Beelz, Spirit of Christmas, I need your help. I bought some really boring practical gifts for my mom (new cookie sheets, oven safe wire rack, and oven mitts) but holy shit that is boring. Do you have any solid advice for cheaper gifts that would be good for moms that aren't spa related?
I find tasteful, but personal, jewelry is usually a safe bet with older women. My mom likes camping and snakes and bugs, so I like to buy her jewelry that reflects her oddities. What does your mom do with her time that makes her "her"? Favorite animals, favorite colors, favorite flowers, and quirky hobbies are great building blocks for a perfect present. It sounds like she loves baking, so it may be worthwhile to hit a Hobby Lobby or a Michaels (but ESPECIALLY Hobby Lobby lol) and check out their jewelry section for baking themed charms and pendants! They literally always have cute, unique items instead of something generic like "pretty rock" or "silver heart" (though neither of those things are bad if you think that would be significant to her), and they sell the chains or earring bases to complete your project. You could even hit up the miniature dollhouse section and make "plate of cookies" earrings or something similar, if she's slightly kitschy. I've also found that, if giving someone a charm necklace or something simple like that, tucking a short note in with the gift about why you picked it, how it represents the person to you, and that you made it yourself ratchets that gift up about 20x higher on the sentimentality scale without actually increasing the cost.
Alternately, if you've got Amazon Prime (which I believe you can get free if you have a student email? Don't quote me on that) there's some cute baking jewelry
in there without ever having to assemble it yourself. Searching for and contacting local Etsy sellers in order to skip on shipping times is also a potential option.
ETA: If she's not the jewelry type, please hit me up in a PM or something cause I love gift shopping and I'd still love to help you find something that fits her. Everyone deserves something frivolous and impractical for the holidays.