Gift-giving occasions are often associated with one gold-standard present, a no-fail go-to option you can fall back on when inspiration fails to strike your gift-giving center. A dozen long-stemmed roses on Valentine's Day, a necktie on Father's Day, these gifts are so universal, they’ve reached cliché status. However, they're also classics for a reason — they're a good and safe bet.
On Mother's Day, another gift trope emerges, one that — to borrow a term from Gary Chapman's The Five Love Languages — takes the form of an act of service: The gift of breakfast in bed. The problem is that breakfast in bed isn't actually a great gift and, even more crucially, moms don't want it. A 2017 survey conducted by restaurant review giant Zagat found that only 4% of mothers polled actually want to be served breakfast in bed. On the flip side, in a 2021 survey of 2,000 moms, 43% said that the best gift they could receive for Mother’s Day would be a night of uninterrupted sleep.
Perhaps that means we’re serving up the wrong idea of a bed-related gift. (If a special meal is an important part of celebratory occasions, take Mom to brunch! Better yet, let her get that night of uninterrupted sleep and then take her to brunch.)
The new go-to Mother’s Day gift
Wondering what that new gold-standard gift should be? It picks up on the theme of "letting Mom rest," which is the idea behind breakfast in bed, but it does so in a modern way: Upgrade her bed with the gift of a crisp set of new sheets.
Now, some caveats are needed because sheets are very much an everyday item. Giving a practical gift can be tricky — there's a risk of disappointing or even offending the recipient. There's an art to practical gift giving, and one way to get it right is to hone in on a high-ticket item, a luxury version of an everyday item. Enter: really nice sheets.
The beauty of the gift of really nice sheets, other than the fact that really nice sheets are, well, really nice to have and a gift that keeps on giving, is that there's a built-in thoughtfulness to the gift. "Mom, this year instead of breakfast in bed, we decided to upgrade your bed itself." The sheets also offer a perfect excuse to quit Mother's Day breakfast service because, naturally, you would not want to risk spilling food, or coffee, or a mimosa on Mom's nice new sheets.
They look nice, they feel nice, and the right new sheets can keep you cool and freshen your whole sleep space.
Another thing that makes the gift of sheets such a great one is that, much like long-stemmed roses or neckties, it's a gift you can give over and over again. Something as small as a change of sheets can totally update the look of a bedroom. Sheets also don't last forever, especially in households with young children who climb into mom and dad's bed for a cuddle, or who co-sleep alongside their parents. Children and pets will do a number on sheets! Which makes a great gift in a "Mom, we're sorry we trashed your nice sheets" sort of way.
So this Mother's Day, free yourself from the burden of dragging the breakfast tray out of storage and tirelessly whisking hollandaise sauce, and instead buy Mom the gift of really good sheets.