Mother's Day is intended to demonstrate how much you appreciate your mom and her unique influence on your life. But sometimes, the typical Mother's Day gifts of flowers or luxury candles don't truly convey the significance of your relationship.

Unique Mother's Day Gift Ideas

This year, use Mother's Day as a way to celebrate your mom and all she's done for you with a gift that is more personal and meaningful, either for her to enjoy now or as a way to honor her memory.

Start With Her Passions

A membership to a theater, opera or ballet company, or to an art museum or botanical garden, is a gift that keeps giving all year with private showings, lectures, and social events, all centered around something you know your mother loves. She may even meet friends with shared interests, something particularly beneficial if she is single or has recently moved to a retirement community where she doesn't have a lot of connections.

At The Huntington Library, Art Collection, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California, members enjoy benefits ranging from a preview plant sale to private concerts on the beautiful grounds.

“We sell gift memberships all the time. They are cherished because the recipient gets to experience The Huntington throughout the year," said Kathryn Harrach, membership and visitor services director.

San Francisco Ballet offers many different levels of membership, all with benefits to entice a ballet-goer, such as advance ticket notice and gala tickets. At the $5,000 Dancer's Council level, members are invited to dress rehearsals, receptions and the exclusive Intermezzo Lounge during performances.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City invites some members to private viewing hours, parties, a private lounge and more.

Make a Donation in Her Name

Pick a cause or foundation that's dear to your mother's heart. Perhaps she taught you to ski when you were a child. Ski resorts often run charitable foundations, such as The Mammoth Mountain Community Foundation (MMCF), which supports youth education, athletics and civic responsibility.

For $299 a year or $500 for two years, MMCF will display your mother's name on the back of a ski lift chair. “What better way to tell your mother you love her and celebrate a shared joy, than by posting a message for all to see? You can even plan a family ski trip to ride on mom's chair," said Lindsay Barksdale, the foundation's executive director.

Help Other Mothers Who Are Struggling

If your mother doesn't have a specific cause, consider an annual donation in her name to a nonprofit such as Women for Women International, which helps women survivors of war rebuild their lives, or the Fistula Foundation, which funds treatment for women who suffer childbirth injuries.

Closer to home, think about a gift to a local charity that helps mothers make ends meet by operating a food pantry or thrift store. These gifts honor motherhood.

If these ideas interest you, consider the following:

  • Find a cause that resonates. The gift should be about your mother, or in her honor, so give to her favorite cause - not yours. If you live in Los Angeles and love opera and performing arts, you might desire access to the Founders Room at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, but if your mother prefers fine arts, look into membership at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art instead.
  • Meaning is more important than size. Often the most meaningful gifts are simple ones, such as sponsoring a bench at a garden your mother loves to visit. The Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanical Gardens will place a bench in the gardens with your mother's name on it for $20,000 or plant a tree in her honor for $1,500.
  • Other sponsorship choices might include a local preschool, zoo, theater or even a bed at a local children's hospital.
  • Consider a gift to charity in the name of someone you mother loves, such as your father, who may already have passed away, or your grandmother or grandfather. If your father or grandfather was a veteran, there are broad choices, like the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund or ultra-specific charities, like the Tenth Mountain Foundation for soldiers who fought with the 10th Mountain Division in Italy during World War II.

Remember, a donation of any size to a charity will be received with thanksgiving. And usually, the charity will send an acknowledgement to your family so they will know your loved one was honored.

This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute an offer or solicitation to sell the products or services of the providers identified. City National Bank makes no recommendation of the products or services offered by the providers mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed are those of the persons quoted and not necessarily the opinions of City National Bank.