma and the baby. So cute.

  9. Sasha L says...

    Thank you for the suggestion for food bank donations. This year more than ever, what a beautiful way to honor your mom (or mom figure).

  10. Emily Berry says...

    When I was a little girl, my grandma had a set of “grandmother” stationary that she would use to write us special notes. Last year, when I was pregnant with my mum’s first grandchild, we used Vistaprint to make her her own custom envelopes, address labels, stickers and cards that read “A note from Grandma, for a special little girl” We got the coveted full out cry reaction when she opened it.
    Now that my daughter is 9 months old, she loves to go out and open and close the mailbox for fun, and sometimes there’s a note from Grandma inside!

    • Chelsea says...

      How sweet! What a wonderful idea :)

  11. Susan Kilpatrick says...

    Is this not the time to buy local! To support a small business in your city or town during COVID? Many are really struggling.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Yes! We are focusing on small businesses and independent makers this year in our gift guides. Thank you!

    • Robyn says...

      What the..?! I don’t even know what to say. Is that real?!

      Do you think someone saw Bridesmaids and saw a gap in the market?

    • K says...

      …..whaaaat?! Who would… 28k??… mind blown.

    • H says...

      whaaaaaaaaaaaaat the?!?!??!!? my goodness….. I’m trying to figure out logistically how this would work, would 5 different families who want a puppy go in on this??? hahahaahhahha this is so strange

    • Sarah says...

      I can’t believe you can actually order a basket of puppies… I think I would be thrilled at the point of receiving them and then 3 days later your house is covered in puppy urine and you are hating the person who gave them to you.

    • Sara says...

      Thank you for sharing that link, I am smiling so big right now!! And what an insane gift lol!

    • Allie says...

      I just discovered this, too!

      But what about the $1,400 gingerbread house from that same site?!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I assume it’s all kind of ironic — they know that no one will actually buy it.

    • Sarah says...

      That’s horrible 😢

    • Allie says...

      Hilarious

  12. Janey says...

    The heading made me chuckle – I spend SO much time engaged in basketball chat with my teenage boys and I have ZERO interest in basketball. True love!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Hahaha same same!

    • Alice says...

      My mum is like this with football (soccer). I’ve got two brothers, and when we were growing up she would spend HOURS watching football, chatting about football, joking about football with my brothers. A friend of hers who only had daughters who had similar interest to her once asked “How on earth do you deal with all the football? Do you enjoy it?!”. My mum responded “No, but I enjoy them, so I’m happy to do it”. She’s the best :)

  13. Sara says...

    ok, I clicked on the chocolate brussels sprouts out of curiosity, then clicked “shop” on that webpage to see what they were all about. and you guys, they are selling 5 english lab puppies hand delivered in a tartan lined basket by a red-coated bell hop. for 28k$. is this real?!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I think it’s a joke! (I assume!)

    • Sara says...

      That was my assumption too. But dude, you never can tell with billionaires.

  14. Lainey says...

    I realise this is completely irrelevant but it made me chuckle to see the address on the personalised notecard – it’s an address in Bristol, UK, and I’m currently sitting around 5 miles away from it! Beautiful selection of gifts by the way

    • Genevieve Martin says...

      Haha, same! Just round the corner. Made me smile :)

  15. Those flower-pressed shortbread cookies are so beautiful! This reminds me of this gorgeous Youtube tutorial, literally also titled “Edible Flowers Shortbread Cookies”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4DP9Nn09U0

    p.s. My mom would also love that pin, though her grandchild is a cat :D

    • Aki says...

      I love her channel too!

  16. Adrienne says...

    Love you, CoJ team and your gift guides are always so creative. However the website selling those brussels sprouts chocolates seems…. off. They are selling a basket of puppies for $28k as a hostess gift, and it seems to be non-ironic. I’m having a hard time putting words to how that makes me feel. Some sort of…horror? Profound sadness? To me it feels Gatsby-level callous + frivolous to sell living beings as a throwaway prop while so many people are suffering loss of life, health, security, human connection. I love quirky things so clicked through on those brussels sprouts and that basket of puppies just haunts me. I wonder, is this the kind of business we CoJ community want to support with attention at this moment in time? Maybe it’s just me feeling that gut-punch of sadness, I would be curious to hear whether other readers have a different reaction (or none at all).

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh, I thought of it as a joke? Like, no one would ever really buy that? Curious to hear what others think! xo

    • Ann says...

      I was coming to see if anyone else saw that. So weird!!! I think you articulate the peculiarity and dissonance very well.

    • Julie says...

      I think it’s a joke? Although, you can add to your cart and get all the way to payment soo….I thought maybe it would say sold out. I feel weird about it? And unsure?

    • Sara says...

      I totally thought that was a joke. I even forwarded it to my whole family as a joke… I can’t imagine that it’s not a joke? Nothing else on that website even remotely aligns with it in terms of price.

    • Jeanne says...

      Ok, I was intrigued and had to go find the Basket of Puppies for $28,000. Yup it’s there but I wasn’t offended. This is more a joke and along the lines of the Annual Neiman Marcus Fantasy Christmas Catalog, where there are crazy offerings for outrageous prices. I think you could get a pair of Shar Pei puppies for an insane amount and I swear when I was a kid, there was a real Mummy for sale too. It’s obviously just for fun and to garner looks but there are rare occasions where someone does purchase something and the store has to struggle to put the order together or cancel it.

    • Rachel Nicole Adams says...

      It does link to a breeder of English Labradors, Greenbriar Plantation in South Carolina. However, I messaged the website and received a response:
      Thank you for reaching out. This listing is a joke and I apologize for any confusion. Happy Holidays!

