No matter how long you’ve had a mother-in-law in your life, finding a perfect gift for your mother-in-law can be so hard. Especially when she’s a VIP member of your family.
While some mothers-in-law are verrrrry specific with the kinds of gifts they like, others make shopping a bit more difficult. And that’s why why we’re here to help, with over 24 thoughtful ideas for cool mother-in-law gifts.
I’d just say not to think of them as only mother-in-law gifts — you may see something perfect here for your own mom, stepmom, aunt, or even a neighbor or a teacher.
Hey, maybe even yourself! Can we ever really have too many items on our wishlists?
Check out our entire Holiday Gift Guide for great gifts for everyone on your list.
Thoughtful gift ideas for your mother-in-law or stepmother or grandmother or aunt
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1. A practical but sentimental personalized gift
Give her a full year of special photos captured on a brass calendar stand that will look perfect displayed on any end table. Night tables too, though surely she’ll want to place in a prominent spot in her home.
($50.15 on sale at Artifact Uprising)
Preserve a cherished family recipe with this Vermont-made recipe board. Recipes can be etched from a scanned recipe card or reproduced in script that looks handwritten.
($100 at Uncommon Goods)
2. A beautifully designed puzzle or game
Make the long winter a little brighter with an artist-designed puzzle from Jiggy Puzzles which are beautifully packaged and even come with puzzle glue for framing. A portion of every sale goes to each puzzle’s artist, like this stunner from Jamaica’s Natasha Cunningham.
($40 and up at Jiggy Puzzles)
If your mother-in-law loves to play games, another option is this lovely and L-U-X-E Collectors Scrabble Board, which will be too nice to hide in a game closet.
($148 at Anthropologie)
3. A delicious cocktail or mocktail kit
Cheers! Send her everything she needs to make a new twist on a favorite cocktail like this Golden Gimlet with turmeric and Thai lime syrup. It will have her thanking you with every sip.
($37.99 and up at Cocktail Courier)
If she prefers her cocktails to be sans alcohol, a unique mocktail kit makes a delicious and thoughtful gifts to help her ring in the new year, soberly.
($42 and up at Dry Goods Beverage Company)
Related: Say cheers for these holiday cocktails and mocktails that feature your favorite holiday flavors, from gingerbread to candy cane
4. Candles in her favorite scent
Candles in lovely winter scents always make a perfect mother-in-law gift for the holidays. Though we were pretty disturbed to learn about how big candle companies are using cagey trademark law to put small companies out of business. So we’re supporting candles from indie brands like Southern Elegance Candle Company. This Black-owned, women-owned company has found popularity with Southern-inspired scents like New Orleans Magnolia Blossoms, Lexington Apple and Bourbon, and Carolina Pine & Balsam.
($20 for 8 oz mason jar, $28 for 16 oz, Southern Elegance Candle Co)
Alternatively, check out the candles from Three Buds Apothecary, which Liz recently featured as one of 5 gifts from women-owned small businesses she loves supporting. She swears by the Nomad scent in a reusable, industrial-chic concrete container, but there are lots to choose from.
($21-45, Three Buds Apothecary)
5. An inspiring new book about another amazing woman
We love recommending books as gifts, and your mother-in-law certainly will have one that suits her tastes and interests. We’re big fans of memoirs from someone she may admire, like the new books out from Michelle Obama, Stevie Nicks, Viola Davis, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the latter written by her friend, NPR’s Nina Totenberg.
(All available via Amazon, or visit your favorite local small bookstore, where they always have tons of cool gifts beyond books!)
Related: 8 wonderful Mother’s Day gift book ideas to celebrate all she is, and all she loves.
6. A luxurious blanket to bring some hygge into her life
Our 2021 guide to the best hygge gifts for everyone who needs more comfort and coziness right now is still super relevant, and the ideas all make fantastic mother-in-law gifts. Though here’s one more idea to add to the list: a super-soft, naturally hypoallergenic, and humanely shorn pure alpaca blanket from Canada’s Blacksaw. Simply gorgeous.
($399 at Nordstrom)
7. Stylish accessories to suit any taste
Options, options! That’s what you get with the versatile 4-in-1 Waverley 2 bag from AAPI-owned Lo & Sons, which has been lauded for years by editors from Vogue to Refinery 29. It can be worn four different ways and comes in two sizes, multiple colors and materials.
($105 on sale for a limited time, Lo & Sons)
Looking for a special Hanukkah gift? Love these pretty diamond Star of David stacking bracelets from Alef Bet Jewelry that sparkle beautifully on their own, or mixed and matched together.
($125 each at Modern Tribe)
Related: 25 wonderful Hanukkah gifts for toddlers to teens 2022 | Holiday Gift Guide
For the woman who has everything, you can never go wrong with some new earrings — especially ones as fun, festive, and affordable as these glam Kate Spade studs.
($22.80 for a limited time, Nordstrom)
Classic style with a little edge come together perfectly in these Coach studded leather driving gloves. It’s the kind of mother-in-law gift that will make her say, “oh, you shouldn’t have.” But she’ll be glad you did.
($175 at Coach)
8. An indulgent chocolate gift
Hand-crafted by an all-female team of chocolatiers in Ghana, this Chocolate Tasting Kit from Midunu Chocolates is way more special than a box of truffles. It includes raw cocoa nibs, fancy truffles, a flavor wheel, and instructions for enjoying the chocolates fully. There’s even a link to a virtual tasting guide and video for someone who really likes her chocolate!
($34 and up at Midunu Chocolates)
Related: Exceptional chocolates from Black-owned chocolate companies. Not just for Valentine’s Day!
9. A seasonal flower or wreath subscription
We love subscription gifts, especially for women like mothers-in-law who are hard to shop for. A new bouquet of gorgeous flowers or a seasonal plant that arrives every few weeks will always be appreciated. We’ve had terrific luck with Urban Stems, which even includes a vase on your first delivery.
(Starting at $55/delivery, Urban Stems, with free shipping on every order)
For something a little more special and a little more seasonal, you have to check out the seasonal wreaths from California’s Creekside Farms. Her well-dressed home will look — and smell — even better, with new deliveries throughout the year.
($328 for annual subscription at Food 52; or individual wreaths start at $65.95 from the Creekside Farms Etsy shop.)
10. A teatime treat
Teatime will get a whole lot more fabulous with this gorgeous limited-edition SMEG electric kettle in shiny copper or gold. Oof, want. (And hey, it works if she’s a pour-over coffee fan too!)
($239.95 at Williams Sonoma)
For a little less, you can treat her to a lovely looseleaf tea gift box from the wonderful Vahdam Teas. This Weekend in Paris Tea Gift Set is not only a great price, it’s far more affordable than an actual weekend in Paris!
($31.99 on sale, Vahdam)
11. A super-pampering beauty gift
One of the best mother-in-law gifts is a beauty set she wouldn’t buy herself. We found this luxurious La Mer gift set in a pretty travel bag exclusively at Nordstrom, at a terrific price. At least if you know what La Mer usually costs!
($95 at Nordstrom)
If you prefer supporting an indie brand, Liz has been raving about Aloisia Beauty’s clean k-beauty inspired products for the last couple of years. New for the holidays: The Renew Serum Holiday Spirit Gift Set including an obsidian face roller. Ooh, yes please!
($110, Aloisia Beauty)
12. A class you can take together
If you wish you could spend more time — even virtually — with your mother in law, Uncommon Experiences offers so many neat ways to take a class together. Personally, I’d go for their Death by Chocolate Truffles class, though there are experiences in cocktail making, flower arranging, arts and crafts, and many more.
($73 for Truffles class at Uncommon Goods)