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 more than two dozen thoughtful ideas for cool mother-in-law gifts, new for 2023.
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? – Christina, with Liz
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; use code FAVORITEGIFTfor 15% off for a limited time!)
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 — just order soon! ($100 at Uncommon Goods)
2. A beautifully designed puzzle or game
Make the long winter a little brighter with this wonderful 7 Days of Mindfulness Puzzle from Galiston. It’s filled with 7 mini puzzles made from the soothing ombre art of Jessica Poundstone. ($24.99, Amazon)
If your mother-in-law loves to play games, another gift idea is this lovely and L-U-X-E Collectors Scrabble Board, which will be too nice to hide in a game closet. ($148, 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 Holiday Cocktail Kit right down the the gold stainless jigger and the bourbon-soaked cherries to top it off. It will have her thanking you with every sip. ($124, Mouth Foods) Or for something thoughtful but a little simpler, send her a bottle of gourmet five-spice cranberry cocktail syrup on its own; she can add to her favorite spirit — or just club soda or ginger ale. ($17, Mouth Foods)
If she prefers her cocktails 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)
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 a little disturbed to learn last year that big candle companies are using cagey trademark law to put small companies out of business. So we’re supporting candles from indie brands like a long time favorite candle company of mine, Harlem Candle Co, makes exquisite scents like Holiday. It even made Oprah’s Favorite Things list this year! ($48 and up, now on Amazon)
Southern Elegance Candle Company is a Black woman-owned company that has found popularity with Southern-inspired scents like New Orleans Magnolia Blossoms, Lexington Apple and Bourbon, and Carolina Pine & Balsam. ($35 for 16 oz, mason jar or $20 for black travel tin, Southern Elegance Candle Co)
One more! 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 and books from someone she may admire, like the new titles out from Barbra Streisand, Dolly Parton, or Kerry Washington. Of course there’s always Stevie Nicks, Viola Davis, or Ruth Bader Ginsburg.(All available via Amazon; Bookshop.org; or Libro.FM for audiobooks supporting a local indie bookseller. Or visit your favorite local small bookstore, where they always have tons of cool gifts beyond books!)
6. A luxurious blanket to bring some hygge into her life
Our guide to the best hygge gifts for everyone who needs more comfort and coziness right now is so popular (go figure, right?) and the ideas all make fantastic mother-in-law gifts. Though here’s one more idea to add to the list: a super-soft throw from Sferra in six soothing colors — on sale! Simply gorgeous. ($75 on sale at Nordstrom for a limited time)
7. Stylish accessories to suit any taste
We are the biggest fans of the gorgeous goods from ABLE that give back to women around the world. We’ve curated some of our favorites here, and they’re all 30% right now using our code below! Our top pick for a mother-in-law gift: The beautifully constructed, versatile and durable Mamuye leather tote in three colors. ($119 on sale for a limited time, ABLE – use code COOLMOMGIFT30 for 30% off)
If her happy place is the gym, skip the fast fashion stuff that falls apart; she will absolutely ADORE made-to-order couture fitnesswear like the Butter Soft Eli Jacket from Elisabetta Rogiani. It’s is built around her own measurements to literally fit her like a glove. You can also get a gift card if you don’t know her sizing, or which of the 25 colors she’d love. Plus, your purchase gives back 15% to kindness.org and you get a free classic black headband! Keep it or gift it, your choice. ($198, Elisabetta Rogiani; use code 15ToKindness at checkout to donate 15% and receive a free headband.
Looking for a special Hanukkah gift? Maker of the cult-favorite Mama Necklace, Tali Gilettte, is out with a stunning new Star of David necklace made up of tiny Sterling silver stars. The interlocking design represents unity and protection, and 20% of proceeds support EMTs, paramedics and first responders. ($125, Tali Gilette Designs)
8. An indulgent (very indulgent) chocolate gift
We loooove women-owned Vosges chocolates, and their 16-piece chocolate truffle box ($50) is perfect for so many people on your list who are up for something a little more exotic than what’s on the supermarket shelves. Their caramel and chocolate gift box is an affordable indulgence ($25), or go big — I love their Grateful Collection with just the right message for the season.
Want to go big big big? Check out their indulgent, pampering, and very luxurious Dream Gift Set — perfect for anyone who loves chocolate and sleep. SIGN US UP. (Vosges; Buy 4 boxes, Get 5 right now with code TRUFFLEPROMO)
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 ($239.95 at Williams Sonoma) start at $74 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) You can also save quite a bit ordering the SMEG mini kettle on sale now for 21% off. ($149.95, Amazon)
For a sweet holiday gift for a mother-in-law or other special woman, you don’t have to spend a ton.Treat her to a lovely looseleaf tea gift box from the wonderful Vahdam Teas. The 9-tea Christmas Holiday Gift Box ($49.99) is a treat but browse for tea gifts under $25, lots deeply discounted. The Christmas Sampler of Teas is just $14.39 right now! Or the Weekend in Paris Tea Gift Set is $27.99 — and it’s far more affordable than an actual weekend in Paris!
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 blue travel bag exclusively at Nordstrom, at a terrific price. At least if you know what La Mer usually costs! ($125 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. They sell lots of bundles and gift sets, or grab a face roller or rose quartz gua she and pair with a serum or cream you know she’ll love ($15-30 for beauty tools at Aloisia Beaut )
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 available in cocktail making, flower arranging, knife skills, arts and crafts, watercolor painting, and many more. ($30 and up at Uncommon Goods)
More holiday gift ideas this year for her:
10 best holiday gifts from Oprah’s favorite things list
20 special gifts that give back to great causes
60+ amazing gifts under $15 for adults
The best Taylor Swift gifts for your special Swiftie!
Special small business gift ideas for cooks and foodies
The best Hanukkah food gifts to send — even if you’ve never sent a Hanukkah gift before