The Passive-Aggressive, Total Cheapo Gift Guide for Mother’s Day

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The National Retail Federation expects a rise in Mother’s Day spending this year: The average celebrant will spend $140.73 on mom, up from $126.90 last year. Consumers are expected to drop billions on restaurants, flowers, greeting cards, and candy—and interestingly enough, much of this spending goes against the wishes of Mother’s Day founder Anna Jarvis, who is noted for saying, “Any mother would rather have a line of the worst scribble from her son or daughter than any fancy greeting card,” and “There is no connection between candy and this day.”

Needless to say, no matter how big your budget, Mother’s Day is for celebrating family—specifically, the person without whom families wouldn’t be possible. While there are many ways to offer a heartfelt thanks to Mom without dropping a ton of cash (here are 33 examples), certain no-spend gifts may be inadvisable, either snidely or overtly revealing that the giver isn’t only stingy with money, but stingy of spirit as well.

Whatever you do, think hard before presenting Mom with one of these gifts (and only one of these gifts) on Mother’s Day, none of which costs a dime:

FREE BREAKFAST AT IKEA
On Mother’s Day, May 8, IKEA stores are giving free breakfast to all customers until 11 a.m. The breakfast—consisting of scrambled eggs, hash browns, bacon, and coffee—normally costs 99¢, so don’t arrive expecting the Ritz. And don’t expect Mom to be impressed.
What to say to make it worse: “Hey Mom, since we’re already here, I could use a new coffee table. Think you could maybe buy me one for the apartment?”

FREE FROZEN YOGURT
For the fourth consecutive year, TCBY gives moms a free cup or cone of frozen yogurt on Mother’s Day. If your mom is the type who hates money being spent on her, this could be a wonderful treat. Then again, some moms may feel that if you’re spending nothing on her, that means she means nothing to you.
What to say to make it worse: “Good for you this stuff is low fat. Eat up!”

FREE PHOTO COLLAGE
Use the coupon code FREECOLLAGE to get a free 8×10 photo collage at Walgreens for orders placed by Saturday, May 7. Actually, every mom I know loves pictures of her kids, no matter how much or how little they cost. So order away.
What to say to make it less nice: “I would have printed more pictures, but that cost extra.”

REGIFT SOMETHING SHE GAVE TO YOU
The circumstances under which it’s OK to regift are debatable. But I’d think that nearly everyone would agree it’s a bad idea to intentionally or absentmindedly hand Mom a gift that she originally gave to you. Actually, it’s doubly insulting—because you’re basically saying you don’t like her taste, and you didn’t care enough to buy her something.
What to say to make it worse: “I figured since you gave this to me, you must have really liked it. So it here is, back ‘atcha!”

FREE TRAVEL MUG
When you pre-order a bagel bucket from Einstein Bros. Bagels (thanks Buxr) and pick up the order on Saturday or Sunday this weekend, you’ll receive a free pink travel mug for Mom as well.
What to say to make it worse: “Here’s your mug, Ma! Now hurry up and get traveling, the bus will be coming to pick you up soon. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass!”

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