When camera phones hit the market, we realized we could take pictures of any moment with a second’s notice. Now, you can even Facetime someone across the country (pending adequate Wi-Fi, of course), which saved the sanity of college kids’ mothers everywhere. Once you take all those pictures though, what happens to them? Don’t let all those gigabytes of pictures sit on your computer or your parents’ computer. Instead, repurpose them into a Mother’s Day gift that will make your mom’s eyes well up with happy tears.
1. Digital Frame
Tired of seeing your toddler-self frozen in time sitting on your mom’s desk at work? Buy your mother the gift of modern technology for Mother’s Day by giving her a digital photo frame for her desk or coffee table. Your mom will love it just like mine does. I’ve caught my mom practically drooling over pictures from my kindergarten graduation while the TV plays her favorite show in the background. With the digital frame, your mom can watch time fly faster than your childhood already did. Since the digital frame plays a slideshow of pictures on repeat, she might look one morning to see a picture of you dressed as Sleeping Beauty, and then come home from work to see your high school prom pictures.
Even though you live miles away from your mom, she still wants you close to her heart. With a locket, your mom can open up the necklace anytime she misses you (which means she’ll keep it open and stare at it 24/7). If you find a locket with enough slots for each of your siblings, you can split the cost of a silver or gold locket, leaving you with enough cash for rent at the end of the month.
“I’ll see you in 65 days, 22 hours, 17 minutes and 32 seconds,” your mom said as she left you alone in your dorm room for the first time. Deny it all you want, but you know you miss her, too. Make the countdown to your big return home fly faster for her by giving her a tear-away calendar from a cool place like Social Print Studio. The tear-away calendar looks like a glorified Post-it note; your mom can tear off a picture each day and watch the calendar shrink as the days pass. Since you need to pick 365 pictures, you can include pictures of the entire family—I’m talking siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, even her parents to add a touch of her own mother into the mix.
4. Shadow Box
Your mom loved your finger-paint gifts back in grade school, but breaking out the paints seems a bit juvenile at this age (unless you’re an art major and/or painting prodigy). Pick up the knick-knacks lying around your room that remind you of your mom, add a few pictures, seal the box and call it a day. Your eclectic DIY gift will move your mom to tears when you bring it to her with breakfast in bed on Sunday morning.
5. Photo Book
Did you know MacBooks and sites like Shutterfly let you make photo books without leaving the comfort of your bed? Plus, with Groupon and Living Social offering discounts on the daily, you can take your mom through time at a discounted price. Collect pics from your latest family trip to New York City or highlight your mother-son moments through time. She’ll casually leave it on the coffee table back home so she can brag about her thoughtful son’s gift every time someone drops by the house.
Way back when, your mom used to cuddle up with you when you feared the monsters in the closet would scare you Monsters Inc.-style.. You might not feel so scared of the monsters in your closet, but I bet your mom misses when you needed her to make you feel safe. And though you still call her when you’re going through your quarter-life crisis, she can’t snuggle or hug you through the phone. Buy her a blanket and, whether it includes one giant picture of you or a collage of dozens, she’ll feel a bit closer to you.
Remember when puzzles required long, tedious hours of boring work? Nothing says boring about your face to good old mama though. Test her memory of your facial features and make her put together a puzzle featuring you. She’ll feel bad if she can’t manage to put it together, then maybe she’ll mail over a few bucks to help you out with groceries.
8. Charm Bracelet
When Pandora started selling charm bracelets, the trend exploded onto the wrists of mothers everywhere. Though Pandora’s charms seem a bit pricy, Etsy’s different vendors offer lower prices for more personalized charm bracelets. Browse through Etsy shops for custom charms so your mom can let her favorite child (you, duh) dangle from her wrist all day, every day.
9. Phone Case
When you’re gone, a cellphone becomes your mom’s best friend and worst enemy. She loves getting surprise calls from you, but hates wondering where you’ve been if you stopped answering her poorly-typed text messages at 1 a.m. on a Saturday. Give her a break—she worries about you. Maybe she’ll worry less, though, if every time she flips over her phone, her case shows off your senior-year photos or your not-so-toothy grin from the day you lost your front teeth in second grade.
10. Life-Sized Cardboard Cut-Out
Remind your mom—or better, remind your entire house—who’s missing in action. Order and print a life-sized cardboard cutout of you so your mom never misses you around the house ever again. You can even “sit” through a family dinner if your mom folds the cardboard enough to make it look like you’re sitting. You might scare the living daylights out of your mom when she turns on a light to see you creepily staring and smiling into the darkness, but you can potentially ward off burglars. Hey, I call that a win-win.