As college students, we know first hand there's no one quite like our moms.
Pizza from Brower Commons on the College Avenue campus has us yearning for home-cooked meals, and dragging our overflowing laundry basket back to our dorms has us missing our clothes magically appearing folded in our dressers. Not to mention, many of our moms are shelling out their hard-earned savings to afford us a Rutgers education.
Luckily, Mother's Day is right around the corner, just in time for our post-finals trip back home. This Mother’s Day, show your mom how much you love and miss her with these thoughtful gifts that won’t break your already bruised bank account.
Customized cutting board
For the mom whose homemade chicken cutlets and lasagna rival your favorite restaurant, a customized cutting board would make her inner chef's heart sing. You can find gorgeous wooden cutting boards on Etsy and customize them with her initials, family name or an important date like her wedding anniversary or birthday.
Additionally, Etsy has cutting boards that you can personalize with you or your siblings' names and a sweet message to your mom. You can also find these on Amazon, where you can purchase a collection of cutting boards, each featuring a different family member's name and flower design.
Customized cutting boards can range from $15 to $50, so you can find multiple cute options to match your price range.
A personalized bouquet is perfect if your mom is anything like my grandma, who would rather live in her garden than in her house. If you're splitting the gift's price amongst your siblings, you can go for a more expensive option where you can personalize the bouquet with your mom's favorite flowers.
You can inquire at your hometown florist or use an online bouquet creation service like UrbanStems or 1-800-Flowers. For a less expensive option, you can grab flowers from your local grocery store and DIY personalize them with ribbons and a heartfelt note. Your mom can display them on the kitchen table all week, and they're Instagrammable — or should I say Facebookable.
Little Words Project bracelet
There are few things moms love more than monograms. They wear them on their keychains, tote bags and, of course, jewelry. Lucky for us college students who are perpetually gifting on a budget, Little Words Project sells $25 bracelets that are sparkly, colorful and perfectly monogrammable.
The company has a ton of options, from a "Mama" bracelet to a "Cool Mom" one. If you have a little more wiggle room in your budget, it also has matching bracelets for you and your mom called "Mama and Mini." Each of the bracelets are available in different color tones, so you can match it with your mom’s everyday color palette.
I think I found the one thing moms love more than monograms: family photo collages. Why not make those photos tangible by putting them on a pillow? Thanks to the handy dandy internet, you can upload your family pictures to create a photo collage on a pillowcase that your mom can then adorn on the living room sofa or her bedroom armchair.
My favorite site for this is Snapfish, as it’s reliable, good quality and offers a fair price of $25. My mom has previously made a pillowcase for my aunt on here featuring stunning photos of my "dog cousin," so feel free to customize the collage to how you see fit. You could do a collection of photos from your mom's favorite family vacation, photos from your mom and dad's wedding or photos of your mom’s favorite child — aka the family dog.
"What I Love About My Mom" book
If none of these ideas suit your fancy or the remaining balance on your debit card, never fear, as I've saved the best option for last. My "Best Mother's Day Gift Award of 2023" goes to the "What I Love About My Mom" book.
This is a mini journal full of fill-in-the-blank prompts about why you love your mom, including questions like "I always want to hear what you're going to say about (insert what you want to write)" and "If you were a scent, you'd be (insert what you want to write)."
It's personal, it's caring and it’s just as much fun for your mom as it is for you. I gave one to my godmother in high school after my confirmation, and we had so much fun reading it together, reminiscing about family memories and inside jokes.
While it's the cheesiest option on the list, it's also the most special as your mom can carry around this book with her forever and open it up whenever she misses you. Oh, and it's only $10 with Amazon Prime, so it’s even cheaper than a Chipotle bowl!
As annoying as our moms can be, especially when they insist on tracking us on Life360 and are constantly forgetting all of our friends' names, I know if I'm in need, my mom will be the first person going 90 miles an hour to come and rescue me.
While a gift is great, the most important thing we college kids can do to celebrate Mother's Day this year is to remember to call our moms. The best part? It's free.