      Best,
      Kimberlin

    • Nadine says...

      Phew! thank you Rachel for checking it!!!!
      As much as having 5 labrador puppies would be a dream, I’m very glad it is not real.

  17. Katy says...

    This guide made me so sad that my fam is doing strict Secret Santa this year — it’s making me want to rebel and get gifts for my mom (whose name I didn’t draw) anyway. And *I’m* the one who convinced my family to do the strict Secret Santa thing!

  18. Katherine says...

    C of J gift guide feels so thoughtful and sincere. I love finding a gift that will make someone feel seen. This guide has some really unique and special ideas.

    Ps: your mom is just so radiant!!! Always!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Awww that means a lot to me. Thank you xx

  19. Monica says...

    I might get the Brussels sprout chocolates for my kids! My 4 year old actually loves Brussels sprouts, they’re his favorite vegetable :0

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      wow, I’m impressed with his palate!

    • Alison says...

      Just ordered them for my one kid who simply can not stomach them! Can’t wait for him to open them!!!

  20. Angela says...

    Such thoughtful gifts! Grateful to you guys for all the work that goes into this!

  21. Agnès says...

    The brussel sprouts are so weird!! your guides make me smile!

  22. Emma says...

    Just love the turtleneck, and now 2 are on order for my sister and me. Just a suggestion Jo, maybe sometime in the future there could be coloring books not just for children but adults with crayons or markers, something to do when it is very cold and freezing outside with a loved one or children or just alone with your thoughts of the season. Thank you for considering this!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I love that idea, Emma. Thank you!

    • I found a colouring book of flowers at Kew Gardens. Am missing travel….I bought the book for a granddaughter but just might keep it for myself.

  23. Amanda says...

    Thank you for this! I tend to plan holiday gifts pretty far in advance, so I enjoy your gift guides but don’t necessarily use them for Christmas. But this one is great! I immediately bookmarked the cookies (my aunt will love them!), the brussels sprouts (so weird!) and the turtleneck (I need cozy layers this year more than ever. I actually look horrible in turtlenecks, but this link lead me to a scoop neck base layer that will work for me.) I find that this year, I’m also trying to give some little spirit-lifting non-Christmas no-reason-at-all gifts to friends and loved ones, so I’d love to see little things at a lower price point in a round up. Maybe grown up stocking stuffers?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Grown up stocking stuffers is a great idea. There will be some lower priced items on the sister and brother guide — coming up next week!

  24. Hannah says...

    I don’t even celebrate Xmas, but love this gift guide especially! The low cost but sweet/homemade options and the food bank donation. Even tho I’ve never celebrated Xmas this is still helpful for bday gifts and other special gifts to give family and friends

  25. Erin says...

    These are such good suggestions. I think I will order a turtleneck for my mom. She walks as her main form of exercise, so she likes good layers.

    Jo and team, I know you probably have all your gift guides planned out by now, so maybe it’s too late for this idea, but would you ever consider adding an all-book day to the gift guides? Or a round-up of readers’ book suggestions from prior chats during the year? Every time COJ readers describe what they’re reading, I get lots of good ideas, but now — when I’m wondering what books to buy for my peeps — I can’t remember all of them.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Yes! Good idea, we will do a mini roundup in an upcoming guide.

    • Caitlin says...

      Love this idea! I always immediately put a hold on books I read about on COJ and have never, ever, EVER been lead astray!

    • Susan says...

      Our family has started a tradition we call “Book Santa.” Every year the 4 of us (and any family who is in town for the holidays) goes to our local book store and browse together to help each other find a book. Then we head across the street to the bakery for a coffee and a treat.

      Then we all have a new book to read when we need a little down time & we have so much fun just browsing together – so many good conversations from chatting with each other about the books we find interesting!

      This year will be different, of course, but we will browse online & then order through our local book store.

    • Madeline says...

      Would absolutely love this!!

      I often find myself searching “books” on COJ when looking for reading suggestions for myself and others.

  26. celeste says...

    Love the interchangeable borders on the stationery – may have to pick up some for myself!

    • Carolin says...

      Same here and I was so sad at first. We introduced Secret Santa last year for the grown-ups but I couldn’t help to give my sister a New Year’s gift on January 1st… and have started to sneek in random gifts in the middle of the year.

  27. Lara says...

    Just wanted to say thank you for the tenderness and thought that goes into these. It seems like every site/influencer is putting out gift guides around this time of year. Cup of Jo’s are the only ones that make me tear up, because they really frame gift-giving as a way to express love and gratitude.

    Also, getting Heattech gear for the whole crew in anticipation of our entire social lives taking place outdoors (if not virtually) this winter…

    • Hannah says...

      Agreed! Even tho everyone is doing gift guides right now, Cup of Jo’s are the best and actually seem thoughtful as opposed to just getting us to buy a bunch of expensive stuff. I’ve looked at past guides for gift ideas for friends

    • I couldn’t agree more, Lara! So many gift guides feel consumerism focused, but COJ’s always remind me of the thoughtful tenderness associated with selecting just the thing to make your person smile. Last night I went grocery shopping and thought of my brother, a senior in college, as he was preparing for his finals. I decided to put together an impromptu bag of just because things (his favorite BBQ potato chips, fancy sparkling water, a pound of coffee for the mornings, tea to unwind in the evenings, some lipbalm) and dropped it off on his porch. I think COJ’s gift guides feel like a mini care package. Thanks for all the work that goes into these, and for incorporating so many reader suggestions each year!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that is so, so sweet, Claire!!