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Best Mother's Day Yet: 13 Inspiring Stories That Beat Bouquets

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Filip Kacalski/Shutterstock
Filip Kacalski/Shutterstock

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Welcome back to Editor's Essentials, a new Wednesday feature in which editors from around the Racked network discuss their all-time favorite buys. Today we're talking Mother's Day ideas.

Unsurprisingly, the best gifts our editors have given their moms have little to do with product and a lot to do with thoughtful experiences and surprises. Get a little inspiration for Mom's day after the jump, with incredibly sweet stories from our staff.

Experience

Leslie Price, Racked National editor: I once did a Segway tour of Beverly Hills with my parents. Super weird and they loved it.

Driely Schwartz, Racked photographer: I don't really do gifts with my mother since she is in Brazil, but I am responsible for getting gifts for my mother-in-law so my boyfriend can pretend he got them for her. I like to keep the gifts weird—the crazier the better. Last year I got a glass blowing classI steal ideas from websites like HowAboutWe, which is meant for dates—and she still talks about it at every family party (plus she got a few new glasses out of the day). This year we're getting her a hot air balloon ride.

Izzy Ginspan, Racked editorial director: My mom's a very practical, very unsentimental, very non-girlie scientist, so things like pedicures and massages are totally out. My low-key (but actually-kind-of-labor-intensive) gift is a set of several books sent to her Kindle. I read a ton and am always always keeping an eye out for things she'll like. Recent successes: The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer and The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker.

Kristen Philipkoski, Racked San Francisco editor: You have all put me to shame with your super thoughtful ideas—I can't think of anything I've done for Mother's Day beyond the requisite flowers. This year is going to be different! I'm headed home to Pennsylvania for a visit this week, and I've scheduled a photo shoot with a local photographer for me, my mom, and my almost-two-year-old daughter. My mom is terrified of flying, so hopefully this will be something that will help her get through to the next visit.

Surprise!

Natalie Alcala, Racked Los Angeles editor: Last year, I got married the day before Mother's Day. While the date is symbolic for many reasons, my husband and I also knew that it would be a special treat for our moms. Mine lives in Alabama, so I flew her out and set up a few fun surprises for her on the big day, including a VIP makeup session with a top artist from LA's Blushington.
After my husband and I had our first dance, I arranged for my mom's very favorite love song, "From This Moment On" by Shania Twain, to start playing. As soon as the song's first notes began, my sweet husband left the stage and invited my already-sobbing mom to share a dance with me. Even though I've always thought that song was totally cheesy, that moment was so magical, and I knew that it meant the world to her. I can't help but shed a tear now every time that song plays on the radio. Damn you, Shania!

Ashley Brozic, Racked Miami editor: My mom came to the States from Cuba when she was five years old. With the revolution going on at the time of her departure in the '60s, there wasn't much time (or space) to fit toys in her luggage. She had to leave her coveted doll, Mariquita Pérez, behind. The Mariquita Pérez brand hails from Spain and stopped being produce after the '70s. My mom told me her story one day and being the advocate of impossible causes that I am, I set out to find this rare doll. My grandma and I searched for a few weeks until finally we found it, perfectly boxed, in a tiny doll shop in Coral Gables. I can't even describe to you how emotional my mom was when she unwrapped the box. For a mom who only ever asks for a Marc Anthony CD for Mother's Day (but wishes for a Louis Vuitton bag) this was the best gift I've given her… until the day I actually do get her said Louie.

Pampering

Kenzie Bryant, Racked National senior editor: My mom has never been to California (!) so we're taking a San Francisco vacation the week leading up to Mother's Day. After what will hopefully be several days of biking, hiking and eating, I imagine we'll be pretty worn out, so I'm planning to surprise her with outdoor yoga in the morning followed by brunch and ending with a massage at this kind of janky, bare bones Thai spa that's supposed to be amazing. Hopefully she's not reading Racked today.

Tifanny Yannetta, Racked New York editor: I'm an only child, so I know my mom prefers we spend the day together doing something fun, rather than me giving her a new Coach bag (which I did for Christmas. Best daughter ever, I know). Last year, we went to the Belmora Spa in New Jersey. The woman who runs it used to treat Madonna, which is a great mom-approved tidbit. Since neither of us ever go to spas, this was basically us pretending we were super rich while lounging in the steam room.

Susie Kostaras, Racked Boston editor: My mom isn't one to splurge on herself, but she definitely has a soft spot for getting her nails done, though usually she just DIYs. I bought her a gift certificate for a pedicure at MiniLuxe, a top of the line Boston area nail salon. With a tropical vacation to visit her dad on the calendar, she recently scheduled the appointment and would not stop gushing about her fresh mauve-colored toes. Moral of the story: Give her a treat she wouldn't otherwise give herself!

Food

Laura Gurfein, Racked New York associate editor: My mom also prefers "experiential" gifts (aka hanging out with her children), so one year I took her to the Afghan restaurant Ariana in Hell's Kitchen. It was fun to explore a new cuisine in a great neighborhood—and, of course, to spend time together.

Caitlin Petreycik, Racked New York features writer: My mom spent most of her twenties working in Chicago, and she always talks about this one Illinois-specific fast food chain, Portillo's, and how amazing their sandwiches are. One year my brother and I called them up and had them overnight a box of their roast beef, hot peppers, sauce, and sandwich rolls to Connecticut. The food arrived packed in dry ice. I know "big bucket of sandwich meat" doesn't really scream "Mother's Day," but my mom loved it (I bought her perfume, too! It was overshadowed by the sandwiches). There's something really sweet about tracking down (or cooking) a favorite food from someone's past.

Jenny Berg, Racked Chicago editor: I love a Mother's Day brunch—especially one that's homemade. My go-to brunch recipe is Joy Bauer's genius version of eggs Benedict. The sauce tastes just like any you'd find at a fancy brunch spot, but it subs in yellow peppers for the high-calorie ingredients that are typically tossed in there. The dish has a springy, buttercup-yellow hue, so jazz up the table with some daffodils and voila! The perfect Mother's Day setting. (And as it happens, Joy's whole Slim & Scrumptious cookbook is a total home run, so there's your take-home gift for mom.)

Adele Chapin, Racked DC editor: Last year for Mother's Day, I took the two of us to a cooking class. It was a fun afternoon, and we learned how to make a mean pear tart. I brought it to Thanksgiving this year—it's a new tradition!